Grievance mediation is an informal, voluntary process to help deal with grievances that arise between a union and employer which may otherwise proceed to grievance arbitration. A neutral mediator helps the parties find a solution that resolves the issue faster and with less cost.
Mediation is different from arbitration because a mediator does not decide a dispute. An arbitrator functions more like a judge, deciding the outcome of a dispute based on evidence and law.
The Grievance Mediation Program provides a list of independent grievance mediators who have the skills and knowledge to help the parties through the mediation process.
Mediation is a proven method of problem solving with a very high success rate. Grievance mediation is early intervention that is cost effective, timely and informal. The parties are always in control of the outcome.
Grievance mediation is voluntary and both parties share the costs of mediation. Even when both parties agree to mediation, sometimes it can be challenging to find and agree upon a grievance mediator. If the parties cannot agree on a mediator, the Government of Alberta's Mediation Services can provide assistance.
The Grievance Mediation Program only administers the list of approved mediators and does not make appointments. When requested, Mediation Services can answer questions and help with contacts.
How mediation works
Once the grievance mediator is selected by the parties, they discuss arrangements and schedule a date for grievance mediation. In most cases, the grievance mediation could take less than a day.
The mediator works with representatives of the union and employer and the grievor to create a safe problem-solving environment. The mediator is responsible for creating the conditions in which different interests and concerns can be raised, constructive ideas generated and positive solutions found. This helps to preserve and improve the relationship and reach a collaborative solution.
The mediation deals with the issue away from the adversarial atmosphere of negotiations and outside a legal framework. All parties are encouraged to speak freely to reach a compromise.
At the end of mediation, if a settlement has been reached, the parties agree the mediated settlement is binding. Enforcing the settlement is the responsibility of the parties.
Grievance mediation is far more cost effective than the lengthy process of proceeding to grievance arbitration. Both parties share the costs of mediation and should be aware of the fees before they engage the mediator and that each mediator may have different fees.
The Alberta government does not regulate the fees charged nor does it resolve disputes over fees.
Grievance Mediation Roster
The following list provides contact information and biographies of individuals who are experienced in labour relations and have expressed an interest in acting as Grievance Mediators. The list is provided for your convenience and is not part of any formal selection process.
James T. Casey – Arbitrator, Grievance Mediator
Mr. Casey is a partner at Field Law’s Edmonton office. He acts as a labour arbitrator and as legal counsel to professional regulatory organizations. Mr. Casey began his career working in labour relations and then went to the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law with the goal of becoming a labour lawyer. After graduating, he joined Field Law and acted in a multi-faceted role as legal counsel to employers, unions, and employees. Mr. Casey also served as the leader of the Firm’s Edmonton Labour and Employment Group. His career transitioned to focusing on a neutral, adjudicative role.
Mr. Casey served as a part-time Vice-Chair of the Alberta Labour Relations Board for 14 years adjudicating disputes under the Labour Relations Code and the Public Service Employee Relations Act. He also developed a very active practice serving as a labour arbitrator which is now the focus of his labour law career.
Mr. Casey is a sought-after speaker and author on labour and employment law topics and taught labour law at the University of Alberta as a sessional lecturer. He is the author of many labour and employment publications and is the editor of Remedies in Labour, Employment, and Human Rights which has been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada. He also acts as legal counsel to many professional regulatory organizations.
Mr. Casey founded the Firm’s Professional Regulatory Group and is the author of one of the leading texts in the area, The Regulation of Professions in Canada, which has been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada and many other Courts.
Paulette DeKelver – Mediator, Grievance Mediator
Paulette has been dealing with people in conflict for 20 years as a lawyer. Mediation and conflict resolution are extensions of this practice.
Prior to her role as a mediator, Paulette’s successful legal career was in civil litigation, where she gained expertise in medical malpractice, disability and personal injury, before turning her focus to labour and employment matters that included collective bargaining and labour relations, compensation and benefits, discipline and dismissal, disability, human rights and privacy issues.
Paulette has appeared before administrative tribunals in Alberta and the NWT, has extensive experience before arbitration panels, has been counsel at all 3 levels of court in Alberta and gained extensive trial experience before the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta.
