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  • Monday, October 08, 2018 12:06 PM | Anonymous

    Conflict Resolution Day is October 18

    The goal of Conflict Resolution Day is to get Albertans talking about their options to work through conflict in a positive and productive way.

    The Conflict Resolution Day Alberta Planning Group is a collaboration between the Alberta Government's Dispute Resolution Network and ADR (Appropriate Dispute Resolution) organizations from all over the province, including ADRIA.

    We invite you to take part in celebrating the day by joining one of the many in-person events or participating in the webinars, TedTalks, and more offered remotely. Visit the Conflict Resolution Day website to find out more!

    You can also check out the conversation on social media! Use the hashtag #CRDayAB or #LetsTalkADR to connect to the conversation. Our Conflict Resolution Day webpage has content from those feeds. 

    Upcoming Conflict Resolution Day Events

    CBC Alberta At Noon: The Conflict Resolution Doctors Are In!

    October 16

    Tune into CBC’s Alberta at Noon for a one-hour program and hear from conflict resolution practitioners from the public and private sector on ways to handle conflict in healthy ways and services you can access. Ask your questions on how to deal with difficult people and ways to resolve issues in productive and healthy ways.

    ADRIA Grand Opening Wine & Cheese Reception

    October 17 at 5:00pm – 7:00pm

    Come join colleagues, partners and ADR supporters to celebrate Conflict Resolution Week and ADRIA's new premises in south Edmonton.

    View ADRIA's new office space and our well-appointed classroom facilities. There will be networking opportunities, door prizes and a chance to celebrate ADR in Alberta.

    Please extend this invitation to co-workers and colleagues who might share our collective passion for accessible resolution options.

    Pre-registration and further details can be found on our website.

    Conflict Resolution Day Information Fair

    Atrium, Edmonton City Hall

    October 18 at 9:00am-2:00pm

    Join us at the ADR Information Fair in the Atrium at Edmonton City Hall. Representatives from various government and not for profit organizations will be on hand to provide information about ADR services available at their organizations.

    Proclamation Ceremony

    Atrium, Edmonton City Hall
    October 18 at 10:00am

    Join us in the Atrium of Edmonton City Hall at 10:00 AM to hear October 18, 2018 be proclaimed "Conflict Resolution Day" in Edmonton.

    Free Conflict Resolution Workshop: Confident Communication

    This interactive workshop will look at confident communication as a way to empower you to develop boundaries with people, allowing you to have your needs met without pushing others away or allowing yourself to feel anger and resentment. [Read More About This Workshop]

    This presentation is offered in various locations across the province:

    Heritage Room, Edmonton City Hall
    October 18 at 12:00pm-1:00pm
    Register for the workshop by email:

    High Prairie
    Upstairs Boardroom, High Prairie Public Library
    October 18 at 12:00pm-1:30pm
    All welcome.

    Sherwood Park
    Family and Community Services
    October 18
    Offered during the day at 12:00pm-1:00pm
    and again in the evening at 6:30pm-7:30pm

    St. Paul
    Family and Community Support Service
    October 18th 10:00am - 11:00am

    Grande Prairie
    Courthouse Mediation Room
    October 18 at 1:30pm - 3:00pm

    See More Conflict Resolution Day Events

  • Friday, October 05, 2018 3:07 PM | Anonymous

    The ADR Institute of Alberta, the Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution, and the Aga Khan's Conciliation & Arbitration Board (CAB)are collaborating to host a Community Roundtable on Challenges & Opportunities in Dispute Resolution and Prevention, 8-11 am Thursday morning, October 25th in Calgary.  

    This event will provide a forum for faith groups, community organizations and other stakeholders to discuss and understand the successes and challenges faced by these groups when resolving conflicts. Participants will have an opportunity to share and learn from others as we discuss the tools and resources used by the other organizations. Through these discussions and the compilation of the information you will share, we will work together to advance dispute resolution mechanisms for the betterment of the broader community. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to participate in a valuable community capacity building initiative. 

