5. Negotiate a settlement

The Tribunal member gives you and the Respondent a chance to privately explain your side of the case. You can explain the facts and also say what result you want. You can show the member any documents or evidence you have. You should not bring witnesses to your , but you can tell the Tribunal member about any witnesses you know about.

After hearing both sides, the Tribunal member sometimes gives you their opinion on how strong they think your case is. Tribunal members are experienced in human rights cases. You should think carefully about any opinions they give you.

They may also give you an idea of what kind of result you might get at a hearing, or what they think the Respondent may agree to. But in the end it’s always your decision whether you want to agree to a settlement.

During the mediation you may learn things from the Respondent that may make you change your mind about certain things. You may learn more about the reason behind a particular policy, or about any unsuccessful efforts they took to you. You may also find out that they’re willing to give you something you didn’t think about. For example, money, a promotion, a new apartment, that you now think you may want. Be ready to change what you’re asking for during mediation.

If mediation works

If you both agree on what the result should be, then you can sign a settlement agreement. Most settlement agreements are private or confidential. In most cases you can’t tell anyone else about the details you agreed to in the settlement. You may only be able to say that you signed an agreement. You can ask for permission to only share details with your immediate family. Most settlements also include an agreement that your case is closed and that you won’t start any other legal cases about this situation.

If mediation doesn’t work

More than 70% of mediations result in a settlement. But you do not have to agree to one. You should not sign a settlement agreement that you do not actually agree with. You always have a right to a hearing. Remember if you sign an agreement you cannot change your mind later.

If you do not agree on a settlement, the Human RIghts Tribunal of Ontario sets a date for a hearing. Sometimes, just before the hearing begins, you are given one final chance to mediate again, but not always. 

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