Who can participate in mediation?

Any person who files a Notice of Appeal with the Board, as well as the Director of Environment and Parks, 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. Lunch is also provided.

Where will the mediation take place?

The Board determines where a mediation takes place based on factors such as where the Appellant lives or where the project under appeal is located. If it is convenient for the participants to meet in Edmonton, mediations take place at the Board's office. The Board tries to accommodate the participants as much as possible in allocating a mediation meeting location. If mediations do not take place in the Board's office, the Board chooses another neutral venue.

Who can I bring to the mediation?

In its correspondence to the participants, 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, lawyers are welcome to attend. 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 work, can I still attend a hearing?

If you attend mediation where a resolution could not be reached, you have the ability to request that the Board proceed to a preliminary 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 Sustainable Resource Development (if necessary).

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 Parks 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 signs off.