    The contributing partners are actively inviting the many community and faith-based groups that experience and work to resolve conflict within their constituencies. 

    ADRIA members that have clients, contacts, or are actively involved with any such group are encouraged to pass along the attached invitation.  A similar session in Toronto attracted representation from the social services sector and numerous faith-based communities.  The sharing and outcomes that resulted were hugely beneficial to all participants, and ADRIA would like to ensure that there is expanded and inclusive representation in Calgary.  

    Register online before Thursday, October 11, 2018.

    For further information, please contact Yasifina Somji, Member, Conciliation and Arbitration Board for the Prairies at or at 403-463-8342.


  • Thursday, October 04, 2018 2:44 PM | Anonymous

    A recent BC Court of Appeal case considered the issue of reasonable apprehension of bias when arbitrators have private communications with only one party to the arbitration.  

    The Court of Appeal concluded that "by allowing [four]ex parte communications about the arbitration proceedings to take place  .... the arbitrators placed themselves in an impossible position and undermined their appearance of neutrality."  . The Court further noted that this case, and many such "disputes are initiated or defended by self-represented condominium owners.  The lawyers acting on the opposite side or as arbitrators in such disputes are usually earning significant professional fees for their roles.  It would not be unheard of for them to refer work to one another and to maintain collegial professional relationships. In such a context, the legal professionals involved must be especially vigilant to maintain appropriate professional distance in order to properly perform their roles."  

    The case provides important procedural and ethical lessons for our arbitration community. The decision further considered the question of whether or not the arbitrators had failed to meet their duty to advise the parties of the possibility of mediation. The Court defined the mediation option as "a chance to explore any misconceptions that the party initiating arbitration might have, to educate that party about the risks and costs implications, and, in a non-adversarial setting, to come up with solutions to alleviate the concerns that might be motivating the arbitration."  

    ADRIA Arbitrators and Mediators alike are encouraged to read the Court's ruling in detail

  • Wednesday, October 03, 2018 2:28 PM | Anonymous

    by Paul Conway, ADRIA Executive Director

    I've been privy to some interesting discussions these past few weeks, raising questions about the appropriateness of mediation as a response to workplace bullying allegations.  Bullying is certainly a recognized and damaging form of harassment, with its own defining characteristics. In my professional experience, the words bullying and harassment are too easily thrown out by a complainant to describe workplace circumstances that are better characterized as interpersonal conflict, but every manager is still obligated to respond appropriately.  

    The question becomes - how best to respond? How does one triage such a complaint to determine next steps?  

    The easy out is to convene an investigation, but formal investigations can be expensive, polarizing and very disruptive to the work unit. A more progressive manager might prefer to suggest confidential mediation as the initial response to such allegations, but that brings us back to the special characteristics of bullying.  I am now aware that some ADRIA members that specialize in workplace conflict will not take on a mediation file that includes credible allegations of bullying.

    A recent article on the Australian Dispute Resolution Research Network website suggests that workplace bullying situations, when they truly meet the definition, include a power imbalance that cannot be safely or adequately addressed through mediation.  Much like domestic violence and restorative justice situations, there is a victim/offender relationship that first requires the offender to acknowledge and be accountable for their actions. 

    Without going into further detail, you are invited to read the post and participate in a discussion in the comments section below. 

    If not mediation, are there other more appropriate ADR options to address bullying?  To what degree must the bullying aspects of a complaint be examined or investigated before mediation or any ADR option is considered?  

    ADRIA is genuinely interested in hearing your perspectives and reaction to the article and these questions. Leave us a comment!

    To leave a comment, click the menu next to the title of the blog post that looks like this: 

  • Tuesday, October 02, 2018 1:20 PM | Anonymous

    By Michelle Simpson, President of the Board

    Membership feedback is an important contributor to Board & Staff decision making, and ADRIA has been privy to numerous sources of feedback over the past year– notably from the ongoing work of the ADRIA Designation & Training Standards task force that surveyed many within the ADR community.  At a recent ADRIA board meeting, one general comment that stood out was the need for better two-way communications and information sharing regarding the value of an ADRIA membership. 

