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Consensus Decision-Making Certificate Program

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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.  Solutions  include plans for what each stakeholder will do to implement the final agreement.

The Consensus Decision Making Certificate Program is made up of two courses designed to prepare students to participate in or facilitate consensus building and consensus decision-making processes. 

Part One: COMMUNICATIONS IN ADR – Six Days (40 Credit Hours)

Part One consists of ADRIA’s Communications in ADR course where students will learn skills for conflict conversations (including active listening and assertive expression).

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

Communications in ADR


Part Two of the program builds on the skills learned in Part One and consists of ADRIA’s Consensus Decision Making course where students will learn the theory, model, and skills of consensus decision making.

All kinds of situations lend themselves to consensus building.  Public policy, community development, and strategic planning within organizations, are a few examples where consensus decision making is being used to forge agreement among diverse groups.  Generally, consensus processes are used in situations where the issue is complex and there is a range of concerns and interests in how a problem should be resolved.  It is most appropriate for situations where decisions will impact many people over the long term. 

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.  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 an opportunity to integrate economic, social, community and environmental interests for truly sustainable outcomes.  Consensus decisions are more likely to be implemented, tend to be longer lasting, more sustainable than other forms of decisions.


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

Learners must have successfully completed Communications in ADR (or equivalent training) prior to registering in this course.

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

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.

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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