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Consensus Decision-Making Certificate Program

Are you involved in multi-party consultation or public engagement? Want to build the skills to bring stakeholders together to find creative solutions? Earn a Certificate in Consensus Decision-Making. 

Developed by the ADR Institute of Alberta, the Consensus Decision Making Certificate Program, provides participants with the skills necessary to achieve collaborative decisions through consensus building.  

Consensus Decision-Making (CDM) is a process by which various and potentially diverse stakeholders agree to work together towards finding mutually acceptable solutions to complex issues.  It is an opportunity to integrate economic, social, community and environmental interests when an issue is complex. The diversity of participants in the process enables everyone to harness knowledge and resources not otherwise available; no one person or organization has a complete perspective or all the resources.  

Consensus processes are more inclusive and compel people to develop creative outcomes that go beyond win-win, to solutions that are mutually acceptable to all participants.  Solutions are more likely to be implemented, tend to be longer lasting, and more sustainable than other forms of decisions. 

Consensus decision-making is being used to forge agreement among diverse groups in public policy, community development, and strategic planning within organizations. Our students range from oil & gas representatives, to NGOs, to Land Use Planners, and other professionals who work in public engagement.    

The Consensus Decision-Making Certificate Program is a two part program:

  1. Communications in ADR forms the foundation of healthy communications skills. 
  2. Consensus Decision-Making will develop your theory and skills in the consensus decision-making process. 
Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to learn theory as well as practice the skills they've learned through role plays. 

Communications in ADR 

Six Days (40 Credit Hours)

Taking ADRIA’s Communications in ADR course, which builds the foundation of the program, is recommended before the Consensus Decision Making course. Students will learn skills for conflict conversations including active listening and assertive expression. This course allows students to practice their communications skills so they can implement what they've learned immediately. 

To register for this course or for information on the Communications in ADR course please follow the link below:

Communications in ADR

Consensus Decision-Making

Five Days (40 Credit Hours)

This course builds on the skills learned in Communications in ADR and takes an in-depth look at the theory, model, and skills of consensus decision making. 


Bill Diepeveen has over 25 years’ experience in mediating and facilitating highly complex, and often politically charged, disputes. He brings extensive experience dealing with industry, citizen groups, governments, and NGO's, as well as twenty years’ experience in teaching. He has written extensively on the subject and was awarded the Lionel J. McGowan award by the ADR Institute of Canada for outstanding leadership in the field of conflict resolution.

Learning Objectives

Consensus building involves bringing interested stakeholders together to find creative solutions and a shared commitment to implement those solutions.  The objective of this certificate program is to help others develop skills in consensus building.   

In this course, students will:

  • Complete an internal and external assessment to conclude if a consensus building process is feasible and what prerequisites might be required
  • Explore the Five Stage Model of CDM in depth and practice implementing the model in role-play
  • Explore how the Five Stage Model of CDM is used to increase the participant’s ability to make more informed decisions and to achieve ‘win-win’ solutions
  • Gain an understanding of CDM and how this process may be similar or different from that of other decision-making processes
  • Gain an understanding of the connection between consensus building, and consensus decision-making
  • Gain an understanding of the terms used within CDM
  • Identify the requirements of a successful CDM process
  • Recognize the benefits of CDM and the myths and challenges associated with CDM
  • Understand and experience the components of the what is required to convene a multiparty consensus decision-making process
  • Understand and implement the procedural conditions necessary for a consensus building exercise
  • Understand how to respond to participants’ resistance to participate
  • Understand the various perspectives and approaches to the evaluation of consensus building processes

Who Should Take This Course

  • All those who are currently involved in or may be involved in multi-party consultation processes as a stakeholder. 
  • People new to the consensus process or other forms of collaborative decision making.
  • People who want to learn the skills necessary for participating effectively in a consensus process who may want to go on and learn how to manage or lead consensus processes.  
  • Oil & Gas representatives who actively engage with citizen groups

  • NGOs seeking to build collaborative relationships with other NGOs (specifically Board members and Executive Directors)

  • Land Use Planners

  • Professionals whose work focuses on public engagement

  • Government regulators whose work requires them to consult and collaborate with industry and the public

  • Forestry representatives who are involved in developing forestry management agreements

NOTE: The CDM course is predominantly, though not exclusively, for students who do not plan on pursuing mediation as a practice.  Individuals looking to become a mediator specializing in multi-party mediations should follow the mediation training stream by taking National Introductory Mediation and the Multi-Party Mediation specialized training course.

