What is an Ombuds?
An Ombuds (or Ombudsperson / Ombudsman) assists with the fair, timely and informal resolution of concerns by acting as a confidential, independent and impartial (neutral) resource. An Ombuds does not take sides or act as a decision-maker, but advocates for fairness for all concerned. Because of their impartiality and independence from human resources and management, an Ombuds occupies a unique place within the conflict management system of a company or institution. The organization determines whether their Ombuds will accept complaints from within the organization, from external stakeholders, or both.
What is mediation?
Mediation is an informal and confidential process in which a professional mediator helps two or more persons to negotiate the resolution of a conflict. A mediator ensures that the process is fair and that discussions are kept “on track”, but will not take sides (impartial) and has no vested interest in any particular outcome (independent). In mediation, you have the opportunity to:
- settle a legal dispute privately (i.e. out of court)
- keep control over the outcome (i.e. not in the hands of a judge)
- save time and money (i.e. litigation/arbitration etc. can be time consuming, costly and stressful)
- discuss matters that are not purely legal (i.e. matters of fairness or relationships)
In Toronto, mediation is required for most civil actions as well as contested estates, trusts and substitute decision matters before the courts. Participants can choose their own mediator(s) or have one assigned to them from the Roster, and fees and costs are shared by the participants.