Collaborative Governance Initiative


The Collaborative Governance Initiative (CGI) is a proactive approach to improve municipal business and intermunicipal relations. The program gives municipal leaders an opportunity to look internally and intermunicipally at their organizations and find creative, locally-relevant ways to improve communication, better engage with internal and external stakeholders, and build better relationships.

The CGI has two phases:

  1. Assessment phase: collaborative principles, processes, and protocols are created by consensus. 
  2. Implementation phase: municipal organizations implement the principles, processes, and protocols which arose from the assessment phase.


The Service

Through the CGI, the Municipal Dispute Resolution Services (MDRS) team can help municipalities assess whether collaborative governance is an appropriate fit and help convene the process and ensure all the prerequisites are in place.

Where appropriate, MDRS provides for a cost-sharing arrangement between municipalities and Alberta Municipal Affairs to cover part of the consultant's costs. Grant funding for the assessment phase can reach $50,000 on a matching basis, while grant funds for the implementation phase can reach $30,000 on a matching basis. MDRS staff will assist municipalities in completing the necessary forms to access grant money.

Municipalities contract directly with consultants for their services. MDRS can provide a list of consultants with municipal and/or CGI experience.

Protocols, Agreements & Successes

Municipalities across Alberta have developed collaboration protocols and agreements to guide their business activities in ways that limit opportunities for conflict escalation. A few examples are showcased below:

Municipalities big and small have had great success with the Collaborative Governance Initiative. A few sample collaboration protocols and agreements are listed below:

Strathcona County & City of Fort Saskatchewan
Common Bonds Agreement

Town of Cochrane & Rocky View County
The RancheHouse Accord
MD of Foothills & Town of Okotoks
Joint Planning Agreement

Town of Peace River & MD of Peace No. 135
Inter-municipal Cooperation Agreement

Northern Sunrise County & Town of Peace River
Capital Cost Sharing Agreement
Operational Cost Sharing Agreement

Municipalities have also realized the benefits of cooperation, as told by these stories:

Town of Canmore
A Vision for a kinder, gentler community through Alternative Dispute Resolution

Sturgeon County, City of Edmonton, City of St. Albert & Town of Morinville
A Process for Resolving Intermunicipal Disputes

Town of Okotoks
Town Embraces Conflict

Feature Videos

CGI Video Testimonials

Municipal leaders from across Alberta have sat down with us to discuss their experiences with collaborative governance.


For more information on the CGI, download the printable brochure The Smarter Way to Build Win-Win Solutions in Municipal Government(PDF)

It's All About the Process (2006; 24 minutes) provides an inside look at how a controversy laden public meeting can be reframed into a productive encounter.  Building on a municipal council’s desire to construct a new municipal building, it shows how a neutral facilitator, using interest-based techniques, can guide and focus the discussion, reducing the animosity and gain public acceptance for a decision making process.

Download RealPlayer

More video resources are available from the UNC School of Government. The School’s YouTube channel features three videos on the topic of collaboration and strategic partnerships, originally created for Rick Morse’s workshop for elected officials, Saving Money by Doing Business Together.

Want to create more collaborative processes for intermunicipal planning? Download the report: A Process for Resolving Intermunicipal Issues (PDF)

Contact Us

Contact a member of our team if you have any questions about our programs and services.