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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens at mediation?

A mediation meeting will generally follow these steps:
  1. Mediator introduces the meeting;
  2. Complainant explains his or her perspective of events to the other party;
  3. Mediator may ask some clarifying questions;
  4. Respondent puts forward his or her perspective of events to the other party;
  5. Mediator may ask some clarifying questions;
  6. General discussion of issues raised;
  7. Mediator may meet with each party separately to discuss the issues;
  8. Possible further separate and joint meetings until a resolution can be found. Occasionally the mediation may need to be adjourned until another day;
  9. At the end of most mediations there will be an agreement which the parties make. The mediator can assist them to document it. That written record will normally be a binding contract.
  10. At the conclusion of the mediation, the mediator hands out feedback forms which the parties can send to OFMA giving their opinion of the mediation process. OFMA values any feedback from parties who have been to mediation.

How can I prepare for mediation?

Careful preparation for mediation will help you be clear about your options, alternatives and what you need for a solution to be workable and lasting. Here are some points that you might consider prior to the mediation:
  • What are the issues in dispute?
  • When did the problems begin?
  • What would I need to achieve from an agreement? (For instance, a plan to improve sales, sell the business, advertising). In answering this question be very specific.
  • Why have we been unable to resolve this problem ourselves?
  • What would have to change for us to be able to resolve future disputes?
  • What are my alternatives if we are unable to resolve this dispute at mediation (for example, live with the problem, change how I do things, go to court)? And what costs are involved in these options? How realistic are these alternatives?
  • Prepare a brief summary of the problem to read at the mediation, focusing on the problem rather than who is to blame.
  • Obtain legal advice on the situation.

What are the advantages of using OFMA?

  • OFMA mediators are nationally accredited mediators;
  • OFMA mediators have knowledge of franchising and experience in mediating franchise issues;
  • An OFMA mediator is a neutral person and not selected by either party;
  • OFMA appoints the mediator rather than giving names of 3 different mediators, which saves time and prevents further disputes about the identity of the mediator;
  • OFMA mediators receive support and advice from our office - a significant amount of time is spent supporting mediators in difficult cases;
  • In suitable cases, OFMA staff may assist to try to facilitate agreement between the parties before mediation;
  • OFMA assesses each file to appoint a mediator who is most suitable for that dispute according to the information provided;
  • OFMA has established quality control procedures;
  • OFMA ensures that mediation is a process where the mediator is focused on assisting the parties to reach their own agreement rather than on telling the parties what they should do.