Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a process that can help two or more groups of people resolve disputes—in this case, disputes related to an energy development or activity. It is available throughout the life cycle of an energy project. The process is typically used to resolve public-to-company, indigenous community-to-company, and company-to-company disputes.
ADR can be used at any stage in the regulatory process:
- before a company submits a project application to the AER
- during our application review
- when a file is referred to the hearing commissioners for a hearing
- when operational or reclamation concerns arise
What to Expect
The parties involved in ADR are encouraged to communicate, understand the issues behind a dispute, and work together to find a mutually acceptable solution.
ADR can happen through direct negotiation, AER staff-led mediation, or independent third-party mediation. The parties should aim to resolve the dispute together before turning to AER-led or third-party mediation.
How We Support the Process
If the parties request AER mediation, our ADR team will arrange meeting logistics and prepare each party for collaborative discussion. Our primary interest is to help parties meet to discuss possible options and work together to find a solution. Our mediators will not make decisions, give legal advice, or provide solutions.
The team is trained in conflict management, is eligible for professional designations in mediation, and adheres to a strict code of ethics. Not all matters can or should be resolved without a formal decision-making process. If ADR cannot resolve the dispute, it may be brought forward to AER hearing commissioners in a hearing.
Benefits of ADR
Why would someone choose to pursue ADR? Because it
- helps all parties understand the issue;
- identifies common interests;
- enables parties to improve relationships;
- allows parties to take an active role in resolving the dispute; and
- helps manage time and resources efficiently.
Things to Consider
Before pursuing ADR, please be aware that
- the request for ADR should follow an attempt at direct resolution between parties, which for company-to-company disputes should include a preliminary meeting;
- participation in the ADR process is voluntary, unless directed otherwise;
- parties must agree to an open-minded, respectful, and honest discussion to reach a mutually acceptable solution;
- discussions are confidential and conducted without prejudice;
- the ADR process will not delay the application process; and
- the ADR process will not prevent access to an AER hearing or diminish the rights of the parties.
- Review our ADR annual summaries to find out how the program has worked for other groups.
- Read our EnerFAQs:
Contact Our ADR Team
Anyone involved in an energy dispute can contact our ADR team at any time. ADR team members are located in field centres across Alberta. Locate your nearest field centre on our ADR map, email ADR@aer.ca, or call 1-855-297-8311 (toll free).