Mandate

Municipal Dispute Resolution Services (MDRS) offers the Let's Resolve program. It provides mediation, dispute resolution support and training to municipalities looking to improve how they deal with conflict.

Mission: Promote public confidence in local government by providing effective and innovative leadership and support to municipal organizations by encouraging intermunicipal cooperation and self directed dispute resolution through mediation and/or related dispute resolution activities.

Vision: All municipalities in Alberta have access to and are able to use dispute resolution services that allow them to effectively and efficiently develop local solutions to local issues.

Values:

  • Client service and confidentiality is a priority.
  • We acknowledge the importance of goodwill among the team members, clients and stakeholders.
  • We will inform all affected team members, stakeholders, contractors and clients of shared interests.
  • We will build trust by living up to commitments and avoiding surprises that may compromise the team members, stakeholders and clients.
  • We will involve all legitimate stakeholders to the fullest extent possible

Advisory Committee

Municipal Dispute Resolution Services is guided by input from the Advisory Committee, a body comprised of representatives from municipal and legal associations in Alberta, and the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society.

Advisory Committee Terms of Reference (PDF, 101 KB)

Initiatives and services

Workshops
Training offered to municipal staff and elected officials to enhance skills in negotiation, public input, and workplace conflict management.

Collaborative Governance Initiative
This program helps to increase the capacity of municipalities to deal with conflicts internally or develop protocols for working collaboratively with their neighbours.

Intermunicipal Dispute Resolution Initiative
Encourages municipalities experiencing conflict with their neighbours are encouraged to use mediation or other dispute resolution alternatives.

Peer Network

Connects local elected officials and administrators with the expertise of senior local government leaders through a phone call. Municipal Dispute Resolution Services is a proud sponsor of the Peer Network.

Let's Resolve

Municipal Dispute Resolution Services offers, Let’s Resolve, an innovative and multi-faceted program. It encourages collaborative governance and dispute resolution alternatives, provides mediation and dispute resolution support, and offers training to municipal leaders who want to improve their conflict management skills.

Local solutions to local issues is the focus of the program. Access to this program for all municipalities is encouraged and supported through mediation services, collaborative governance system design, training programs, peer mentorship, and partnerships with municipalities and local government associations.

History

In 1994, changes to the Municipal Government Act (MGA) gave municipal councils natural person powers and the authority “to govern municipalities in whatever way the Councils consider appropriate” (sec. 9). Subsqeuently amended in 1995 and 1999 to include dispute resolution processes, requiring municipalities to attempt mediation before allowing them to appeal to the Municipal Government Board for a binding decision.

To ensure Alberta municipalities had resources to adapt to these changes, Alberta Municipal Affairs requested the assistance of Rural Municipalities of Alberta (formerly Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties) and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association to develop guidelines for an initiative to promote the use of alternative dispute resolution methods, and mediation in particular, at the local government level. In 1998, the input of these stakeholders and the support of the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society led to the creation of the Intermunicipal Dispute Resolution Initiative.

The Let’s Resolve program, as it came to be known, expanded to include other services. One includes Collaborative Governance Initiative which helps municipalities design effective conflict resolution systems for diverse areas of work within and between municipalities. The program also includes a comprehensive series of workshops that focus on different aspects of conflict resolution, such as negotiation, public input, and workplace conflict management, to assist municipal leaders in their work. Lastly, partnerships with provincial municipal associations and other stakeholders have been forged, leading to the creation of the Peer Network and an Advisory Committee.

Innovation and excellence

The Let’s Resolve program is a first of its kind in Canada and an innovative municipal dispute resolution service model in North America. It has been recognized with three Premier’s Awards of Excellence, including bronze awards in 2000 and 2002, and a silver award in 2008 for the creation of the Public Input Toolkit. In 2008, the program received a Canada Award of Excellence, silver, from the National Quality Institute, and Bill Diepeveen, the Manager of Municipal Dispute Resolution Services, was also awarded the national Lionel J. McGowan Award of Excellence in Dispute Resolution from the ADR Institute of Canada.

Let’s Resolve continues to grow in importance as municipalities across Alberta are changing their business to accommodate more collaborative processes and service delivery synergies with their municipal neighbours.

MDRS 2005 Report - Five Years of Resolving Disputes Together

MDRS 2008 Report - Let's Resolve: Celebrating 10 Years of Dispute Resolution

Contact

To connect with 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

Address:

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