The Minister of Natural Resources appoints a negotiator to help the parties reach an agreement. The negotiator does not favour or support either party, and does not decide the amount of compensation.
- During the negotiation process, neither the negotiator nor the Minister can award costs.
- If a landowner wants to be reimbursed for expenses during negotiation (for example, for legal costs, an appraisal or other expert opinion), he/she should discuss this with the pipeline company before negotiations start.
- By pursuing negotiation, parties are not bound to reach an agreement.
- The negotiator's report to the Minister is protected under the Privacy Act.
- Whatever happens during negotiations cannot be used against either party during arbitration ("without prejudice" to any subsequent proceeding). For example, the willingness to make or accept certain offers during negotiation does not become evidence during arbitration.
- If the negotiation process is unsuccessful, the landowner or pipeline company may apply to the Minister to have the matter determined by binding arbitration. Either party may also request arbitration at any time during negotiations.
Sections 88-89 of the NEB Act deal with Negotiation.