Get help managing business disputes for Public Works and Government Services Canada contracts
If you sell to the government or manage government contracts, disagreement and conflict may happen from time to time. Learn how the Business Dispute Management Program can help you manage a dispute where Public Works and Government Services Canada is the contracting authority. Explore the various services the program offers, including alternative dispute resolution, awareness presentations and skills training workshops.
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About the Business Dispute Management Program
The Business Dispute Management Program is a neutral and confidential resource for contractors, other government departments and Public Works and Government Services Canada employees when they experience difficulties with a contract where Public Works and Government Services Canada is the contracting authority.
What we do
We offer conflict prevention and alternative dispute resolution services to anyone involved in a contract. We also provide awareness presentations and skill training workshops.
Maybe you are:
- a supplier who is concerned how Public Works and Government Services Canada is managing your contract
- a contracting officer who is struggling to find a better way to work with a dissatisfied client or contractor
- a buyer with another federal department who disagrees with Public Works and Government Services Canada over how to handle having received the wrong product or a late delivery
Using a facilitative approach, one of our qualified and experienced practitioners will:
- liaise between you and the other party to support positive progress on a difficult business matter
- help you examine the issues and explore and assess options to manage your business dispute
- facilitate meetings between you and the other party so that you can resolve your business dispute in a mutually agreed-upon way
- enable hiring an external practitioner by managing the selection process for parties who choose to hire an external neutral third party
Want to learn more? Explore each of our business dispute management services.
Unbiased and confidential services
Our practitioners serve as a neutral third party facilitator and do not render decisions nor take sides. They are also willing to explore other options at any time if you have a concern. As well, any information you share with your practitioner during discussions is kept private unless you give permission to do otherwise.
Public Works and Government Services Canada believes that it is in the best interest of all involved for the practitioner to be free of bias and internal pressures. The Business Dispute Management Program is therefore separate from the operations of the department.
How do we create a fair and satisfactory service experience? Learn about the fairness triangle.
When to use our services
If you are experiencing difficulties with a contract where Public Works and Government Services Canada is the contracting authority, try to first resolve the problem directly with the other party:
- review the contract, as it may contain clauses on how to resolve a dispute
- consult the following information on how to resolve a contract dispute:
You should contact us when you:
- are unsure of the next steps to take to address a contract dispute
- believe you would benefit from the help of a conflict management practitioner in preparing for a difficult conversation
- do not know who to contact for help to resolve an issue
- are seeking options other than litigation
Business dispute management services
The Business Dispute Management Program offers alternative dispute resolution services, awareness presentations and skill training workshops. Contact one of our practitioners and together you can determine which one or more of these services will best help you manage your business dispute.
Even after you contact us, we encourage you to continue to keep the lines of communication open with the other party. This “business as usual” approach is particularly important when you need to communicate with the other person to progress on aspects of the contract.
Are you dealing with conflict in a constructive manner? Follow the eight steps to effective conflict management.
Alternative dispute resolution
Alternative dispute resolution is any means of settling a dispute outside of the courtroom. It involves voluntary processes in which an impartial neutral third person helps parties involved in a dispute arrive at a result that works for everyone involved.
We do not render decisions. The decision as to how the business dispute will be resolved remains with you and the other parties involved.
As well, we do not:
- advocate on behalf of or represent any one involved in a dispute
- act as substantive authorities or technical experts
- provide opinions on who is right or wrong
- change or replace laws, rules, policy, guidance or administrative decisions
- provide legal advice
- get involved in any issue before the courts or subject to a Canadian International Trade Tribunal review
Wish to learn more? Explore the differences between alternative dispute resolution and litigation. Find out who should be at the table for alternative dispute resolution and learn the six keys to effective communication when negotiating.
Alternative dispute resolution processes
Learn about the five processes we offer and the expected outcome for each. If none of these processes help you resolve the issues in dispute, litigation remains an option.
- Conflict coaching
- Facilitated discussion
A consultation is:
- an initial one-on-one conversation with a practitioner, by phone or in person, to:
- explore your available options
- determine which alternative dispute resolution service is best suited to address the present conflict
- an initial and individual approach to conflict management—the other parties are not involved at this point
- an opportunity to explore new options by thinking about the conflict in different ways
- a useful risk management tool to proactively address conflict
By the end of the consultation process, you should be able to use the guidance and advice you received to better understand the options available to you so you may decide how you want to proceed to address the conflict.
Conflict coaching is:
- a one-on-one conversation, by phone or in person, to help you deal with actual or potential situations of conflict
- a learning opportunity to help you improve your conflict management competencies, such as communication or negotiation
By the end of a conflict coaching session or multiple sessions, you should be better able to proactively prevent or self-manage a conflict situation.
A facilitated discussion is:
- a voluntary multi-party meeting chaired by a neutral and impartial practitioner who is acceptable to all parties to discuss the present conflict and possible solutions
- an opportunity to collaboratively discuss the interests and barriers of all parties
- a brainstorming session that allows for a wider range of options to be explored
- future-oriented and focusses on consensus building and a win-win outcome
- a process that allows for the preservation of business relationships
By the end of a facilitated discussion, you will have participated in a conversation in a non-confrontational setting. This will provide parties with an opportunity to better understand the issues. Further, it allows parties to retain control of reaching a mutually acceptable outcome with a custom made solution.
- the same as a facilitated discussion, but is more formal in process and also involves:
- signing an agreement to mediate before the mediation
- recording settlement agreements in writing, where necessary
In addition to the outcomes of a facilitated discussion, the parties can reach a settlement that becomes a legally binding contract after it is signed or is incorporated into an existing contract.
- a semi-formal process where parties agree to hire a neutral and impartial arbitrator who will:
- review the proof and arguments presented by each party—the parties determine which issues they want the arbitrator to decide on
- impose a legally-binding decision
- similar to a trial because the process:
- follows specific rules and procedures
- looks to the past and focuses on the facts and legal rights
- seeks to establish fault or liability
- determines a winner and loser
- is generally costly and time consuming
By the end of the arbitration process, the dispute is resolved through a legally binding decision issued by the arbitrator.
Want to learn how we help departments and companies like yours manage business disputes? Let us speak at your next team meeting, conference or annual retreat. Our sessions range from 15 minutes to two hours in length.
Skill training workshops
We offer skill training workshops to employees at Public Works and Government Services Canada. In the workshops, you will further develop your communication skills to better manage potential issues and resolve business disputes before they escalate.
- Contact the Business Dispute Management Program
- Dispute resolution resources – consult reference materials to help you manage a conflict, prepare for a discussion and better understand alternative dispute resolution
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