What is Arbitration?

Grievance arbitration is a formal process for concluding rights disputes between trade unions and employers that arise from collective agreements. The arbitrator, either chosen consensually by the parties or appointed by the director of CAAB, is a neutral person who is given quasi-judicial powers to hear evidence, oral submissions, testimony and provide a legally binding decision on the parties.

Q. Who can apply to CAAB for arbitration?

A. Any trade union or employer which is party to a collective agreement under the Labour Relations Code. Conditions do apply, but the parties must first have exhausted the grievance procedure in their collective agreement before making an application to CAAB.

Q. How does an employer or union apply for expedited arbitration (Section 104) or non-expedited arbitration (Section 86)?

A. Application forms are available on the LRB website:

Q. Is there a time limit to apply for expedited arbitration?

A. Yes. Time limits must be followed according to the collective agreement or be filed within 15 calendar days of completion of the steps of the grievance procedure preceding a reference to arbitration, whichever is earlier.

Q. If a union or employer applies for expedited arbitration, can the other party refuse to take part on the grounds it differs from the collective agreement?

A. No. Expedited arbitration, as set out in section 104 of the Code, is an alternative arbitration provision to the arbitration provisions of the collective agreement.

Q. Is there an opportunity to settle before or during arbitration?

A. Yes. On application, the director may appoint a settlement officer prior to an arbitrator being appointed (expedited or not). Once an arbitrator is appointed, the arbitrator may engage in settlement discussions if the parties concur. Also available to the parties is section 105 where the parties may jointly apply for the appointment of a mediator-arbitrator.

Q. Is there a cost for the CAAB settlement officer?

A. CAAB (LRB) does not charge for the mediation services of the settlement officer when the grievance mediation takes place at the LRB.  However, if the settlement officer is required to meet the parties outside the LRB offices, the parties must equally share the costs associated with the settlement officer's travel/accommodation.

Q. Who pays for expedited arbitration?

A. Parties typically equally share the costs associated with an arbitration, either consensual arbitration or arbitration arising from applications to CAAB under Sections 86, 104 and 105 of the Code.  Arbitrator fees are not regulated by CAAB.

Q. What power does an expedited arbitrator have?

A. An expedited arbitrator appointed under Section 104 has the same powers as any arbitrator appointed under the Labour Relations Code. See Sections 89 and 92 of the Code for details of these powers.

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