The NWPTA contains a three-step dispute resolution process:

    1. Completion of all other reasonable means to resolve the dispute (e.g. exhaustion of the dispute resolution procedures maintained by a regulatory authority);
    2. Consultations between the disputing parties on the matter have been unsuccessful; and,
    3. Consideration of the issue by an impartial arbitral panel, which makes a binding decision on the matter.

In order to exhaust all reasonable means to avoid a dispute and where a dispute falls within the jurisdiction of a regulatory body with an established dispute resolution process, that process must be used before accessing the procedures set out in Part IV(A) of the NWPTA.

To reduce the likelihood of frivolous complaints, the dispute panel may charge up to the full costs of a dispute resolution process to losing complainants. In addition, only one complaint on any particular matter can be considered at a time, thereby allowing a situation to be corrected and reducing the need for further complaints.

To ensure impartiality, when a dispute resolution panel is established, neither the complainant nor the responding Party may choose a panellist from their own Party’s roster of Panellists. The two panellists then choose a third person from the list of any Party to act as the chair of the panel.

The NWPTA allows any Party with an interest in the dispute to participate in the proceedings as an intervenor.

A monetary penalty can only be imposed by a panel against a Party after the three stages listed above have run their course and a subsequent panel finds that the Party has not brought itself into compliance within the amount of time given to do so by the panel or as agreed amongst the disputants.

The maximum penalty is $5 million and would only apply to the Governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as Parties to the NWPTA.

The NWPTA Administrator is responsible for administering the dispute resolution processes and procedures of the NWPTA in an objective and impartial manner.  

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