The ADR program was developed in response to the desire of AER stakeholders (the public, companies, government agencies, First Nations, Métis, and special interest groups) to be more directly involved and have more control in resolving energy-related disputes. Most typically, ADR is used to resolve public-to-company and company-to-company disputes; it is a company’s responsibility to inform potentially impacted stakeholders of the nature of proposed energy developments as well as any significant changes to existing operations.
Alternative processes might include direct negotiation, AER mediation, or independent third-party mediation. It is important to recognize that not all matters can or should be resolved without a more formal decision-making process like a public hearing.
ADR helps parties come together to resolve issues and disputes between stakeholders. The goal of an AER-facilitated meeting and/or mediation is to help parties explore and understand each other’s interests and, together, develop acceptable solutions. All parties are heard and all points of view considered, facilitating the creation of collaborative, mutually acceptable solutions.
Use and Initiation of ADR Program
The program is intended to help settle stakeholder disputes pertaining to energy matters regulated by the AER. Even though the AER encourages parties to first attempt to cooperatively reach agreement prior to requesting assistance from the AER’s ADR Team, in cases of dispute, use of the ADR program will be considered. ADR can be used prior to making an application to the AER, during the application review process, or for operational disputes. Additional information is available through the ADR Contacts page.
Any stakeholder involved in an energy dispute may contact the AER ADR Team at any time for information and assistance. The AER might also contact parties involved in a dispute and recommend an ADR process. ADR team members are located in field centres across Alberta and have received training in conflict management from various Alberta-based institutes; many team members hold professional designations in mediation. As members of the ADR Institute of Alberta and/or the ADR Institute of Canada, all team members adhere to a strict code of ethics.
The ADR team members will assist in arranging the logistics of a dispute-resolution meeting and preparing the parties for collaborative discussion; their primary interest is to help the affected parties reach a settlement that is acceptable to all. However, mediators are not decision makers, legal advisors, or solution providers.
What principles does the program maintain?