Every collective agreement must have a process to resolve issues under the collective agreement. One process is grievance and arbitration.
While a collective agreement can have its own expedited arbitration process, the Labour Relations Code (the Code) allows a union or employer to apply to the Director of Collective Agreement Arbitration Bureau (CAAB) to appoint an arbitrator to resolve the grievance under specific, and fast, timelines.
When will CAAB accept an application for expedited arbitration?
The Director of CAAB will appoint an arbitrator if the following conditions are met:
- the grievance procedure set out in the collective agreement is complete,
- the Section 104 application is made within 15 calendar days of the completion of the final step in grievance procedure before the matter is referred to arbitration,
- If the collective agreement sets out a shorter timeframe to refer the grievance to arbitration, the shorter timeframe applies, and
- the matter hasn't been referred to arbitration under the collective agreement by the party who is applying.
A dispute between the union and employer as to whether these conditions have been met is normally referred to the arbitrator to decide.
What happens after the Director accepts an application for expedited arbitration under the Code?
Once accepted, the Director of CAAB will appoint an arbitrator from the register of arbitrators to hear and decide the grievance.
Section 89 - Powers of arbitration board and the powers of the arbitrator are set out in Section 92 - Authority of arbitration board.The arbitrator's authority is set out in the Labour Relations Code,
The Director may also appoint a settlement officer to assist the parties to attempt to settle the matter before the hearing.
What are the timelines for expedited arbitration?
Within seven calendar days of the appointment, the arbitrator must conduct a case management conference with the union and employer. The purpose of the case management conference is to schedule the exchange of information and documents, schedule hearing dates, and encourage settlement. It usually takes place by phone or video conference.
The arbitrator must conclude the arbitration within 90 calendar days after the date the application was accepted by the Director. The arbitrator must issue a decision within 30 calendar days after the conclusion of the hearing.
If the parties request it, and if possible, the arbitrator can issue an oral decision within one day of the conclusion of the hearing.
How can a party to a collective agreement apply for expedited arbitration?
To apply for expedited arbitration, either the union or the employer must file an application with the Board by using the Board’s online application process. The $100 filing fee can be paid through the online application process. If you can't use the online application process and need an alternate means of filing an application, contact us.
Once the application has been submitted through the online application process, you will be able to save a copy of the completed application. A copy of the completed application must be sent to the other party.
How much does expedited arbitration under the Code cost?
The cost of an arbitration is determined by the arbitrator appointed. The arbitrator appointed will generally charge their usual daily rate. This can vary between different arbitrators.
Where a settlement officer is appointed by the Director, there is no charge for their time. The parties will be required to share the cost of travel and accommodation if the settlement officer attends a settlement meeting away from the Board's offices.