Arbitration is a process that involves a professional arbitrator who resolves certain types of disputes governed by the Canada Labour Code, such as grievances, unjust dismissals and wage recovery, and by the Wage Earner Protection Program Act. The arbitrator examines both sides of the dispute and renders a binding decision.
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) coordinates the appointment of arbitrators.
- Grievance Arbitrators: The interpretation and application of a collective agreement sometimes gives rise to misunderstandings and disagreements that union and management are unable to resolve. A grievance may then be referred to arbitration.
Arbitrators are appointed to resolve grievance disputes between unions and employers. All collective agreements governed by Part I (Industrial Relations) of the Canada Labour Code must contain a provision for the final settlement, without work stoppage, of any differences which relate to the interpretation, application, administration or alleged violation of the agreement. This usually involves referral of the grievance to arbitration. If parties are unable to agree on the choice of an arbitrator or the chairperson of an arbitration board, the Minister of Labour may be asked to make the appointment. In such cases, the parties remain responsible for payment of the arbitrator's fees and expenses. To request the appointment of an arbitrator, employers or unions may do so by completing the form "Request for the appointment of an arbitrator" and submitting it to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service by:
165 Hotel-de-Ville Street
Place du Portage, Phase II, 7th Floor
Required documentation to be included with the Request is mentioned on the form. A complete copy of the request should be retained for your records and future reference.
For more information, you may contact the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services of the Labour Program through their FMCS-On-line contact form.
- Unjust Dismissal Adjudicators: Adjudicators are appointed to hear complaints of unjust dismissal. Part III (Labour Standards) of the Canada Labour Code provides non-unionized workers with the right to file a complaint if they believe they have been unjustly dismissed from their employment. If a complaint cannot be resolved with the assistance of an inspector from the Labour Program, the complainant may request that the Minister appoint an adjudicator to hear the complaint and renders a binging decision.
- Wage Recovery Referees: Referees are appointed to hear wage recovery appeals. Part III (Labour Standards) of the Canada Labour Code gives aggrieved non-unionized workers the right to file a complaint. Where employees, under federal jurisdiction, file a complaint alleging that the employer has not paid them the wages or other amounts to which they were entitled, a Labour Program inspector may issue a payment order to the employer or conclude that the complaint is unfounded. The employer or the employee may appeal the inspector's decision to the Minister of Labour, who then appoints a wage recovery referee to hear the appeal and renders a binding decision.
- Wage Earner Protection Program Adjudicators: Adjudicators are appointed to hear appeals of decisions rendered under section 12 of the Wage Earner Protection Program Act only on a question of law or jurisdiction. The Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP) is a Government of Canada program that provides timely payment of eligible wages owing to workers whose employer has gone bankrupt or become subject to receivership. Eligible wages under the Program include salaries, commissions, vacation, termination and severance pay.
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