As a mediator, Paulette serves employees, unions and management-side representatives to address and mediate a wide range of workplace conflicts, including collective bargaining. Other mediated issues include harassment, return to work, corporate restructuring and diversity, along with issues tied to complex medical and parental leave.
In addition to her mediation practice, Paulette teaches Labour Relations and Negotiations at NAIT, as well as courses in mediation, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and conflict resolution.
Paulette is a member of the Law Society of Alberta and Law Society of the Northwest Territories. She is an active leader and volunteer, with recent projects that include Conflict Resolution Day, the Canadian Bar Association ADR (North) Section and the Alberta Collaborative Resolution Association (founding member).
Paulette is a regular coach and mentor in programs with the University of Alberta, Law Society of Alberta, ADR Learning Institute and Canadian Bar Association.
Paulette is a frequent speaker and podcast guest to various audiences, such as the Lancaster House Labour Arbitration and Policy Conference, Canadian Bar Association, Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association, Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education, Legal Education Society of Alberta and Access2Justice Podcast.
Len M. Dolgoy – Arbitrator, Grievance Mediator
Witten LLP, Barristers and Solicitors
Mr. Dolgoy was admitted to the bar in British Columbia and Alberta in 1975 after earning his B.A. (1969) at Simon Fraser University and his LL.B. (1973) at the University of British Columbia. A senior lawyer, he focuses on estate planning, arbitration (as an independent chair), administrative law, regulation of professionals and has an extensive general legal background.
Mr. Dolgoy has sat on numerous community organization boards.
Michael Dyer – Mediator, Grievance Mediator
An experienced employment and labour relations expert, Mr. Dyer’s work history spans both the private and public sectors for nearly 40 years in local, national and international organizations. He has been employed as an employment law specialist, negotiator, labour relations specialist and senior executive. His university education includes the University of Calgary, University of Alberta and University of British Columbia (Economics).
He was a board member of the Alberta Labour Relations Board (12 years), a member and past chair of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce Human Resources Committee (10 years), a member of the Conference Board of Canada Council of Human Resources Executives (9 years), board member and past President of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association, Southern Alberta Chapter (5 years) and the past President and board member of the Alberta Congress Board (6 years).
He has served and been a board member of a number of not-for-profit organizations such as the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter Foundation, Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, Discovery House, Children’s Cottage, Children’s Legal Education Resource Centre, Westwood Community Association and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary.
He has also been a member of the editorial board of a workplace issues magazine, a pension committee member for an employer and he has served as a trustee on a union Supplementary Health and Welfare Trust Fund. He takes pride in health and safety, training and development and workplace awards that were given to his organizations through his leadership.
He has delivered presentations on topics such as: Recruiting and Retaining the Best, Good Employees and Nasty Bosses, State of Labour Relations in the Public Sector, Challenges in Designing Pension and Benefit Plans, Creating Human Resource Best Practices and taught a post-secondary level labour relations course.
Greg Francis – Arbitrator, Grievance Mediator
Greg Francis Dispute Resolution Services
Mr. Francis was called to the Northwest Territories and Alberta bars in 1991. During his career as a lawyer, Mr. Francis worked as a Crown Prosecutor, a defence lawyer, and a Justice of the Peace in the Provincial Court of Alberta. His labour and employment law experience includes work for both a trade union and a large public sector employer, as well as serving as Equity Ombudsperson for the Law Society of Alberta.
Mr. Francis was also an arbitrator of collective agreement disputes in Alberta from 2004 to 2012. After serving as General Counsel and Superintendent of Human Resources for the Calgary Board of Education from 2012 to 2018, Mr. Francis returned to providing arbitration services. He is a co-instructor of Labour Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Calgary.
Having represented and worked directly for both management and a trade Union, Mr. Francis understands the needs and interests that drive disputes in a unionized workplace. In addition to serving as an arbitrator, Mr. Francis provides grievance mediation and case management services to parties seeking assistance with grievance resolution in advance of arbitration.
Mr. Francis is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop and the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2016.
