Updated January 2024
Interested in helping people resolve disputes outside of court? Curious about what the job market is like for mediators in Canada?
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has become increasingly popular across the country over the past few years, and mediation is an important part of that process. Provinces like Ontario and Alberta have even made mediation mandatory in certain situations.
Even still, it’s not easy to find hard data on the demand for mediators in Canada.
We dug into the growing movement toward ADR and what it means for people looking to become mediators in this country.
Here’s what you need to know.
THE DEMAND FOR MEDIATORS IN CANADA
In jurisdictions across Canada, people rely on mediators to help them settle conflicts and disputes without going through the litigation process.
Mediation tends to be a much quicker and more affordable way to get results. It’s less adversarial, and it relieves the burden on overstretched justice system resources.
In fact, mediation for most types of civil actions has been mandatory in parts of Ontario (Ottawa, Toronto, and Windsor) since 1999.
In 2020, the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) recommended the mandatory mediation program expand to more areas of the province. The OBA recognized, however, that there weren’t enough mediators in every jurisdiction to make that feasible.
And in 2022, the OBA released the results of a survey that found a disturbing lack of diversity within the mediation profession in Ontario. Respondents noted that the mediators they hired were overwhelmingly male (70 per cent) and white (94 per cent). In response, the OBA made several recommendations to increase diversity and recruit mediators who reflect the populations they serve.
Allan Stitt, president and CEO of ADR Chambers, told Law Times that the demand for mediators and other ADR professionals in Canada did not drop as expected during the pandemic. Instead, the number of clients seeking such services held steady.
The Government of Canada Job Bank includes mediators in a broader category of human resources professionals. It says demand in this field should be strong through 2025 in Ontario, Manitoba, and the Yukon.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A MEDIATOR?
A mediator is a neutral person who helps the parties in a dispute come to a resolution they can all live with.
Mediators focus on guiding discussions between the opposing sides so that all parties can understand each other’s perspectives and work toward a mutually satisfactory solution.
Experienced mediator Hayley MacPhail is an instructor in the online mediation certificate program at Kompass. She says one of the biggest misconceptions about the role is that mediators make decisions for their clients, when that's really not the case.
“Mediators set the stage for the clients to do the work. They act as facilitators. Mediators work hard to read the room, and put forth questions and observations that move the healing forward.
This is a really challenging process. As mediators, we create a safe and supportive environment for clients to do the really hard work of moving away from conflict and hurt toward resolution and peace.”
HOW MUCH DO MEDIATORS MAKE IN CANADA?
According to PayScale, salaries for mediators across Canada range from about $45,000 at the low end to $77,000 for the highest earners. The median salary is around $65,000.
Keep in mind, you can join a practice, work for the government, or start your own mediation firm. Earning potential depends on which career path you choose.
HOW TO BECOME A MEDIATOR IN CANADA
Looking to take advantage of the rising demand for mediators in Canada?
Your first step is to complete mediation training. Programs are available through colleges, universities, and associations.
It’s a good idea to choose a program that’s accredited by the ADR Institute of Canada. The ADR Institute is a widely respected professional organization that sets standards for mediation training. Each province has its own regional affiliate.
The institute also offers professional designations for mediators. You don’t technically need a designation to begin working as a mediator, but having it will boost your profile and help you gain credibility.
To earn the entry-level Qualified Mediator (Q. Med.) designation, you must:
☑️ Undergo basic and advanced mediation training
☑️ Conduct at least two mediations
☑️ Maintain membership in the ADR Institute (at both the national and provincial levels)
Some regional affiliates may have additional requirements. Click here to see contact information for the ADR Institute in your region or province.
GET ON THE PATH TO A CAREER in mediation
Get started by exploring the Mediation and Dispute Resolution certificate from Kompass Professional Development.
The certificate is accredited by the ADR Institute and meets the basic training requirement for the Q. Med. designation.
Coursework is delivered online and includes live discussion groups and role-play scenarios. In total, the training takes just 12 weeks.
Still have questions? Click below to get further details on the mediation certificate and chat live with an admissions advisor.