A Member of the Commission leads the Tribunal Dispute Resolution (TDR), which takes place over videoconference (Zoom). They take place on weekdays, usually starting at 9:00 a.m. You should plan to be at the TDR for the whole day. As TDRs are confidential meetings, they are not recorded and are not open to the public to attend.
About Tribunal Dispute Resolution
Preparing for Tribunal Dispute Resolution
The Tribunal Office will email the parties the date and time of the TDR. Contact the Tribunal Office within five days of getting the email if you:
- need to change the date of the TDR
- need accommodation for the TDR, such as an interpreter
- decide not to participate in the TDR
Once the parties confirm their attendance, the Tribunal Office will set deadlines for providing documents.
At least one week (seven days) before the scheduled TDR:
- You must email the other parties and the Tribunal Office a copy of any documents you plan to use during the TDR. These other documents cannot be more than five pages in total. Remember, the Member has access to all documents the Director reviewed, so do not send in any of the following:
- the complaint, the response, and any other documents the parties submitted
- the Director’s decision
- the Chief of the Commission and Tribunal’s decision on a request for review (if one was made)
- The Tribunal Office will send you the Mediation Agreement, which is like a confidentiality agreement. Sign and send a copy of the Mediation Agreement to the Tribunal Office.
- If you are the complainant, you must send a remedy statement to the Tribunal Office and to the other parties, including the Director (if they are involved). This is a one-page statement setting out the remedy (resolution) you are asking for to resolve the complaint. If you are asking for money, you must break down the amount into general damages, lost wages, and other losses.
- The Tribunal Office will email you a Zoom link and general instructions for joining the TDR. Do not share this information with anyone else, unless the Tribunal Office gives you written approval to do so.
During the TDR
Below is the process for TDRs, though the Member leading the TDR may change it as they see fit.
The parties and the Member join the Zoom meeting. The Member introduces everyone and goes over what will happen during the meeting.
- Settlement discussions
The Member may ask to talk to the complainant and respondent separately. They will discuss settlement offers with the parties. These offers will be shared with the other party and may be discussed separately or together.
You have time to think about the other party’s offer. You may accept the offer, come back with a counteroffer, or reject the offer. You may ask to be put in a separate room to discuss your information with the Member. They will assist you in coming to an agreement. The Member may tell you the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Doing so may help you to settle the complaint with a better result than at a tribunal hearing.
The TDR can end with several outcomes:
- The parties sign a settlement agreement.
- The parties come to a verbal settlement agreement.
- The parties do not come to a settlement agreement, but want more time to think about the offers before deciding on next steps.
- The parties do not come to a settlement agreement, and the complaint goes to a tribunal hearing.
If you and the other parties come to an agreement during the TDR, you will work together afterwards to draft and sign a settlement agreement. Once everyone signs the agreement and fulfills what they agreed to do, contact the Tribunal Office to close the complaint file.
If you and the other parties do not come to an agreement during the TDR, the complaint goes to a tribunal hearing. The Member who led the TDR will not be part of the tribunal hearing. The Tribunal Office will contact you about the next steps.
Remember, TDR is a confidential process. This means you cannot use documents or statements made by either party during a TDR in another legal forum (such as at a tribunal hearing or in court) unless all parties and the Tribunal agree.
Yes. Only a complainant or their legal counsel or authorized representative may withdraw (cancel) a complaint at any time.
If the complaint is at the Tribunal, the complainant must complete a Notice of Withdrawal form and send it to the Tribunal Office.
The Commission does not require the complainant or respondent to be represented by a lawyer throughout the process. However, you may need or want someone to represent you during the process.
- you can have a relative, friend, or advisor help you
- if you are a minor under 18, a parent or legal guardian will represent you
- a person who lacks legal capacity to participate in the complaint process can have a representative
If you have someone other than a lawyer representing you, you must fill out an additional form.
You may also choose a lawyer to help you through the process. If you do get legal help, you pay the costs of the lawyer yourself. For more information on where to get legal help, refer to the Other helpful agencies page.
For the Tribunal process, read the Litigation Representative practice direction for more information.
What cultural or spiritual practices may Indigenous people use during the complaint and Tribunal process?
The Alberta Human Rights Commission is committed to ensuring Indigenous Peoples have access to culturally appropriate services that consider the uniqueness of Indigenous culture and heritage. Indigenous people may use a variety of cultural or spiritual practices, including:
- having an Elder or other culturally relevant person attend a conciliation, tribunal dispute resolution (TDR), or tribunal hearing
- affirming, swearing in, or giving evidence using an eagle feather or other sacred object
At the earliest opportunity, interested parties should inform the Commission of their request. If you are involved in the Tribunal process, read the Indigenous cultural/spiritual practices at Tribunal proceedings practice direction for more information.
