Overview

The Intermunicipal Relations team at Municipal Affairs provides mediation, dispute resolution support and training to municipalities wanting to improve how they deal with conflict and interact with other municipalities.

All municipalities in Alberta have access to and are able to use dispute resolution services to develop local solutions to local issues.

The goal is to help promote public confidence in local government. This is done by encouraging intermunicipal cooperation and self-directed dispute resolution through mediation or related dispute resolution activities.

Programs under Municipal Dispute Resolution Services are guided by an advisory committee.

Read more about the advisory committee

Municipal Dispute Resolution Services

Municipal Dispute Resolution Services (formerly Let's Resolve) is an innovative and multi-faceted program that:

  • encourages collaborative governance and dispute resolution alternatives
  • provides mediation and dispute resolution support
  • offers training to municipal leaders who want to improve their conflict management skills

Local solutions to local issues is the focus of the program. All municipalities are supported through:

  • mediation services
  • collaborative governance system design
  • training programs
  • peer mentorship
  • partnerships with municipalities and local government associations

Contact the Intermunicipal Relations Team for more information.

Municipal Dispute Resolution Services background

In 1994, changes to the Municipal Government Act gave municipal councils the authority “to govern municipalities in whatever way the Councils consider appropriate” (sec. 9). The Act was amended in 1995 and 1999 to include dispute resolution processes that requires 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 to provide intermunicipal dispute resolution services through mediation and collaboration.

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.

Partnerships with provincial municipal associations and other stakeholders have been forged, leading to the creation of the Peer Network and an advisory committee.

Award-winning excellence

This program has been recognized with 3 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 former 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.

This dispute resolution program continues to grow in importance as municipalities across Alberta are changing their business to accommodate more collaborative processes and service delivery models with their municipal neighbours.

Other services

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

The Intermunicipal Dispute Resolution Initiative encourages municipalities experiencing conflict with their neighbours to use mediation or other dispute resolution alternatives.

Peer Network

The Peer Network connects local elected officials and administrators with the expertise of senior local government leaders through a phone call.

Advisory committee

The Municipal Dispute Resolution Services Advisory Committee will:

  • provide input into the design of new and existing services
  • assist in the development of benchmarks and evaluation criteria
  • assist in developing and designing promotional materials
  • oversee the Roster of Mediators, including developing criteria for inclusion on the roster and evaluating applications

Members

Committee members are representatives from:

  • Ministry of Municipal Affairs (chair)
  • Alberta Urban Municipalities Association
  • Rural Municipalities of Alberta
  • Local Government Administrators Association
  • Alberta Rural Municipalities Administrators Association
  • Society of Local Government Managers
  • Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society
  • Canadian Bar Association Alberta – Municipal law subsection

Meetings

The committee meets on an as needed basis – normally 3 times a year.

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)
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
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

Intermunicipal Relations Team members

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