Discovering Stories in Durham Region

The Family Mediation Resource Centre (FMRC) is proud to announce we have received an Ontario Arts Council (OAC) grant to deliver an Artists In the Community project entitled Discovering Stories in Durham.

Taking place between April and August 2017, Discovering Stories in Durham will be a series of free workshops open to the diverse communities in the Durham Region.  This is an opportunity to collaborate with artists and other communities in Durham Region by telling your stories through art and performance.  As a community project, we want to be as inclusive and accessible as possible.

In addition to building a sense of community, we believe that community arts projects can also stimulate social action by bringing attention to social issues in a way that can help evoke creative solutions for solving problems.

Using fun-filled games and exercises, along with music, movement and visual arts, ideas will be shared during the workshops.  With permission from the participants, we’ll save/record/keep track of your ideas to discover the most effective artistic discipline(s) for community members tell their stories in a possible public presentation in 2018.

If you are a Durham organization who wants to participate in this project, we would like to hear from you! Please email at durhamstories@fmrcentre.ca or call toll-free 877-297-3312

Reliving the Bamboo – FMRC Benefit Concert

Come relive a night at the Bamboo…at Lee’s Palace! One night featuring two legendary Toronto Reggae bands who regularly jammed the old Bamboo on Queen Street to its capacity on those coveted Thursday, Friday & Saturday weekend slots in the heyday of Reggae in Toronto.

100% of the proceeds are going to support FMRC’s mission to raise awareness of conflict resolution and improve access to justice in the community! Buy your tickets here OR visit our sponsorship page here (TITLE SPONSORSHIP HAS BEEN FILLED – Thank you Little Redstone!)

Fujahtive are the “This Is Anvil” of Reggae playing music together out of pure love for music ever since they met in high school starting in 1986. Fujahtive toured Canada extensively through the 90’s and 2000’s. The band’s video for Send Fi Mi Girl from their first album “In Black and White” was one of the first Reggae songs in regular rotation on Much Music. Their first album In Black and White was winner of the Prestigious Canadian Reggae Music Award and their second album “The Sound” was nominated for a Juno Award.

Sattalites are one of the most influential Reggae bands in Canadian history. Jo Jo Bennett and Fergus Hambleton, the first members of The Sattalites, met while touring with reggae singer afreen and the pair began performing together, mixing Bennett’s instrumentals with Hambleton’s smooth alto voice to create the unique Sattalite sound. The band started as a teaching group who opened The Sattalite Music School on a pay-what-you-can basis to spread their influence in 1981. The Sattalites consisted of various types of students from the school who wanted a sense of live performing. By 1982, The Sattalites had melded into a collaboration of musicians from exceptionally talented beginners to experienced pros, some of whom still perform. They became very well known for their enthusiastic live performances which initiated their extensive touring across Canada and the United States. It was the only Canadian band ever invited to play at Jamaica‘s “Sunsplash“, playing before 25,000 people, and they gave an excellent performance at the 1993/94 World Skiing Championship in Whistler, British Columbia. As two-time Juno winners, The Sattalites are known as Canada’s longest standing reggae group.

Buy your tickets today!

Comprehensive Mediation Skills Certificate Training

THE FAMILY MEDIATION AND RESOURCE CENTRE PROUDLY INTRODUCES COMPREHENSIVE MEDIATION SKILLS CERTIFICATE TRAINING.

This is a proactive and preventative initiative born out of the recognition of the systemic barriers faced in our community members’ ability to access justice and our desire to sow the seeds of change. This Certificate of completion will qualify you for FMRC Roster!

WHY

Access to justice must be inclusive!
Access to justice must include the voices of our community members!
Access to justice must include multiple views of justice!
Access to justice must not create barriers in our community – it must deal with our diverse views, differences of opinions and relationships.

HOW DOES THE COMMUNITY BENEFIT?

A commitment to the pride, dignity and global understanding of the Durham Region community, the Comprehensive Mediation Skills Certificate Training will support and assist in many ways:

  •  Direct means and tools to assist in creating positive systemic and societal change
  •  Inclusive, innovative and creative approaches built upon the diverse nature of the community in terms of culture, language, individuality and difference
  • Access to community-based options in resolving issues that arise within the family, the neighbourhood, the community and the workplace
  • Recognition and development of strengths and capacities in resolution of issues as they arise both within their own relationships and in relationships between others
  • A foundational resource that community members can utilize for the betterment of their relationships

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Invest in yourself, your relationships and your role in the community!

  • Register for the training today
  • Share and promote this unique training initiative with your peers and community members
  • Invest in a sponsorship role

For more information, to view the detailed flyer and register, head over to the training session information page.

This training is now sold out. To reserve a spot on the waiting list please email us. 

