The Family Dispute Resolution Institute Atlantic (“FDRIA”) is committed to the highest possible practice standards in family dispute resolution so that the public can have confidence in FDRIA’S members and the services they provide.

This Complaints and DisciplinePolicy (“Policy”) is a vital element to promote and ensure quality control. It provides a process for the investigation and resolution of complaints about Certified Family Dispute Resolution Professionals (“FDR PRO”) that is responsive and transparent to all involved. Certified FDR PROs are deemed to submit to this policy by virtue of their certified membership.

WHEREAS FDRIA has established a process to deal with complaints, the following process will apply when a complaint is received about one of the FDRIA certified members.

1. Purpose

1.1 This Policy is intended to affirm and uphold the FDRIA Standards of Practice and applicable policies and to ensure that all complaints and inquiries concerning members holding an FDR PRO designation be dealt with according to a consistent standard and process.

2. The Committee

2.1 The FDRIA Board of Directors (“Board”) shall establish a Professional Conduct Committee (“Committee”) and shall appoint members to the Committee. Appointments shall be made for a two-year term. The Committee shall have jurisdiction to make recommendations to the Board, including all matters relating to the administration and implementation of this Policy and shall meet regularly.

2.2 The Committee will be composed of three current members of FDRIA, including a Committee Chair who shall be a member of the Board. The composition of the Committee may be altered from time-to-time at the discretion of the Board.

3. Jurisdiction

3.1 This Policy applies to FDRIA members who hold an FDR PRO designation (“Professionals”).

3.2 Complaints made under this policy must allege a breach by a Professional of the FDRIA Standards of Practice or an applicable FDRIA Policy or Standard of Practice in effect at the relevant time;

4. Making a Complaint

4.1 Complaints shall be made by email at [email protected] and provided to the Committee Chair and the one member of the Committee who will review the complaintto ensure that:

(a) it concerns a current FDRIA member who holds an FDR PRO designation in good standing;

(b) it involves that member’s act or omission in the course of their rendering of services as a family dispute resolution professional;

(c) it contains sufficient details and particulars to enable a response;

(d) it is made by:

(i) a direct participant in a family dispute resolution process conducted by that member or by a person authorized in writing on the complainant’s behalf; or

(ii) it is made by anyone who appears to have direct knowledge of that member’s non-compliance with the FDRIA Standards of Practice or Policy; or

(iii) by motion of the Board who may themselves initiate and investigate a complaint.

4.2. Within 30 days, the Committee Chair will acknowledge receipt and ensure that the complainant has been informed that FDRIA’s complaints process:

(a) is in the nature of a quality control initiative as opposed to a discipline process;

(b) involves an investigation by two members who are independent of the complainant, respondent, and issues in the complaint. The two members will make a report with the Committee Chair with recommendations to the Board;

(c) is not a substitute for an appeal, judicial review or other court process;

(d) cannot change the outcome of the process nor result in an order for a new

family dispute resolution process; and

(e) cannot award damages or compensation to the person making the



4.3 The Committee Chair will designate a Committee member who will act as the reviewer for the matter and shall, with the reviewer, determine if the person concerning whom the complaint is made is subject to the jurisdiction of this Policy. If not, the complaint shall be dismissed and the Committee Chair will notify the complainant by electronic mail.

4.4 If, following their review of the Complaint file, the Committee Chair determines

in their discretion that

(a) The Complaint arises solely out of an innocent communication error; or

(b) The Complaint is frivolous, vexatious or actuated by malice; or

(c) It is plain and obvious that the complaint cannot be upheld; then the Committee Chair shall recommend, giving written reasons not to exceed 500 words, that the Complaint be summarily dismissed.

4.5 If, following their review of the Complaint file, the Committee Chair determines in their discretion that the Complaint does fall within any of the categories in paragraph 5.3(e), then the Committee Chair shall recommend, without giving reasons, the appointment of a reviewer.

4.6 If the Committee Chair’s Recommendation is that a reviewer be appointed, then they will be appointed within 30 days of receipt of the Review Recommendation.

4.7 If the person concerning whom the complaint is made is subject to the jurisdiction of this Policy, the Committee Chair shall notify the FDRIA Chair and, within 30 days of the date of the complaint, provide the Complainant with the FDRIA “Undertaking, Waiver of Confidentiality and Exclusion of Liability”.

