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Governance &
Structure Division

Dispute Resolution


Division 3 of Part 9 of the Community Charter provides a process to help resolve disputes between:
  • municipalities and other local governments;
  • municipalities and the provincial government; and
  • municipalities and provincial crown corporations.

What to consider

The Community Charter provides for dispute resolution officers, designated by the Minister of Community Services, to help local governments address disputes. The dispute resolution officer:
  • must review the matter under dispute;
  • may attempt to help the parties to resolve the dispute by any process the officer considers appropriate, including by using or referring the matter to mediation or another non-binding resolution process; and
  • may assist the parties in determining how costs of the process are to be apportioned.

This process helps parties to:

  • identify their interests;
  • explore options for resolution;
  • select and implement solutions; and
  • obtain the services of an independent, neutral mediator, if needed.

In addition, under the Community Charter certain disputes between or among local governments, must be settled using one of the binding arbitration methods, if non-binding methods fail to resolve the dispute.

Disputes subject to mandatory binding arbitration include those that relate to:

  • an inter-municipal boundary highway;
  • an inter-municipal transecting highway;
  • an inter-municipal bridge;
  • an inter-municipal watercourse; and
  • a matter prescribed in an order by Cabinet.

How to Proceed

Any party to an inter-governmental dispute may apply for process assistance to the dispute resolution officer. The officer may then help the parties resolve the matter by any process the officer considers appropriate, including by referring the matter to mediation and other non-binding resolution processes. For those disputes not subject to mandatory arbitration, if the parties agree, the officer must direct the dispute to binding arbitration through a process of final proposal arbitration, or full arbitration.

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