Course Requirements

ADRIA membership is required to take this course.

This course is 5 days in length; full attendance is required to receive a certificate of course completion.

Program Certificate in Consensus Decision Making Requirements

This Certificate in Consensus Decision Making program is made up of two courses: Communications in ADR and Consensus Decision Making.  Taken together, students will develop a set of skills that go beyond facilitation towards actively working with parties to come to consensus.

Learners must successfully complete both Communications in ADR (or equivalent training) and Consensus Decision-Making in order to receive the Certificate in Consensus Decision Making. 

While it is not necessary to complete Communications in ADR before Consensus Decision Making, it is highly recommended in order to fully benefit from the Consensus Decision Making course. 

Course Fees

The fee for this course is $1,800 plus GST.

Course Materials 

Course materials will be provided on the first day of class.

Learning Format

This course includes lecture, class discussion, role-playing, and small group work.

ADR Designation Qualification

This course qualifies as 40 hours of specialized training toward a Qualified Mediator (Q.Med) or Chartered Mediator (C.Med) professional designation.

Program Certificate Credits

Upon successful completion, this course counts as 40 hours of specialized training towards ADRIA's Program Certificate in Conflict Leadership.

Upcoming Courses

    • Thursday, September 20, 2018
    • Saturday, October 13, 2018
    • 2 sessions
    • Calgary
    • 6

    This course will introduce students to the causes and effects of interpersonal conflict, with particular emphasis on the dynamics of conflict, conflict resolution styles and the cycle of conflict.

    September 20-22 - Part 1  (Thurs-Sat)
    Oct 11-13 - Part 2  (Thurs-Sat)
    Attendance for all 6 days is mandatory

    Total Credit Hours: 40

    Alberta Security College
    1107-53 Avenue NE,
    Calgary, Alberta, 
    T2E 6X9

    Part 1 - Erika Deines
    Part 2 - Jan Gehrke

    Class Times: 9:00am - 5:00pm daily

    Prerequisites: none

    Ask us about how this course could meet  CPD requirements for CPHR Alberta.  

    • Thursday, September 27, 2018
    • Saturday, October 20, 2018
    • 2 sessions
    • Edmonton
    • 11

    This course will introduce students to the causes and effects of interpersonal conflict, with particular emphasis on the dynamics of conflict, conflict resolution styles and the cycle of conflict.

    September 27-29 - Part 1  (Thurs-Sat)
    October 18-20 - Part 2  (Thurs-Sat)
    Attendance for all 6 days is mandatory

    Total Credit Hours: 40

    Millbourne Market Mall
    #225, Tower 1,
    3697 Millwoods Road NW
    Edmonton, AB T6K 3L6

    Joanne Munro

    Class Times: 8:30am - 4:30pm daily

    Prerequisites: none

    Pre-course Reading: You will be sent pre-course reading approximately 2 weeks before the start of the course.  If you have a government email address, consider changing to a personal email address such as gmail, outlook, yahoo, shaw, telus, etc.

    • Thursday, October 25, 2018
    • Tuesday, October 30, 2018
    • 2 sessions
    • Edmonton
    • 13

    This course will provide you with a brief and broad overview of consensus building and consensus decision making processes.

    Course Description and Details

    October 25-27 - Part 1  (Thurs-Sat)
    October 29-30 - Part 2  (Mon-Tues)
    Attendance for all 5 days is mandatory

    Total Credit Hours: 40

    Millbourne Market Mall
    #225, Tower 1, 3697 Millwoods Road NW 
    Edmonton, AB T6K 3L6

    Instructor: Bill Diepeveen

    Class Times: 8:30am - 4:30pm daily

    Prerequisites: None.  However, it is strongly recommended that students complete Communications in ADR (or equivalent) before starting this part of the certificate program in order to fully benefit from the course.

    Certificate Requirements: Students must complete both the Communications in ADR and the Consensus Decision-Making courses in order to complete the requirements for the Certificate in Consensus Decision-Making.

    You may register without paying up front by choosing the invoice option. Full payment is due one month before class starts.

Alberta's association of mediators and arbitrators. 
Your source for ADR information and expertise.

Our main office is located in Edmonton:
#225, Tower 1
3697 Millwoods Road NW 
Edmonton, AB T6K 3L6

Contact Us:

Toll Free: 1-800-232-7214
Edmonton area: (780) 433-4881
Fax: (780) 433-9024

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