Roger Gunn – Arbitrator, Grievance Mediator
Win Win HR Solutions Inc.
Mr. Gunn is an experienced arbitrator, mediator and facilitator. He was a member of the Alberta Labour Relations Board from 2001 to 2013. Mr. Gunn is on the roster of many organizations as a mediator, facilitator or arbitrator. This includes the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the Sports Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada, and the Alberta New Home Warranty Program. He has acted as an umpire for classification disputes between the City of Edmonton and the CSU #52. Mr. Gunn has over 30 years of labour relations experience in both the public and private sectors.
He is a graduate of the University of Toronto (MBA) and the University of Ottawa (B.Comm; B.Adm.). Mr. Gunn teaches labour relations and human resources management at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s JR Shaw School of Business. He is also the president of the firm Win Win HR Solutions Inc.
Alan Konkin – Mediator, Grievance Mediator
Konkin and Associates Inc.
Mr. Konkin’s business career has provided him with experience in all facets of Human Resources and Negotiations, Arbitrations, Mediations, Strategic Planning, Administration, Public Relations, Finance, Budgeting, and Investing. He set up his consulting company, Konkin and Associates Inc. to specialize in providing solutions for Labor Relations and Human Resources issues.
Mr. Konkin has extensive experience in the prevention and resolution of labour disputes and has been the lead negotiator at a number of bargaining tables. His participation also includes grievance mediation, harassment investigation, and a broad range of experience as a mediator, negotiator and as a labour relations practitioner in a number of industries.
Mr. Konkin has served on numerous pension plan and health and wellness boards as a Member or Director, as a Trustee on Joint Labor Management Health and Wellness and Pension plans, and as a Trustee on a Union Pension and Health and Wellness plan. Mr. Konkin was also a Board member of the Alberta Arbitration Mediation Society (2001 to 2003) and served as a Board Member on the Alberta Labour Relations Board (2011 to 2015) resolving conflict situations and administering and interpreting labour relations legislation.
M.D. McFetridge – Arbitrator, Grievance Mediator
William D. McFetridge Professional Corporation
Mr. McFetridge has practiced law in Alberta for over 30 years specializing in labour and employment law. He is a Chartered Arbitrator and since 1983 has chaired arbitration boards dealing with grievances and collective bargaining disputes in the public and private sectors. He is currently included on the agreed arbitrator roster in a number of collective bargaining agreements.
In 2010, he was appointed to the Alberta Human Rights Commission and continues to serve as a part-time Tribunal chair. In 2012, he was appointed to hear human rights complaints by the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.
He also adjudicates unjust dismissal complaints under Part 3 of the Canada Labour Code. Since 2008, he has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the publication The Best Lawyers in Canada in the speciality of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
He has been a guest lecturer/arbitrator in both the Faculties of Law and Business at the University of Calgary, and for a number of years, was a team leader in the Trial Advocacy Program in the Faculty of Law. He taught in the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society arbitrator training program and is a frequent speaker on employment law, labour and human rights issues.
He is active in the community and served as Chairman of the Alberta NWT Nunavut Division of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and was a Board member for over 30 years. He volunteers at the Cochrane and Area Humane Society, runs regularly and is a former marathoner.
Anton M. Melnyk – Arbitrator, Grievance Mediator
- B.A. University of Alberta (1961)
- LL.B. University of Alberta – Silver Medalist (1962)
- LL.M. Harvard Law School (1963)
- Appointed Queen's Counsel (1981)
- Accredited as Chartered Arbitrator (1990)
- Member Alberta Bar (1966 to current)
- Principal of Melnyk Law, Barrister and Solicitor.
- Over 40 years practice in a wide range of law, including commercial, corporate, tax, labour, and administrative law.
- Appeared before the Alberta Trial and Appeal Courts, Tax Court and Federal Court of Canada.
- Acted as Counsel to the Classification Appeal Board, Public Service Appeal Board, Occupational Health & Safety Council, the Alberta Labour Relations Board and Environmental Council of Alberta.
- Acted as Vice-Chairperson of the Alberta Board of Industrial Relations.
