Who can participate in mediation?
Any person who files a Notice of Appeal with the Board, as well as the Director of Environment and Protected Areas, the operator and landowner (if applicable) with their representation.
Board mediations are private and confidential, and therefore are not open to the public for viewing.
If participants are scheduled for mediation, and decide not to attend, they are advised that the Board has the authority to proceed with the mediation meeting and reach a resolution of the appeal without further notice to them.
What is the mediator's role?
Mediators are Board Members who serve as a neutral third party who will assist the participants in establishing groundrules, managing the mediation meeting and help to establish an environment where frank, honest and constructive discussion can take place between the participants.
The mediator's role is not to serve as a judge or decision-maker. The mediator will not offer advice, or issue a decision to the participants if a resolution is not reached.
What is the difference between mediation and a preliminary hearing or hearing?
Mediations are informal, flexible discussions between participants with a neutral third party mediator as the facilitator. Mediations are strictly confidential and are not open to the public. The objective of mediation is for the participants to come up with a solution that meets their needs. Board hearings and preliminary motions hearings are more formal proceedings that are open for public viewing. Participants attending preliminary hearings and hearings before the Board usually take longer to prepare their arguments and find them more complex in nature. This preparation usually means there is more of a cost to the participants.
How long will mediation last?
Mediation times vary in every situation depending on the complexity of material to the number of people attending the mediation. On average, a mediation is scheduled for a full day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with breaks.
Where will the mediation take place?
The Board determines if the mediation will be held virtually or in-person. If an in-person meeting is held, the Board considers where the participants live, where the project under appeal is located, and if the Board's facilities in Edmonton are available. The Board considers the participants' requests, and will decide if the mediation will be virtual, or if in-person, the location of the mediation.
Who can I bring to the mediation?
The Board will request that no more than two representatives, plus one legal counsel (if you are represented) attend the mediation. At least one of the participants will need to be fully authorized to represent, negotiate and have full authority to make decisions, and bind the participant in any resolution that may be reached at the mediation meeting.
Do I need a lawyer for mediation?
No, you do not need a lawyer to attend, however, it is your choice to bring your lawyer. Due to the informal nature and philosophy of mediation, participants are encouraged to speak on behalf of themselves, and use their legal counsel for consultation purposes.
If mediation does not resolve the appeal, will the appeal proceed to a hearing?
If you attend mediation where a resolution could not be reached, the appeal will proceed either to a preliminary motions hearing or hearing. The Board will then determine if it is able to hear the appeal based on jurisdictional issues such as if you have filed an appeal on time, if you are directly affected, or if a Statement of Concern was filed with Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (if necessary).
Prelminary motions are normally decided by the Board based on written submissions. With respect to hearings, the Board will decide if the hearing will be held virtually or in-person.
What happens if a resolution is reached?
After the participants reach a resolution, the Board will either close the file or prepare a Report and Recommendations. The Board will close its file if the participants come to a resolution in which conditions of the resolution are non-regulatory in nature and the appeal
is withdrawn. If regulatory changes are made in the resolution, then a Report and Recommendations will be prepared and forwarded to the Minister of Environment and Protected Areas to be dealt with in accordance with the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. Participants will receive a copy of the Report and Recommendations and the Minister's Order once
the Minister mades a decision.