Dispute Resolution System

The resolution model is based on a potential six-stage dispute resolution process.  The majority of the disputes are resolved by Stage #3 Coaching and Consultation. Typically, it only takes a couple of phone calls or e-mails for DRC to equip its members with the necessary tools to reach a resolution with their trading partners themselves. When an amicable settlement cannot be immediately reached, members may file a Notice of Dispute to initiate Step #4 Informal Mediation. Though almost all disputes are resolved at Stage #4 or sooner, those that linger on usually skip Stage #5 Formal Mediation and proceed directly to Stage #6 Arbitration for a court-enforceable, binding decision rendered by a third party arbitrator. It is extremely rare for an arbitration award not to be paid as directed by the arbitrator.

  • Stage 1: Prevention Measures

    Education, Training and Information Dissemination, DRC By-laws and Standards.

  • Stage 2: Unassisted Problem Solving

    Cooperative problem solving/negotiation among disputants.

  • Stage 3: Coaching and Consultation (DRC staff and/or contracted third parties)

    Advice/information, counseling, referrals, case analysis.

  • Stage 4: Informal Mediation (DRC staff and/or contracted third parties)

    Informal Mediation is the beginning of the formal DRC procedures. It imposes certain filing requirements as well as a twenty-one day timeframe within which the parties work towards a resolution.

    Informal mediation affords both parties with an opportunity to submit a written account of what transpired along with supporting documentation. Once both disputants have had a chance to contribute, DRC staff will help them reach an amicable, voluntary settlement. If the parties cannot agree to settle their dispute, a formal mediation or an arbitration option may be elected.

  • Stage 5: Formal Mediation

    Formal Mediation is an option that can be used regardless of the dollar value of the claim. Both parties must agree to use this option and the mediation is carried out by an independent third party mediator that can be selected from a roster maintained by DRC. If the parties do not agree to use formal mediation or should a mediation not succeed in generating a settlement acceptable to both parties then either party may proceed with arbitration.

  • Stage 6: Arbitration

    When the parties are unable to come to an agreement, they may decide to proceed to arbitration. Arbitration results in a court-enforceable, binding decision rendered by a third party arbitrator, appointed by the parties. Arbitration may be initiated regardless of the amount of the claim. To best suit the needs of our members, we have two processes, based on the amount in dispute.

    In circumstances where the dollar value of a claim is less than $50,000 U.S., an Expedited Arbitration will take place where DRC provides the parties with an abbreviated process. While this process places strict time limits on the exchange of information, it is both fair and equitable when compared to the amount in dispute (less than $50,000).

    In circumstances where the dollar value of the claim is equal to or greater than $50,000 U.S., a hearing will be conducted as prescribed under the DRC’s Formal Arbitration Rules. However, where both parties and the administrator agree, the expedited arbitration process can be used for claims that otherwise would default to this larger dollar value trigger.

    In either case, DRC members will be able to draw from a roster of knowledgeable mediators/arbitrators that has been established by DRC.

    When a binding decision is rendered, DRC staff monitors compliance. If a member fails to pay an arbitration award within the designated time-frame, the party in default will be terminated and DRC will help to facilitate the registering of the award with the court.