Participation in TDR is voluntary, so a party can decide not to participate. However, there is a huge benefit to participating.
TDR is faster than a tribunal hearing and can save parties costs and legal fees. TDR takes place early in the Tribunal process. If the parties come to an agreement, they do not go to a tribunal hearing. A tribunal hearing can take many months to prepare for and the decision may not come out for some time after the hearing.
Another benefit of TDR is that the parties have the power to come to a decision together. TDR allows the complainant and respondent to agree on the settlement, while a tribunal hearing places the decision-making power with the Tribunal only.
All the parties must attend a TDR. If a party is an individual, they must have capacity to make a decision. If they are a minor or otherwise lack capacity, their representative must attend. If the party is an organization, the person or persons who attend on behalf of the organization must have authority to make a decision. A representative cannot attend only to take information back to the individual or organization, as this goes against the settlement objective of the TDR.
Sometimes, but not always.
The Director, the complainant, and the respondent are all separate parties in the complaint. If the Director has carriage of the complaint, the Director’s lawyer participates in TDR and tribunal hearings.
The Director’s role is to advocate for the public interest. Their lawyer does not represent the complainant or the respondent. The Director’s lawyer only takes instructions from the Director.
In most cases, the interests of the complainant and the interests of the public are very similar. In these cases, the complainant can choose to adopt the position and submissions of the Director’s lawyer, meaning the Director’s and complainant’s submissions are the same.
The complainant may also choose to present their own view of the case. The complainant must prepare their own submissions. The complainant may also wish to hire a lawyer rather than represent themselves.
In some situations, if a party is contravening (not following) the terms of a settlement agreement, the Tribunal may make any order it sees fit to remedy the contravention. The Tribunal can make an order if:
- the parties reach a settlement agreement while at the Tribunal, and
- the non-contravening party applies to the Tribunal within six months of the contravention.
Refer to the Contravention of a settlement agreement practice direction to learn more.
What kinds of accommodation are available during the complaint resolution process and how do I request it?
The Commission is committed to ensuring that complainants, respondents, and all those who take part in our processes are able to fully participate. This webpage outlines some of the services available to the public upon request. Refer to the information below to contact the Commission about requesting an accommodation.
A variety of accommodations may be available to help parties fully participate in our complaint and tribunal processes, including:
- different communication methods, such as email, video, or in-person
- language translation
- American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation
- Video-Relay Service (VRS)
- accessible document formats, such as large format
- a support person
- reasonable adjustments to scheduling, such as additional breaks, different start times, and shorter days
- access to a computer or phone from a Commission office to attend a virtual meeting, such as conciliation, Tribunal Dispute Resolution (TDR), pre-hearing conference, or tribunal hearing)
- recording a tribunal hearing (see the Tribunal’s practice direction on recordings and transcripts of proceedings)
This is not a complete list of all the accommodations available. Parties can work with the Commission to identify and request appropriate accommodations.
The Commission is also committed to ensuring our accommodation process is respectful of the diverse populations we serve. A formal request for accommodation is not always necessary. For instance, a party may inform the Commission of their correct pronoun prior to or at any point during the complaint or tribunal process (see the Tribunal’s practice direction on pronouns and form of address).
Factors impacting an accommodation request
The Commission is only required to provide accommodations for needs (not preferences) to the point of “undue hardship.” This means that if a requested accommodation impacts the timeliness of the complaint process or the right to a fair hearing, it may not be possible to provide. Instead, the Commission will work with the party to determine an appropriate accommodation that is less disruptive to the fairness of our processes, while still accommodating individual needs to the best of our ability.
The Commission may ask for information regarding an accommodation request, such as medical records, to:
- determine if the requested accommodation is linked to a protected ground in the Alberta Human Rights Act, and
- better understand an individual’s needs so we can determine how to make our processes more accessible.
How to request an accommodation
The party requesting an accommodation should contact the Commission and provide details of what they need. In some cases, the Commission may ask for more information, including relevant medical records. The party requesting the accommodation does not need to send their accommodation request to the other parties, unless the Commission thinks the accommodation could impact the rights of the other parties.
If you are involved in the Tribunal process, read the Accommodations practice direction for more information, including how to request accommodation.