- Acted as Chairperson in numerous labour, commercial, landlord-tenant, franchise, agricultural, automobile and electrical industry arbitrations.
- Taught labour law, arbitration law, and tax law in the Law and Business Administration Faculties of the University of Alberta.
Mia Norrie – Mediator, Arbitrator, Grievance Mediator
Norrie & Co. Professional Services Inc.
Ms. Norrie is a human resources and labour relations consultant with over 20 years experience based in Edmonton, Alberta. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and an L.L.B from the University of Alberta. Ms. Norrie has had the unique opportunity to work for both management and unions during her career. She has worked in executive roles as the Senior Director of Corporate Services at ATCO Gas and as the Executive Director, Human Resources Division at the Edmonton Police Service. Ms. Norrie was also a Business Agent and General Counsel for a large public sector union.
Since 1997, Ms. Norrie has had her own consultancy, Norrie & Co., which has provided her the opportunity to expand her work as a consultant in the area of labour relations, mediation, investigations and training.
Klaus Opatril – Mediator, Grievance Mediator
K.G. Opatril Mediation Services
Mr. Opatril has over 30 years of labour relations experience and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Calgary and a Master of Education from the University of Oregon. His career has included employment as the Coordinator of Teacher Welfare for the Alberta Teachers’ Association. His responsibilities included the negotiation and administration of collective agreements for teachers in Alberta public, separate and charter schools.
He has designed and presented workshops and talks on distributive and integrative bargaining, the grievance process and other labour relations topics.
Mr. Opatril served as a Board Member of the Alberta Labour Relations Board from 2002 to 2005. He is currently an independent mediator operating the company KG Opatril Mediation Services and specializes in collective bargaining mediation and grievance mediation.
Kathryn Oviatt – Arbitrator, Grievance Mediator
Ms. Oviatt is an arbitrator and administrative law lawyer. She worked as legal counsel to the Court of Queen’s Bench and at a large law firm in labour law, privacy and professional regulation before joining Oviatt Law in 2014.
Ms. Oviatt focuses her practice on labour arbitration and quasi-judicial decision-making. She holds the designation of Qualified Arbitrator from the ADR Institute of Canada. She chairs private arbitrations in Alberta. She is appointed to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services arbitrator lists as a grievance arbitrator under Part 1 of the Canada Labour Code; as an unjust dismissal adjudicator and wage recovery referee under Part 3 of the Canada Labour Code; and as an adjudicator under the Wage Earner Protection Program Act.
In 2015, Ms. Oviatt was first appointed as a tribunal member for the Alberta Human Rights Commission and continues to chair human rights hearings and tribunal dispute resolution mediations. She is also a member of the Real Estate Council of Alberta hearing panel and was a tribunal member for the Subdivision Development Appeal Board for the City of Edmonton.
An advocate for lifelong learning and tribunal training, Ms. Oviatt is on the board of directors for the Foundation of Administrative Justice.
Cheryl Yingst Bartel – Mediator, Arbitrator, Grievance Mediator
Yingst Bartel ADR Inc.
Ms. Yingst Bartel practices as both an arbitrator and mediator. She holds a B.A. (1987), an L.L.B. (1990), and an L.L.M. (2018) in Labour Relations and Employment Law. She is also named to the Grievance Arbitration Roster (Alberta), the Grievance Arbitrator and Employment Adjudicator Roster (Canada Labour Code), the ALRB Umpire Registry for Essential Services and is a named Umpire to the AUPE/GoA (General Services) Essential Services Agreement (Court services).
A former litigator for a national law firm, she has mediated more than 180 public and private sector disputes in a wide variety of industries since being appointed to this Roster in 2010, including 4 strike or lockout situations. Ms. Yingst Bartel also acts as a Senior Conciliator for whistleblowing reprisal allegations throughout Western Canada for the Government of Canada (Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner). She also receives appointments as investigator for complaints of sexual assault and harassment brought by students in the post-secondary setting.
Ms. Yingst Bartel served as chair of the Labour Relations Working Group for the Bill 6 consultations, building consensus amongst a diverse group of stakeholders.
She is a frequent conference speaker and workshop leader.
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