Guide to Mediation

The Manitoba Human Rights Commission encourages the resolution of complaints through mediation.  We offer mediation at various stages in the complaint process.

What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary dispute resolution process.  Our mediators facilitate discussion about the issues in the complaint and provide ideas about how to resolve them, so the parties can reach a settlement agreement rather than continuing through the complaint process. The mediator will always be focused on the human rights issue raised in the complaint.

What is the mediator’s role?
Our mediators are specifically trained in dispute resolution techniques.  They use their knowledge of The Human Rights Code and its principles, and experience in resolving human rights complaints to assist the parties in reaching an agreement. The mediator cannot provide legal advice but will provide guidance based on human rights law, including settlement examples and remedies ordered in other cases. 

Will we meet in-person?
The mediator leads the process and will decide what format is most appropriate or comfortable for the parties. To be most effective, the mediator will gather information from the parties by phone and email and may also meet with the parties in-person, separately or together.  In many cases, the mediator will simply share each party’s settlement position with the other and they may not need to meet in-person.

How long will the mediation take?
The Commission generally allows the parties up to 60 days to try and resolve the complaint.  The mediator may terminate the mediation process earlier if the parties remain very far apart in terms of their settlement interests or if they are not constructively engaging in settlement discussions.  The mediator can also extend the time to resolve a complaint if appropriate.

What can I do to prepare?
The parties can review the Guide to Remedies which gives an overview of the types of things normally included in a settlement.  There are also examples of settlements on our website.  The parties should set aside any documents that can be used to calculate lost income as a result of the discrimination alleged in the complaint (i.e. record of income earned, hours worked, ROE, etc.).  You may have a lawyer or someone else assist you in the mediation process but it is not necessary.

Does a settlement always involve payment to the Complainant?
In the early stages of the complaint process, a settlement may simply involve the exchange of information, an apology and an agreement to review or develop a policy to address the issue in the complaint.  Usually there is also some payment of compensation for injury to the Complainant’s dignity, self respect and feelings and payment to address lost income or wages.  At a later stage of the process and if the Board of Commissioners has decided that there is enough evidence of discrimination, a settlement will almost always involve some payment of compensation for injury to the Complainant’s dignity, in addition to the other remedies.

Do we need to sign a legal document?
Our mediators will prepare a Settlement Agreement for the parties to sign that sets out all of the terms they have agreed to, including the dates by which each party will do certain things.  The Complainant will usually be asked to sign a Release which indicates that they give up the right to complain against the Respondent about the specific issue raised in the complaint, in the future. 

What if we can’t come to an agreement?
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement after a reasonable period of time, the complaint will proceed to the next stage in the complaint process.  Mediation is usually more expedient than waiting for an investigation of the complaint and decision by the Board of Commissioners.

Can information I share with the mediator be used against me?
Mediation discussions are “without prejudice” which means that the information shared cannot be used against you or prejudice you in an investigation or at an adjudication hearing.  The mediator will discuss your settlement proposal with you before sharing it with the other party.

 

This guide is available in alternate formats.
Ce guide est disponible en francais.

Revised May 2017