His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili
Conciliation and Arbitration Board for Canada

Dispute Prevention

Disputes are a part of life and although they can lead to difficulty, they can also help individuals grow and experience new ways of thinking and living life. However, when conflicts are not handled well and they escalate, the consequences, impact and cost can be massive – financially, emotionally, personally and professionally. Sometimes, conflicts can cause the breakup of relationships and even families. On the other hand, preventing conflicts can lead to greater unity, harmony and resiliency within parties, helping the Jamat to have more time and positive energy, waste less money, and focus better on what really matters most.

Dispute prevention does not mean avoiding disputes. It means preventing disputes from occurring in the first place or from getting worse, taking positive steps to strengthen, nurture and build stronger relationships, and deal with issues as they arise in constructive ways. For example, dispute prevention processes can help improve communication and respect between couples, help them agree on values, roles, responsibilities, and make decisions together. This process could help strengthen relationships and prevent the breakup of some marriages.

One important lesson for preventing disputes applies to all situations including marriage and business. It is very important that we enter into relationships openly and honestly and with the understanding that the people we are partnering with are not there just for our benefit.

For example, based on the Conciliation and Arbitration Board analysis, improving communication between couples, being respectful with each other, agreeing on values, roles and responsibilities, and goals, as well as making decisions together and resolving differences within the ethics of our faith, would help strengthen, and thus prevent the breakup of, some marriages. Similarly, we have learned that the lack of, or poorly worded documentation when starting a business is the root cause of many commercial disputes.

After all, as the Quran states, we are all created from a single soul:

O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from
a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain
hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of
your duty towards Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one
another and towards the wombs (that bore you). Lo! Allah hath
been a Watcher over you
Sura 4 Ayat 1

One critical lesson for preventing disputes is to build relationships based on trust and respect, and with the understanding that the people with whom we are partnering are our brothers and sisters. We have a duty to be concerned about their well-being and happiness, which is ultimately linked to our well-being and happiness.

Crucial to preventing disputes is being able to trust and respect each other, to sincerely apologize and ask for forgiveness and live with integrity, to stay true to one’s commitments, and to have sound ethics guide civil behaviour. In the Quran it states:

“True faithfulness is the faithfulness of those, who truly believe in God…who, when they finalize an agreement, fulfill it…”. (2:177)

In addition to resolving disputes, the Conciliation and Arbitration Board conducts analysis of root causes of disputes and works with other institutions within the community, such as the Economic Planning Board, Social Welfare Board, etc. so that preventative programs can be implemented for the benefit of the Jamat.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact your Regional Conciliation and Arbitration Board:

Ontario (including Ottawa)

416-751-4001 ext. 607

Quebec and Maritimes

514-738-8866 ext. 300

British Columbia

604-438-4010 ext. 631


403-215-6200 ext. 7321


780-461-2000 ext. 7