5. Review

5.1 When an executed Undertaking is received, the Committee Chair will, within 15 days, provide the Professional with a copy of the complaint, any supporting materials and a copy of this policy together with a request for a response within 30 days.

5.2 After receipt of a response from the Professional, the Committee Chair will send a copy of the response to the complainant, requesting a reply, if any, within 15 days.

5.3 Within 60 days of the receipt of any reply from the complainant, the designated reviewer will, as expeditiously as possible:

(a) review the complaint, the Professional’s response and the reply, if any, from the complainant;

(b) receive and review any additional materials received;

(c) seek additional information, if needed, from the complainant, the Professional, FDRIA, or any other source that the reviewing members deem appropriate;

(d) assess the complaint; and, along with the Committee Chair; and

(e) prepare a written report

(i) indicating whether the complaint is substantiated

(ii) providing a basis for their conclusions

(iii) providing recommendations if appropriate, if the complaint is substantiated. Such recommendations may include a wide range of options, not limited to remediation, a simple warning, training, review, mentoring, observation or temporary or permanent removal from FDRIA’s membership list.

5.4 The Committee Chair will provide a copy of the report to the complainant and to the Professional, explicitly on a confidential basis. The Committee Chair will also redact all identifying information as to the complainant and the Professional from the report and provide it, along with any necessary background materials, to the Chair of FDRIA for consideration by the Board, without disclosing any names or identifying information.

5.5 The Chair of FDRIA will not participate in the decision-making relating to the

complaint, nor will any members of the Board who acted as a reviewer. The remaining

members of the FDRIA Board of Directors will:

(i) receive the report of the Committee;

(ii) accept the recommendations of the Committee in whole or in part, reject them, or substitute an alternative outcome that is less serious than that recommended by the Committee. If the Board wishes to adopt a more serious outcome than that recommended by the Committee, the

Professional will be notified by the Committee Chair and given an opportunity to make additional written submissions to the Board before the decision is finalized;

(iii) provide a written decision to the Professional with reasons; and

(iv) notify the complainant of the outcome of the Complaint together with a brief statement of its rationale.

5.6 In determining the appropriate outcome of a substantiated complaint, the Committee and the Board of Directors may consider any previously substantiated complaint about the professional.

6. Appeals

6.1 There is no appeal from the decision of the Board of Directors except in cases where the outcome of the complaint is suspension, expulsion or permanent removal from the membership of FDRIA, or revocation of a Professional’s FDR PRO designation. In such cases there is an appeal to the Chair of FDRIA.

6.2 Upon receipt of a Notice of Appeal, within 30 days, the Committee Chair shall provide the Chair, FDRIA with the Notice of Appeal, together with the reviewers’ Report and recommended disposition and the Committee’s disposition.

6.3 The Chair, FDRIA shall consider the appeal on the written record only.

6.4 The Chair, FDRIA will uphold the Committee’s disposition unless the record discloses extraordinary circumstances or considerations, or new information is brought to the Chair, FDRIA’s attention, which in the opinion of the Chair, FDRIA, mitigate an otherwise appropriate disposition.

6.5 If, in the opinion of the Chair, FDRIA, the record discloses extraordinary circumstances or considerations which mitigate an otherwise appropriate disposition, the Chair, FDRIA may allow the appeal and substitute any disposition which would have been available to the Board, save and except that the Chair, FDRIA may not substitute a disposition dismissing the complaint.

6.6 Within 60 days of receipt of the Notice of Appeal and related documentation from the Committee Chair, the Chair, FDRIA shall provide a final and binding decision on the appeal, with written reasons.

7. Conflicts of Interest

7.1 No person shall act in any capacity in the complaint process if that person has or may have any conflict of interest or reasonable apprehension of conflict of interest with either the Complainant or the Professional.

7.2 When the identity of the Complainant and/or the Professional has not been disclosed and is not known to the person acting in the complaint process, section 7.1 does not apply. If a conflict of interest is later discovered, there will be no impact on the complaint process.

8. Relief from Strict Time Limitations

8.1 The Chair, FDRIA or the Committee Chair as delegate, may at any time relieve, in their sole discretion, either the Complainant or Professional from any of the time limits contained in this Policy.