    As President of ADRIA, and on behalf of the Board, it is my pleasure to provide to you, our members some highlights of our ongoing efforts to provide value for your ADRIA membership.

    A Code of Conduct - If you look at the pace of regulation affecting both mediation and arbitration services particularly in family matters across this country you will see how increasing emphasis is being placed on engaging mediators and arbitrators who provide their services pursuant to a Code of Conduct which is enforced by a member organization. Through our partnership with ADRIC, ADRIA members are subject to a National Code of Conduct.  ADRIA is in the final stages of strengthening our Complaint & Discipline Policy to ensure accountability and credibility of our professional members to their clients, government and the public.   

    ADR Professional Development & Education– ADRIA offers a robust program of basic, advanced and specialty ADR training.  Your ADRIA staff bring excellent programming and adult education expertise to the table – a resource drawn upon for course development for ADRIA, the ADR Institute of Canada, as well as other Affiliates.  We make it a priority to encourage ADRIA members to sit on ADRIC’s national education committees to influence development and delivery of national courses.  ADR luncheons with speakers in Calgary & Edmonton, learning sessions, online Bridging the Distance sessions, and symposium/conference opportunities are other ways in which ADRIA support’s professional development and networking

    Revenues generated from our PD programs also reduce reliance by ADRIA on membership fees to support ADRIA initiatives, which include advancement of both ADR practices and the ADR profession.

    Advocacy and Compensation Issues – ADRIA gained considerable attention and enhanced its reputation through its promulgation of the Mediation Advocacy White Paper in 2016.  Advocacy for the profession, the use of ADR, and ADRIA’s constant efforts to bring attention to the need for fair compensation of mediators continue to be the focus of ADRIA’s advocacy efforts with government and other partners.

    Regulation of Mediators/Arbitrators – A number of provinces in Canada are starting to regulate the use and/or qualifications of private mediators and arbitrators in certain areas through the use of “designated organizations”.  In other words, provincial legislation is specifying that if a “designated organization” such as ADRIA confirms that you are a mediator/arbitrator qualified to provide the mediation/arbitration services requested, then you are deemed “qualified” as a person who may offer their mediation/arbitration services for the specified purpose.  ADRIA continues to work hard to be recognized by the Alberta government and by private businesses as a desgination organization and an important source for accessing skilled and capable ADR professionals in Alberta.  Government sectors with whom we have engaged include: Alberta Justice (and specifically the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench), Alberta Infrastructure (the new Municipal Government Act), the Dispute Resolution Network of the Alberta Government, and Service Alberta (Construction and Condominiums).  ADRIA is fully committed to exploring all future regulatory opportunities which may enhance the value of national ADR designations and your ADRIA membership.

    Opportunities for Work – Our Members want ADRIA to help link them to potential clients and to increase their opportunities for work.   Many initiatives are geared towards ADRIA being seen as a conduit to find skilled ADR professionals. Requests for assistance and work postings are increasing. Greater awareness and use of our longstanding ADRIA and ADRIC Online Directories of ADR professionals is also part of this effort.

    The recent Inter-Municipal Collaboration Framework Regulation outlines new Arbitration processes for Municipal disputes arising under the scope of this legislation. ADRIA is participating on the Advisory committee working on criteria for these Arbitrators

    Another new initiative involves working with ADR services within government, to build a Certificate Program offering access to internship placement opportunities with the Alberta Government. The Certificate Program, with enhanced training and skills demonstration, would expand the pool of candidates who could provide quality mediation services to the Alberta Government as employees or contractors.

    ADRIA has worked hard in conjunction with many other not for profit ADR organizations since 2013 to influence the Court of Queen’s Bench to reinstate the mandatory ADR Rule requiring the parties to attempt an ADR process prior to setting a matter down for trial. The Court of Queen’s Bench has recently announced a pilot project for 2019, and more private engagements and roster positions are anticipated to support this initiative.   This should create new employment and contract opportunities for our membership particularly since appointments for Judicial Dispute Resolution will only be offered to the parties once trial fees are paid by the parties.  Private or court annexed ADR options will be made available prior to the collection of any trial fees. We want ADRIA members to be ready!

