Mediating Your Transportation Dispute

Table of Contents

Other formats:

It's our job to help

The Canadian Transportation Agency offers complete mediation services to resolve disputes about transportation issues.

The Agency has a special mandate to act on problems that individuals or corporations face with organizations providing air, rail and marine transportation.

As a voluntary, informal and confidential process for solving problems, mediation can be an effective alternative to the Agency's formal process for ruling on disputes.

With the aid of an Agency mediator, parties jointly make decisions about ways to address issues in dispute, so that they can negotiate settlements that work for everyone. Mediation can be a flexible, fast, and inexpensive tool to develop solutions.

How mediation works

Once parties agree to be part of the process, one of the Agency's trained mediators starts to work with parties in an informal setting. The mediator helps the parties jointly address all of the issues and negotiate a settlement. Most importantly, the mediator opens lines of communication between the parties and keeps the discussion focussed on the interests of each party and on achieving a mutually beneficial settlement. In this setting, it is the parties themselves who reach mutually beneficial settlements. And this process can be completed quickly — from a few hours to a couple of days.

Since the parties at a mediation are there because they want to be part of a solution, the mediation process has an impressive track record for resolving disputes amicably. People have the flexibility to develop solutions that might not have been available under more formal processes. For instance, under a formal process the Agency or the Courts might be bound by the law to apply certain remedies that may not be the best for a particular situation.

The mediation process is confidential. In fact, parties must agree in writing to maintain confidentiality even if the mediation does not work. Anything discussed during the mediation and any documents produced remain confidential. This confidentiality allows parties to express their views openly and helps to develop an honest and trusting relationship between them.


Mediation is available to resolve disputes over such issues as flight disruptions, refusal of carriage and lost publication/baggage.


In the past, mediation has helped resolve issues such as wheelchair assistance, on-board seating and lack of assistance for pre-boarding and deplaning. Issues have been brought to mediation by persons with mobility, vision, hearing and intellectual disabilities.

Rail and marine

Mediators typically work with parties to resolve issues related to rates, service obligations, competitive access, crossings, rail line and rail yard expansion, abandonment and noise, coasting trade, pilotage tariffs, and fees fixed by Canadian ports.

In most commercial rail situations, shippers and carriers negotiate freight rates and levels of service themselves. If negotiations break down, a number of alternatives are available to shippers, including mediation and a final offer arbitration process.

How do I begin the mediation process?

Applying for mediation

Parties in a dispute may ask to have their disputes settled by mediation. They may submit a Request to Mediate form to the Agency either individually or jointly. If an individual request is made, the Agency contacts the other party to determine whether it is willing to have the dispute resolved through mediation.

Next steps

The mediator contacts the parties to discuss the ground rules, processes for exchanging information, the time and location of mediation, as well as any other appropriate matter. Mediation takes place in a neutral location satisfactory and convenient to the parties. The parties and the mediator set the duration of the mediation. During mediation sessions, parties try to reach a common definition of the facts and issues and to generate and explore various options for resolving areas of disagreement, with the mediator's help. The parties themselves decide on the solution. The mediator does not impose a solution.

For more information, please contact:

Canadian Transportation Agency
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0N9

Web site:

Available in multiple formats

Date modified: