National Section Meeting Report 2016/2017

  • November 06, 2016


National Alternative Dispute Resolution Section


October 15, 2016


InterContinental Toronto Centre, Toronto, ON

Submitted by

BC Branch Representative: Elena Merritt (ADR-Victoria Section)


1) Agenda and Summary
The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) National Section Meeting was held on Saturday, October 15, 2016 in downtown Toronto from 9 a.m. in the morning to 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon. The meeting was well-attended by Section Chairs and Executive members from across Canada. In summary, the meeting covered the following items:

  • Report from the Chair
  • Branch Chair Reports from Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.
  • Legislation and Law Reform: update from the DR Curriculum Committee, discussion on potential CBA Law Reform opportunities, and the ADR National Section's participation in the CBA's Legal Health Checks 2016-2017 (
  • Professional Development: two upcoming ADR webinars include Dobermans and Diplomats on November 15, 2016 and the Science of Persuasion on November 29, 2016.
  • American Bar Association Liaison Committee: update on the planning of presentation topics for the next ABA conference in 2017.
  • Section Business and Communications: section budget update and publication of ADR news articles for National Section webpage.
  • Planning and Priorities for 2016-2017
  • A presentation by Garrick Apollon of the Department of Justice Canada on the leading policy, training, and working groups of the Dispute Prevention and Resolution group in the Legal Practices Policy Branch of Justice Canada.
  • A presentation by the ADR Institute of Canada (ADRIC) on the significant development of the ADRIC Arbitration Rules that came into effect on December 1, 2014.

2) Highlights:
The meeting fostered engaging and productive conversation amongst diverse professionals and emphasized the need for continued growth and advancement of ADR in the practice of law. Main highlights of the discussion included:

  • Discussion on possible partnership between ADRIC and the ADR National Section for next ADRIC conference.
  • Brainstorming on the further promotion of the business case for ADR with input from Justice Canada.
  • Recognition of the importance of young lawyers' involvement in CBA sections and initiatives.
  • Proposal for establishing an award for a student essay about ADR and award to be given in memory of past National Executive Chair James Thistle, Q.C.

3) Discussion and Conclusion

The CBA Futures Initiative of "Do Law Differently" released this past February 2016 was also a topic of interest. Comments noted that Alternative Dispute Resolution is essentially "doing law differently." ADR sections can consider working to help advance the Futures Initiative and especially ADR's place within this leading discussion. More information can be found on the Futures Initiative here:

Thank you to the ADR National Section and BC Section for the opportunity to travel to and attend the National Section meeting in Toronto. I was encouraged to hear the thoughtful, generous, and energetic discussion about ADR developments across Canada and was grateful to have been able to participate. I look forward to the continued momentum ahead.

Respectfully submitted by Elena Merritt, Chair of ADR-Victoria Section.