    Standards of Practice – Credible national designations and the need to protect the public form the backbone behind our efforts to ensure that ADRIA is both recognized and trusted as an organization through which its members can deliver competent and professional ADR services. 

    After learning about user concerns regarding competency of designation holders, the ADRIA Board of Directors commissioned a Task Force to explore the issues and make recommendations.  The work of the Task Force thus far has been extensive, and the resultant report will be shared not only with our membership but also with ADRIC with the view of improving the national designations.

    A National Federation that provides leverage and influences change -  The signs are that ADR is being embraced more and more in government, industry and communities across Canada.  ADRIA has worked relentlessly with ADRIC and other ADR organizations in Alberta and Canada to influence change relative to the use of ADR.  ADRIA is currently negotiating a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the ADR Institute of Canada and all of ADRIC’s Affiliates.  It is believed that a renewed MOU and a truly united federation for ADR throughout Canada will increase our collective ability to influence change and create a groundswell of opportunities relative to the use ADR.  

    Regional Partnerships - ADRIA worked closely with the Government of Alberta and other ADR non-profit organizations to launch the first ever Alberta ADR Symposium this past May.  The outcomes from that Symposium have now been collected and the group is working on creating an Alberta-wide ADR organization to push the ADR agenda flowing from the Symposium. 

    ADRIA, in conjunction with the Canadian Bar Association, Alberta Branch and the ADR Institute of Canada are putting on a one-day symposium in Calgary on November 6, 2018 to the insurance industry in order to introduce the insurance industry to the many ways ADR services can be used to resolve insurance disputes.

    Optimizing our Resources – The opportunities to move ADR forward in Alberta and across Canada are growing! There is so much that can be done.  At the same time our resources are limited.  We have a volunteer Board and a small but dedicated ADRIA staff -none of which are full time. We are very thankful to every dedicated volunteer who brings his or her voice to ADRIA through their involvement with ADRIA and ADRIC committees and task forces.  We believe membership engagement can bring membership value (both individually and collectively).    We need your passion and involvement in order to move ADR forward in Alberta and throughout Canada.   

    What are you interested in working on?  We will be looking at more and different ways to tap into our membership resources to help increase the value of ADRIA to each and every one of you.

    The bottom line- What do you think?

    ADRIA is working hard to bring value to your membership. We are here to serve you.  

    Are we on the right track?  Are you feeling it? 

    How can we support your engagement in your organization?

    We welcome your feedback. 

    Please provide your ideas to the following e-mail address:

  • Wednesday, September 19, 2018 10:07 AM | Anonymous
    The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta requested feedback on the mandatory participation in dispute resolution processes when children are involved in family matters:

    It is in the best interests of the children that parents resolve family matters without Court intervention, wherever possible. The Court therefore wishes to implement a pilot project in Edmonton encouraging party participation in early dispute resolution processes.

    As part of the pilot project, parties will be encouraged to participate in one or more early dispute resolution processes. Where parties have not participated in an early dispute resolution process, they may be required by the Court to do so.

    The requirements for the proposed Edmonton pilot project are included below. Feedback on the proposed pilot project is being sought and may be provided to by September 30, 2018. It is anticipated that the pilot project will be implemented in January 2019 through a Notice to Profession and Public (NPP). Once implemented, the pilot project will be assessed with a view to determining whether it should continue, and be expanded to other locations throughout the province.

    Proposed NPP for Mandatory Participation in Dispute Resolution Processes Edmonton Pilot Project Requirements

    1. Where child support is the only issue:

    A self-represented party must participate in the Child Support Resolution Program before filing a child support application (see Family Practice Note 4).

    2. Where parenting is the only issue:

    A self-represented party must participate in Intake and Caseflow Conferencing, Intake and Family Mediation or private mediation with a Private Mediator from an approved mediation roster, before filing a parenting application.