 

 

Legislative provisions related to marriage and divorce of persons with mental health problems a global review

In many cultures women will be expected to marry according to gender roles and gender role expectations. Combined with mental illness this may create double jeopardy against women with mental illness and discriminate against them further… Full article here: Legislative provisions related to marriage and divorce of persons with mental health problems a global review

You are a parent! Don’t try to replace the biological parent

Parenting

Parenting 102

It’s hard work, dedication, love and challenges and … kids aren’t even yet in this picture! Entering a relationship with someone who has children requires graduation to a whole new level of hard work and dedication. At this stage, you are building a relationship not only with one, but with two or three or more individuals. It’s not easy, but it can be done and it’s more than worth it!

Through my own step-parenting journey, I have accumulated some hard-learned lessons that I am happy to share:

  1. You are a parent! Don’t try to replace the biological parent. By assuming responsibilities and caring for your step-child’s needs, you are already a parent! There is greater richness for the child who is able to enjoy all existing parental figures in their lives, with all of their unique qualities.
  2. Communicate, communicate, communicate with your new partner! You need to be on or get on the same page with everything relating to caring for the child’s needs. Disagreeing is OK, but not in front of the child. Negotiate disagreements when both of you are calm and collected. The child needs to see and feel a respectful and collaborative front.
  3. Have fun with your step-child! Creating positive memories can be a great healer. Laughter and fun activities help create sociability and well-being for the entire family. Have some one on one bonding time too! Go for a walk or to a movie or play sports together. Creating your own special bond can be an invaluable source of comfort and emotional connectedness.
  4. Support and encourage the child’s relationship with the biological parent! Don’t compete with the biological parent. It will only place the child in the middle and risk alienating him/her from you.
  5. Don’t take it personally! Your step-child may show some anger or frustration, even lashing out at you. Divorce/separation and its impact is multifaceted; children haven’t yet mastered emotional control and may still mourn the breakdown of their family. Be compassionate and understanding.
  6. Don’t face-off with the biological parent! Even if the other parent is disrespectful or instigative, take the high road! Don’t get trapped into responding in a similar fashion. Remember, your focus is your new family and getting into confrontations, especially in front of children or new partner, only serves to destabilize your family’s emotional well-being.
  7. Don’t denigrate the biological parent in front of the child! When emotions are high and conflict escalates, lots of us are tempted to shout out loud all the negative things we may think about the other parent. Don’t do it in front of your step-child! No matter how you really feel, remember that the child is equally identifying with both biological parents. If you portray them in a negative light, your step-child may associate with and internalize those attributes. The goal is to raise or help in raising well-adjusted, confident and balanced individuals!
  8. Develop your own support network and take some time for yourself! Being in the parental role is not easy! At least once every month, try arranging something just for you: a day trip, an overnight at a sibling or friend’s house or even out of town. We often get caught up in the whirlwind of daily life, so much so that we lose our own rhythms. It is important to re-connect with yourself, re-align with your intentions and recharge. Everyone in your family has something to gain from it!

 

Laura Catone-Tarcea, AccFm
Family Mediator
President and Founder of Family Mediation and Resource Centre

Time to re-think access to justice!

Families are at the core of our communities! We need NOW more than ever community togetherness, understanding and accepting of diverse perspectives! Our families need access to dispute resolution processes right here, in the community! Support empowering yourself and your neighbour – that’s how we’ll build a stronger, more resilient and peaceful society!

Access to Family Dispute Resolution processes should start in the community and should remain within the community!

Laura Catone-Tarcea

The way we treat the most vulnerable members in our community is the truest reflection of how caring a community we are.

It is now estimated that about 60% – 80% of family law litigants are unrepresented. Many of these families cannot afford representation. The court system can be a difficult, lengthy and unpredictable process. It often increases the intensity of conflict between family members, leaving them financially and emotionally exhausted. For low and middle income families, access to justice is even more challenging.

The time is now, for effective change! Community-based family dispute resolution (C-FDR) is in many situations a viable, if not the only practical (affordable) alternative to a court-based process. Unfortunately, this type of service is almost non-existent across Ontario and many families are falling through the gaps. In the following paragraphs, I intend to highlight the dire need for investment in this service, to become an essential and primary community service.

Sadly, conflict has become a norm in life – it abounds. Yet all too often, access to alternate means of resolution is only accessible to those of financial means. These alternative mechanisms are rarely accessible to the lower/middle classes, and to those with mental health challenges or of different cultural backgrounds. It is these – the majority of the people that stand to lose the most, ending up struggling to find resolution within an overcrowded and very unfriendly legal system. Factors such as money, power and control, eclipse the need to create attainable, culturally and linguistically appropriate processes for families within their very own communities.

