Inventory of Government-Based Family Justice Services

Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) Project (Ontario)


Type of service
Family Court Services

Services offered
The Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO) project provides family litigants with an early evaluation of their case by a neutral family lawyer for purposes of facilitating settlement and narrowing the issues in dispute. In locations where the DRO program is offered, first appearances on requests to change an order come before a DRO first, rather than a judge. The DRO meets with the parties to determine the issues, explore settlement options and determine if the file is ready to go before a judge. DROs do not have the authority to make orders but are often able to help the parties agree to a settlement which can be confirmed by a judge, or at minimum assist in resolving outstanding disclosure issues and setting a schedule for next steps in the proceeding.

Pilot or ongoing service
This service is available in the following Superior Court of Justice locations: Toronto, Funded ongoing service in Toronto. Pilot service in Brampton, Milton, Newmarket, Durham, Hamilton, and Barrie, London and St. Catharines.

Department responsible
Superior Court of Justice

How to access this service
Contact the court office in locations where the program exists for more information. Court users who are eligible will be scheduled to a DRO appearance.

Superior Court of Justice locations Toronto, Brampton, Milton, Newmarket, Durham, Hamilton, Barrie, London and St. Catherines.
[ Service(s) offered ]


Not available

No charge to the public.

Governing legislation/legislative authority
Rule 17(9) of the Family Law Rules and by Practice Direction of the Superior Court of Justice

Contact person(s)
Office of the Senior Family Judge
Ontario Superior Court of Justice
c/o Valerie Walker
(416) 327-0638
130 Queen St. W.
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N5

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