The purpose of the Mediators’ Code of Conduct [Code of Conduct] is to promote the highest standards of conduct by mediators at the BC Human Rights Tribunal [Tribunal], in order to maintain and enhance public confidence in the Tribunal’s mediation services.
II Application of the Code of Conduct
Any person who acts as a mediator for the Tribunal is required to comply with the Code of Conduct.
If there is a conflict between this Code of Conduct and a mediator’s own professional code, the professional code prevails.
The Code of Conduct is to be read together with the Tribunal’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, and its policies and practice directions.
A participant includes all persons attending a mediation, including the parties to a complaint.
IV Respect for the Parties’ Decision-Making Authority
Mediators must conduct mediations based on the principle that the parties are entitled to make free and informed choices.
V Independent Advice
While mediators cannot personally ensure that each party makes a free and informed choice, they may make the parties aware of the importance of consulting other professionals to help them make informed choices, including the importance of seeking independent legal advice for self-represented parties.
Mediators will ensure that the parties have the opportunity to obtain independent legal advice.
A mediator should not sign as a witness to the execution of any settlement agreement or memorandum of agreement.
Mediators must act with honesty, integrity and high ethical standards.
Mediators must behave in a manner consistent with their responsibilities and public confidence in the integrity of the Tribunal’s mediation services.
VII Fairness and Impartiality
Mediators must ensure that the mediation process is fair.
Mediators must conduct a mediation in an impartial manner.
If a mediator is unable to conduct a mediation impartially, they must withdraw.
At the earliest possibly opportunity after being assigned a mediation, a mediator should advise the Tribunal chair, registrar or registrar’s delegate that they must decline the assignment, if the mediator determines that the circumstances give rise to a reasonable reasonable apprehension of bias or conflict of interest in respect. If a mediator has any question as to whether a reasonable apprehension of bias or conflict of interest exists, the mediator must consult with the Tribunal chair, registrar, or legal counsel at the earliest opportunity in order to make that determination.
VIII Equality and Respect
Mediators must treat all participants in a mediation with courtesy and respect and in a manner that builds trust and confidence in the Tribunal and the administration of justice.
Mediators should make every effort to ensure that all participants treat each other with courtesy and respect.
Mediators must carry out their duties with appropriate consideration for all persons without discrimination and in a manner that furthers the purposes of the Human Rights Code.
IX Competence and Quality
Mediators must acquire and maintain knowledge, skills, and abilities sufficient to provide competent mediation services.
Mediators should ensure that all participants understand the nature of the mediation process, the procedures to be followed, the role of the mediator, and the relationship of the participants to the mediator.
Mediators must not disclose to anyone who is not a participant to the mediation any information received through the mediation, except:
with the consent of all parties;
when information discloses an actual or potential threat to human life or safety;
as required by law;
to report to the Tribunal whether the complaint settled, there is a settlement in progress, the parties are continuing settlement discussions, or the complaint did not settle and any agreement the parties reached regarding the next steps in the Tribunal’s process; or
to the extent necessary to respond to a complaint about the mediator.
XI Terminating Mediation
A mediator may terminate the mediation, including if the mediator concludes that:
continuation of mediation is likely to harm or prejudice a party;
the mediation is unfair, unproductive, or abusive; or
a party is unable to participate effectively.
A mediator must communicate clearly and promptly to the parties that the mediation has terminated.
Before terminating a mediation, a mediator should discuss with the participants their procedural options and, if appropriate, advise them to seek independent legal advice.
XII Mediation with Presiding Member
A Tribunal member presiding over a hearing of a complaint may only conduct a mediation of that complaint in accordance with the Tribunal’s policy respecting “Mediation with Presiding Member”.
XIII Consequences for Breach
The Tribunal chair will make whatever inquiries or investigations necessary to determine if a mediator has breached the Code of Conduct. The chair may report the results and any steps consequently taken to the person who brought the issue to the chair’s attention, if the chair determines it is appropriate to do so.
If the Tribunal chair considers that a mediator may have breached the Code of Conduct, the chair will notify the mediator whose conduct is in issue and give the mediator an opportunity to respond, both to the allegation and to any steps proposed to address a breach.
If the Tribunal chair determines that a mediator has breached the Code of Conduct, the chair may take any steps the chair considers necessary and appropriate to address the breach. The chair will take into account all relevant factors, including whether the breach occurred in good faith or through inadvertence.