arbitration is a process for settling disputes between the union and employer during the
time a collective agreement is in effect. Usually a grievance arises out of the
discipline or discharge of an employee by the employer or from a disagreement over
interpretation of some part of the collective agreement. The grievance arbitration
process involves attempts to resolve the difference between union and employer
representatives. If that fails, the parties appoint a neutral third party, an
arbitrator, to make a binding ruling.
a collective agreement does not provide for some method of resolving mid-contract
disputes, the Code contains a provision for arbitration that is deemed to be included in
the agreement. Also, every collective agreement must contain a provision governing
dismissal or discipline of an employee covered by the agreement and which requires the
employer to have just and reasonable cause for dismissing or disciplining an
employee. Again, if the collective agreement does not contain such a clause, the
Code provision is deemed to be included.
Code provides for the Collective Agreement Arbitration Bureau to be established to
administer arbitration provisions in the Code. The bureau operates as part of the
Labour Relations Board and is made up of Board employees. One of the functions of the
bureau is to appoint settlement officers upon the request of either party to a collective
agreement. When the steps of a grievance process prior to arbitration have been completed,
a Board settlement officer meets with the parties to work toward settlement of the
function of this bureau is to make appointments of arbitrators when the parties are unable
or unwilling to agree on someone themselves. In these circumstances, one of the
parties applies to the director of the bureau who appoints an arbitrator with full
authority to hear and decide the outcome of the grievance.