THE ADVOCATE 37
VOL. 77 PART 1 JANUARY 2019
(3) The court must not make an order under this section unless written
notice is given to the arbitrator before the award is made that a reasoned
award would be required or a good reason is shown why no
such written notice was given.
The difficulty with this section is that it is often not until “summary reasons”
are released that an arbitration participant realizes the award and its
brief reasons are not sufficient to determine whether grounds of appeal
may exist. In addition, some arbitrators’ agreements to participate in arbitration
provide for a contractual right to request fuller reasons but do not
stipulate a time constraint.
Because the Arbitration Act allows for an appeal in family law cases on a
question of law or mixed law and fact, it is important that arbitrators provide
written reasons that provide for meaningful appellate review.
The importance of clear reasons is illustrated by the Alberta Court of
Appeal’s decision in Rockall v. Rockall.19 There, the court reversed a decision
to award lump sum spousal support to a terminally ill spouse and converted
the value of the lump sum award to periodic payments effectively because
of the trial judge’s failure to give reasons for making the lump sum award.
That failure was an error reviewable on appeal.
Several courts have noted that the role of a parenting coordinator is similar
to that of an arbitrator, particularly where the arbitrator conducts a med/arb
process. Section 18 of the FLA provides:
(1) A parenting coordinator
(a) may make determinations respecting prescribed matters only,
subject to any limits or conditions set out in the regulations,
(b) must not make a determination respecting any matter excluded
by the parenting coordination agreement or order, even if the
matter is a prescribed matter, and
(c) must not make a determination that would affect the division or
possession of property, or the division of family debt.
(2) In making a determination respecting parenting arrangements or
contact with a child, a parenting coordinator must consider the best
interests of the child only, as set out in section 37 best interests of
(3) A parenting coordinator may make a determination at any time.
(4) A parenting coordinator may make an oral determination, but must
put the determination into writing and sign it as soon as practicable
after the oral determination is made.
(5) Subject to section 19 changing or setting aside determinations, a determination