Community leaders are all too often vocal about supporting and advocating programs that promote safety, “connectedness” and growth. As well, governments provide funding for projects aimed at improving access to justice, increasing public awareness and removing barriers to accessing the family justice system. And yet, despite all these “efforts,” these services are most times lacking in true humanity. I urge you to reflect on the rigidity and limitations of our current “access to justice services” which, in many cases, act as the very stumbling blocks to incorporating the very core of humanity and fluidity!

In all families, and in fact in all communities across the world, fluctuation, change and fluidity are the main ingredients of daily life and growth. Change, particularly in family dispute resolution, is a given, and yet our social services barely allow for it. Au contraire, change has become a frightening concept; a destabilizing factor, which our current family justice system is holding onto as its status-quo. Please understand: I am not purporting that all change is good. Change and adaptation to change are part of our human endeavours and should be widely accepted and appropriately accounted for rather than becoming a trigger for implementation of punitive-like measures. In most court orders, change is rarely encouraged and often penalized. As result, the human characteristic is being suppressed, growth is stunted and tension and frustration become the new human status-quo. Instead of focusing on our humanness, we allocate enormous amounts of resources in focusing on “enforcement.”

We treat conflict in a similar fashion. While conflict is inevitable, instead of equipping community members in developing skills for peaceful resolution, considerable funds are being allocated to agencies that will dictate the manner in which conflict is to be resolved, thereby denying community members any potential for developing this fundamental skill set. As well, ownership and responsibility of conflict, instead of resting with its community members, is by default, externalized and placed in the hands of “quasi-experts” who have the power to exercise control that may not necessarily be in the best interests of the families.

Family mediation is not a natural extension of our legal system. Nevertheless, our current family justice system is designed by lawyers – for lawyers (who become judges), resulting in family mediation simply being an extension of the law model. Respectfully, it is submitted that it is families who ought to be the experts and it is they who should be at the centre of designing FDR systems. We need to begin to learn and to listen to families and structure services that are reflective and inclusive of this understanding. The current approach to family [and ‪‎access to] justice is not meeting the diverse needs of the very families it is meant to serve. We need to establish family dispute resolution services that are accessible, affordable and help community members (especially the vulnerable ones) maneuver with ease in investing in the growth and well-being of our communities. The deliverance of FDR services has to become culturally and linguistically appropriate and representative of the community it serves. We don’t only need “better” services in the FDR field. We need to adopt an entirely new framework to better resemble humanity and to uphold dignity. It is respectfully proposed that a holistic, multidisciplinary and community-based approach needs to be at the core of this framework.

Divorce/separation does not only affect the partners in the relationship, it extends wide – to children, extended family members and the community at large. Being informed about separation/divorce and the legal family process is necessary and relevant public education that should be easily accessible to all members of a community, including those who are not going through separation. Education and information at an early, neutral stage is crucial if community members are to become empowered, in order to make better choices for themselves and their families. While there are court-connected mediation centres across Ontario (albeit for limited hours), these are operating directly under and within Ontario’s justice system with strict rules and guidelines that often prohibit citizens from accessing the services. Barriers such as educational background, financial means, language or mental illness make accessing court-connected mediation centres an almost impossible and highly frustrating option. In addition, the lack of trust in the judicial system prevents many from accessing these services. Unfortunately, court-connected mediation is the only point of entry for individuals in the low and middle income brackets, while higher income people can choose from a wide range of out-of-court family dispute resolution processes. We need to take a hard look at and resolve this gross imbalance and inequality. Not only are we denying the right of choice, but we are placing these people and their children at risk of harm with conflict “escalation.” All individuals, no matter their income level, culture, gender or race, must equally and justly be provided with similar access to quality services and the right of choice.

If we are serious about preserving and fostering human “connectedness”; if we want to improve access to justice for families who are going through divorce or separation; if we want to provide quality family-centered dispute resolution services and the right to choice, then we need to empower our communities! We need to begin to prioritize establishing and maintaining family dispute resolution entry points – starting right within our communities.

In conjunction with adopting a family-centered approach, instituting well organized and funded FDR services outside of the court system will:

  • reduce considerable governmental costs associated with failure to resolve family matters in a timely and cost effective manner
  • benefit courtsby triaging and reducing the number of unrepresented individuals
  • enhance community viability and promote interdisciplinary collaboration among family support professionals
  • inform and educate the public of effective and creative conflict resolution alternatives
  • improve access to justice and enhance community togetherness
  • prepare and equip future generations with invaluable conflict resolution skills

The time is now to take the right steps in bringing justice, fairness and equality to our neighborhoods 

Read Why the Mandatory Information Program established by the Ministry of Attorney General should be accessible BEFORE COURT (the choice is yours!)

 

Family Dispute Resolution