Thursday, February 22, 2024

B.C. group offers quarantine conflict resolution service for squabbling roommates, neighbours


As a way to curb the spread of COVID-19, people have been instructed to lock down in their homes, which means roommates, tenants, and neighbours are now in closer proximity at all hours of the day. 

This can lead to an increasing amount of conflict. To ease the pressure, Mediate BC has launched a new low-cost program called the Quarantine Conflict Resolution Service (QCRS).

Mediate BC is working with LandlordBC to make sure that everyone knows of this program so they can get the help they need to mediate new conflicts that are arising. 

 “COVID-19 is leading to so many different kinds of conflict in housing situations,” says QCRS program manager Amanda Semenoff in a statement. “Mediators can help with these difficult conversations.”

Kimberly Coates of LandlordBC adds that adhering to social distancing regulations could create specific challenges for people who are sharing a living space. 

Coates says it is only natural conflicts arise during this time where people don’t know how to talk about certain situations or where roommates who have worked opposite schedules are learning to cohabitate.

This is where the QCRS comes into play offering more than 35 mediators in a timely fashion, according to a press release. 

All QCRS mediators are independent and skilled in helping people have difficult conversations. The mediation sessions will all be held virtually through phone calls, Zoom teleconferencing, or other distance options that everyone agrees upon.

In order to be accessible for everyone, the program offers a sliding scale model of payment. 

“We ask for a financial declaration if people want access to the law bono sliding scale and we match it up to our fee structure,” said Semenoff, in an interview with Victoria Buzz.

The fee structure is available for viewing on their website and provides a table with hourly fees based on income.

“We understand that people are going through some pretty significant income changes right now and so there is just a spot to say ‘this is how my income has changed and to check I need a fee waiver’,” said Semenoff.

The hours during which to get mediation services have also been made accessible to everyone who needs it. The QCRS finds a time that will be most effective for people and works around their schedule. 

“While we maybe prefer standard business hours, everybody has to be flexible at a time like this,” said Semenoff.

To apply for a session simply complete an online intake form or email for more information.

Shaun Fisk
Shaun Fisk is a freelance journalist for Victoria Buzz and he graduated from SAIT with a diploma in journalism in 2018.

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