Faith-based (religious) family arbitration

Nothing in Ontario law prevents people from turning to a religious official or someone knowledgeable in the principles of their religion to help them resolve their family dispute.

However, if that person made a decision based on religious principles, the decision would not be a valid family arbitration award under the law. Both spouses could comply with the decision voluntarily, but the decision would not be enforceable if one of the people involved took it to court. The court may only enforce awards made in arbitrations conducted exclusively under Canadian law.

A religious official can conduct a family arbitration under Ontario law if that person is properly qualified to do so. To be qualified one has to have completed the required training and otherwise conduct the arbitration under the statutes and regulations. An award from such an arbitration would then be enforceable like any other arbitration.