Experiencing conflict at work? Are you having a difficult time working with a colleague? Are you having trouble communicating in your professional life? Are you feeling frustrated, vulnerable? Is a working relationship breaking down? Are you avoiding interacting with a colleague? Are you feeling uncomfortable to resolve an issue without support?

As terrible as these situations sound, if you answered yes, you are probably not alone. Sometimes intelligent, articulate, sensitive, and caring professionals find themselves in circumstances that are both surprising and desperate. They feel devastated when they are unable to find a way out of the difficulties.

The STA Mediation Service may be able to help.

The STA Mediation Service is a voluntary and confidential service provided to STA members to mediate challenges between colleagues and coworkers.

If you would like, download a Mediation brochure for yourself or a colleague.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a carefully designed process that brings (usually 2) people together in conversations, with mediators present, to help them explore the conflict situation and move to resolution.

Who uses this service?

This service is available to any Surrey Teachers’ Association member who needs to resolve a dispute with another staff member who is willing to participate in the mediation process.

Who provides the service?

The mediation team is a voluntary, diverse group of your colleagues trained in mediation skills and dispute resolution processes. Where a dispute involves STA and CUPE members a joint team will facilitate the mediation.

What type of situation does the Mediation service deal with?

    • Respectful professional relations.
    • Social interactions.
    • Resources and/or funding.
    • Duties, roles, and responsibilities.
    • Professional responsibilities, including student discipline and reporting.
    • Professional practice within departments including teaching style, methods, or assessment techniques.
    • Decision making, policies, and procedures.
    • School culture and climate
    • Ethical conduct, including speaking about colleagues or students.
    • Communication about or with students, parents, administrators, support staff, and/or the public.

How do we access the service?

For more information about the service, please phone the Professional Support Services Officer at 604-592-8396. If mediation is the appropriate service, the Professional Support Services Officer will assist in coordinating mediators and dates.

How does it work?

    • A member contacts the STA
    • Professional Support Services Officer (or the member may agree to) contact the other person involved.
    • If both agree to the mediation process then both submit a short pre-mediation form
    • One member will meet with the mediation team for a morning with release provided
    • The other member will meet with the team in the afternoon with release provided
    • Both members meet with the team for a day with release provided
    • Confidentiality is maintained throughout the process by members and the mediation team
    • Administration is not involved and does not need to be aware of the process even occurring.

What about confidentiality?

All proceedings and information shared during the process are strictly confidential between the participants and the mediators.  Any notes taken by the mediators during the discussions are shredded upon completion of the process. The mediators report only if there is full resolution, partial or no resolution. The participants are also expected to respect the confidentiality of the proceedings including the time leading up to the mediation.

What about the Code of Ethics?

Conversations with the Professional Support Services Officer leading up to the request for mediation and coordinating mediation are confidential.  For the purposes of the individual interviews, the provisions of the Code of Ethics are set aside so that each person’s perspective can be clearly presented to the mediators. Names can be used during the confidential individual interviews.

I’m nervous; will I be safe?

    1. Mediators are trained to ensure that conversations are conducted respectfully and safely for all parties.
    2. Most mediation involves people who are feeling hurt and vulnerable. In order for the sessions to proceed successfully, mediators are trained to ensure that both parties feel secure as they meet with neutral mediators present.
    3. Participation in mediation is voluntary, each person and/or the mediators, have the right to withdraw from the process at any time.

What is the MS mandate?

The mandate can be found in the STA Policy and Procedures 2.E. Peer Mediation

    2.E.02

    1. THAT the STA maintain a Peer Mediation Service to mediate disputes that threaten good relationships among active members and others as appropriate.
    2. THAT the Executive Committee will appoint members to the Peer Mediation Service for three (3) year terms, normally to a maximum of three (3) terms, and the members will comprise a balance of male and female, a balance of elementary and secondary members and shall preferably include at least one mediator who is fluent in French and English.
    3. THAT any member or group of members may obtain the services of the STA Peer Mediation Service by communicating with an officer of the STA. The request will be forwarded promptly to the Professional Support Services officer.

    2.E.04 Procedures of the STA Mediation Service

    1. The Professional Support Services officer will screen and assign cases.
    2. Two (2) mediators will be assigned to a particular case. One of the two will act as “lead mediator”.
    3. All communication regarding the mediation and process is held confidentially. Mediators will not submit reports about the content of cases mediated to anyone. Mediators will only submit a summary of resolved, partially resolved, or not resolved.
    4. Records will be kept to an absolute minimum.
    5. Cases may be discussed with members of the mediation group or with appropriate STA officers on a privileged communication basis at any time.
    6. In the event that a mediation case develops into an ethics case, no information from the mediators will be given to the BCTF Judicial Council.
    7. Where the mediation is between a member and a CUPE member, CUPE will select the second mediator.

For more information about the service, please contact the Professional Support Services officer, Kevin Amboe at services@surreyteachers.org or call the STA office at (604) 594-5353.