Farm Debt Mediation Service: Step 1. What this program offers

Step 1. What this program offers

The Farm Debt Mediation Service offers financial counselling and mediation services to farmers who are having difficulties meeting their financial obligations. It is a free and voluntary service for both producers and for creditor(s). The service helps bring producers and their creditor(s) together with a mediator in a neutral forum to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

The service is private and confidential. It is an economical alternative to trying to resolve financial disputes in court.

The majority of cases that have gone through the mediation process have resulted in a signed agreement between farmer and creditor(s).

The Farm Debt Mediation Service is divided into two processes: Section 5 (1) (a) and Section 5 (1) (b). The main difference between the two is that Section 5 (1) (a) includes a stay of proceedings and Section 5 (1) (b) does not. For more details about each section, please see How to apply.

As soon as we confirm that you are eligible for the Service, a qualified financial consultant will be assigned to work with you throughout the mediation process.

Once the financial consultant has helped you develop a recovery plan, a meeting will be arranged with you, your creditor(s) and a mediator.

It is the mediator's responsibility to ensure a fair and unbiased mediation process and to remain neutral throughout all discussions. Confidentiality is extremely important to the quality and effectiveness of the service. Information obtained from you and your creditor(s) is used for the sole purpose of mediation and is shared only among the parties involved in the mediation process.

The mediator has no decision making power and is at the meeting only to help you and your creditor(s) reach your own mutually acceptable settlement. The mediator will lead a discussion encouraging both the producer and the creditor(s) to participate; help the parties to communicate effectively; and help to explore and clarify options for settlement. When the parties agree upon a solution, the mediator will draw-up an agreement, get it signed, and give a copy to each of the participants.