Mediator Dave Evans has reviewed City of Calgary v. Imperial Oil Ltd. regarding the impact of Freedom of Information Protocol (FOIP).
In a recent decision the Alberta Court of Appeal has confirmed that mediation may not be penetrated by FOIP and must remain confidential.
The action was originally initiated by the City of Calgary against the Environmental Appeals Board and Imperial Oil around the petroleum cleanup of Lynwood Ridge some 9 years ago when a mediated settlement was agreed upon for the impacted parts of the Community. At the time, the City declined to attend the mediation by later determined that they wished to see the agreement – via a Queen’s Bench action.
The Queen’s Bench decision confirmed confidentiality and Calgary appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court turned the matter back to the Alberta Court of Appeal where in a recent 28 page decision, confidentiality was upheld.
The learning here is that preparation and execution for confidentiality should be emphasized by the mediator. And it should be fully understood by the parties.
In this era of what I call “enhanced transparency”, I see more attempts by disgruntled parties who turn to FOIP to find out what happened in mediation, or a public release of a settlement.
A good understanding of Privacy Legislation and the FOIP process is needed to preserve professional standing in Dispute Resolution practice.
Dave Evans PhD specializes in strategic planning and risk management applications for construction, energy and mining projects. This includes environmental assessment facilitation and conflict resolution on behalf of Senior Management, Operations Teams, Government, First Nations etc.
Dave, who is currently a Senior Partner with CSC Project Management Services in Calgary, is available for Commercial Conflict Resolutions, Sustainable Development Valuation assessments, and Multi-stakeholder Facilitations for project proponents. http://aaoc.ca/index.php/associate-profiles/david-evans/