The Collaborative Governance Initiative (CGI) is a proactive approach to improve municipal business and intermunicipal relations. The program gives municipal leaders an opportunity to look internally at their organizations or intermunicipally with their neighbours to find creative, locally-relevant ways to improve communication, better engage with internal and external stakeholders, and build better relationships.

The CGI has 2 phases:

  1. Assessment phase: collaborative principles, processes, and protocols are created by consensus.
  2. Implementation phase: municipal organizations implement the principles, processes, and protocols which arose from the assessment phase.


Through the CGI, the Municipal Dispute Resolution Services (MDRS) team can help municipalities assess whether collaborative governance is an appropriate fit and help convene the process and ensure all the prerequisites are in place.

Where appropriate, municipalities can apply for an Alberta Community Partnership – Mediation and Cooperative Processes cost-sharing grant to cover part of the consultant’s costs. The matching grant funding for the assessment phase is available for up to $50,000 for a $100,000 project, and up to $30,000 matching for the implementation phase. MDRS staff will assist municipalities in completing the necessary forms to access grant money.

Municipalities contract directly with consultants for their services. MDRS can provide a list of consultants with municipal and/or CGI experience.

Protocols, agreements and successes

Municipalities across Alberta have developed collaboration protocols and agreements to guide their business activities in ways that limit opportunities for conflict escalation. A few examples are showcased below:

Municipalities big and small have had great success with the Collaborative Governance Initiative. A few sample collaboration protocols and agreements are listed below:

Strathcona Country and City of Fort Saskatchewan

Town of Cochrane and Rocky View County

MD of Foothills and Town of Okotoks

Town of Peace River and MD of Peace No. 135

Northern Sunrise County and Town of Peace River

Municipalities have also realized the benefits of cooperation, as told by these stories:

Town of Canmore

Sturgeon County, City of Edmonton, City of St. Albert and Town of Morinville

Town of Okotoks

CGI video testimonials

Municipal leaders from across Alberta have sat down with us to discuss their experiences with collaborative governance.

View the Youtube playlist.


For more information on the CGI, download the printable brochure The Smarter Way to Build Win-Win Solutions in Municipal Government (PDF, 139 KB)

It's All About the Process (2006, 24 minutes) provides an inside look at how a controversy laden public meeting can be reframed into a productive encounter.  Building on a municipal council’s desire to construct a new municipal building, it shows how a neutral facilitator, using interest-based techniques, can guide and focus the discussion, reducing the animosity and gain public acceptance for a decision making process.

Download RealPlayer.

More video resources are available from the  University of North Carolina School of Government. The School’s YouTube channel features three videos on the topic of collaboration and strategic partnerships, originally created for Rick Morse’s workshop for elected officials, Saving Money by Doing Business Together.

Want to create more collaborative processes for intermunicipal planning? Download the report: A Process for Resolving Intermunicipal Issues (PDF, 582 KB)


Contact a member of our team if you have any questions about our programs and services:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Fax: 780-420-1016
Email: mdrs@gov.ab.ca

Intermunicipal Relations Team
Alberta Municipal Affairs
17th Floor, Commerce Place
10155-102 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta   T5J 4L4

The Intermunicipal Relations Team

Michael Scheidl
Manager, Intermunicipal Relations
Phone: 780-415-1197
Email: michael.scheidl@gov.ab.ca

Lisa Awid-Goltz
Senior Intermunicipal Relations Specialist
Phone: 780-427-0519
Email: lisa.awid-goltz@gov.ab.ca

Sara Ahlstrom
Senior Intermunicipal Relations Specialist
Phone: 780-644-3126
Email: sara.ahlstrom@gov.ab.ca

Jennifer Paton
Intermunicipal Relations Advisor
Phone: 780-638-9411
Email: jennifer.paton@gov.ab.ca

Bright Asibev
Intermunicipal Relations Advisor
Phone: 780-644-3124
Email: bright.asibey@gov.ab.ca