    3. Where parenting and child support are both in issue:

    A self-represented party must participate in Intake and Caseflow Conferencing, Intake 2 and Family Mediation or private mediation with a Private Mediator from an approved mediation roster, before filing a parenting and child support application.

    * The initial focus will be on resolving the parenting issues. If the parenting issues are resolved but the child support issue is not, the parties may be encouraged to participate in another dispute resolution process, including the Child Support Resolution Program.

    4. It is anticipated that participation in one or more of the dispute resolution processes will resolve the parenting and child support issues. If a Court application is still required, a Certificate will be issued to enable parties who have participated in a dispute resolution process to file a Court application.

    5. An exemption from participation in a dispute resolution process may be provided in limited circumstances.

    6. The pilot project applies to parenting and child support under both the Family Law Act and the Divorce Act.

    7. For purposes of the proposed NPP, a Private Mediator from an approved mediator roster includes mediators that are listed on a professionally managed mediation roster with standard education and experience requirements for mediators. Private mediation rosters include those available through the Alberta Family Mediation Society and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Alberta.

    Read the full announcement

  • Monday, September 17, 2018 10:43 AM | Anonymous

    An update from Peer Mediation And Skills Training (PMAST):

    We have gone through some restructuring in an effort to make us more current to meet today's needs, but we are fully operational.  Our Board of Directors is functioning well and working hard to rebrand our organization and update our programs and services.  We will no longer be offering the Restorative Action Program but Winston Blake is still proceeding with the expansion of that initiative.  PMAST will continue with the rest of our programs and services which are just being updated to match the needs defined in the recent announcement from Alberta's Minister of Education stating that "wellness" will be included in the school curriculum for all Alberta children and youth.

    The Honorable David Eggen explains it as: 

    "Evidence indicates that the best way to impact student health behaviours is through a comprehensive school health (CSH) approach. CSH is an internationally recognized approach for supporting student learning while addressing school health in a planned, integrated and holistic manner."  His vision of wellness education in Alberta is "for students to be educated, informed and contributing members of society and to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to be well in every sense of the word—emotionally, intellectually, physically, socially and spiritually."

    PMAST started with anti-bullying and skills to deal with conflict in the lives of our youth, which certainly impacts the wellness of an individual and is the cause of many of these societal issues.  However, we must build on our ideology to encompass all root causes of emotional, social and spiritual wellness to provide our youth with programs to deal with the issues they are facing in today's world.

    We know these issues affect people long after school age in the workplace, the community and certainly in the family.  PMAST has learned from experience that our programs have a ripple-effect on families and communities.  We recognize that schools are a microcosm of the community; what exists in the school also exists in the community.  Our programs are also an important tool for dealing with these issues and team building for communities, organizations, corporations, etc.


    For program information contact our Program Director, Flo Lye at 403 669-1211

    For organization or volunteer information contact our President Brenda Christie at 587 333-1353

  • Wednesday, September 12, 2018 10:35 AM | Anonymous

    This post excerpt is by Rick Weiler on the Kluwer Mediation Blog. Read the full article

    On Thursday, August 30, 2018 the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal did the unthinkable. Its Judgement in Tsleil-Waututh Nation v. Canada (Attorney General), 2018 FCA 153 (CanLII) quashed approval of the $9.3-billion (CAN) Trans Mountain oil pipeline. The Canadian government announced last spring that it would purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan Ltd. for $4.5-billion to guarantee that the oilsands pipeline expansion would be built in the national interest. Ironically, Kinder Morgan shareholders approved the sale (which was not conditional on the Court decision) at a 3-minute meeting the same day that the Judgement was released.

    Why did the Court block this mega-project declared by the Canadian Prime Minister to be in the national interest? Two reasons: the federal government’s failure to consult in a meaningful way with affected First Nations; and the National Energy Board’s failure to consider the environmental impact of marine shipping related to the project. The Court indicated that these two issues had to be addressed as part of any re-do.

    “What’s this got to do with mediation?”, you ask. “Why wasn’t this dispute mediated?”, I respond.

    Why, as the case proceeded in the Courts, was there not a well-funded parallel mediation process  to allow the affected parties to see if they could negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution? 

    Oh, I’m sure there were some negotiations along the way. There may even have been some attempts at facilitation, although I can’t find any reference to that in my search of media reports.

    Mediation makes some pretty bold claims for itself: the ability to resolve disputes in a way that is less costly, less time-consuming and more satisfying that adjudicative processes. If that’s so then why is it so rarely used on the “big” disputes like this?

    [Continue Reading]

  • Tuesday, September 04, 2018 12:58 PM | Anonymous

    Explore perceptions of conflict and learn practical, hands-on skills to build a foundation in preventing and managing disputes in a productive manner.
    >> Communications in ADR

    Learn the arbitration process from conducting hearings to analyzing evidence and writing awards.
    >> National Introductory Arbitration Training

    Hone your arbitration skills through role play and walk away with a checklist for preliminary hearings.
    >> Preliminary Hearings for Arbitration

    Be prepared to manage a separation or divorce mediation from the time of initial contact, to creation of a mediated agreement, including parenting plans and child support.
    >>  Separation & Divorce: Foundations, Parenting Plans, and Child Support

    Understand conflict and its impact on individuals and organizations so you can develop new communication skills, introduce new HR policies & resources, and encourage managers and employees alike to act as conflict resolvers in the workplace. 
    Conflict Management in HR

    Build the skills to bring stakeholders together to find creative & collaborative solutions to complex problems.
    >> Consensus Decision Making

    Develop a foundation of good mediation practice by building your conflict management and leadership skills. Learn how to improve employee relations and promote healthy workplace communication practices.
    >> National Introductory Mediation

  • Monday, September 03, 2018 11:36 AM | Anonymous

    Research shows that the cost of workplace mental health issues can be significant. According to the MHCC, Mental Health disability leaves cost $50.8 billion per year in health care and work disruption. Not only that but financial awards for damages caused by mental injury at work have increased over the past five years by as much as 700%.

    Both provincial and federal occupational health legislation has incorporated the concept of mental injury in the workplace and specific workplace accountabilities, with reference to harassment (Bill 30, Bill C-65). When businesses adopt policies and programs to address psychological safety and health they incur 15-33% fewer costs related to psychological health issues.

    This November, ADRIA is partnering with the Workplace Fairness Institute to offer training to better equip yourself to improve workplace health, both to meet legislative standards and to increase workplace productivity.

    What is important about effective conflict management systems today? 

    Employers have a duty to take all reasonable steps to protect workers from being injured in the workplace – both physically and psychologically. They must ensure the workplace is free from psychological hazards that could cause harm to worker’s mental health. These measures not only ensure that organizations are complying with provincial and federal legislation, but it also creates an environment where members of a team can feel safe for interpersonal risk-taking; employees are empowered to work more effectively.

    By investing in effective conflict management systems, organizations can:

    • Reduce people and cost risks related to mental health
    • Promote productivity and engagement
    • Reduce potential liabilities related to the workplace legislation and employee mental illness
    • Develop and continuously improve work environments

    By developing skills in effective conflict management, you and your organization will be prepared for the new wave of workplace restoration. It will give you an opportunity to improve workplace health and learn how to turn around a workplace or team in crisis. Training as a Workplace Fairness Analyst will allow you to understand how workplace culture and conflict interact and provide you with tools to assess your workplace. Enroll and better equip yourself to practice workplace conflict management in all its varieties.

    What about ADR professionals? How can they benefit from this training?

    ADR practitioners can learn more about conflict systems within an organization and how best to position your practice within a range of different consultative process. Take a consultative approach with clients to identify and problem solve the root of a situation to ensure you are offering the correct remediation. Help your clients take a more proactive or preventative approach to address conflict.  

    The Advanced Workplace Restoration & Workplace Fairness Analyst Certification Training is offered in three ways:

    Visit the Workplace Fairness page on our website to find out more information or to enroll in these courses.

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