Informal dispute resolution and fact-finding

The Labour Relations Board engages in informal dispute resolution and fact-finding to support the parties and address issues that come up in an application. These processes encourage and support the union and employer (the parties) to cooperate and reach an outcome they can each live with or narrow the issues that need to be resolved. They also provide a faster and more cost-effective process for resolving a dispute than a formal hearing process.

Most informal dispute resolution and fact-finding processes are done by the Board’s Special Investigating Officers (SIOs).

Informal dispute resolution

After the Board receives an application, it often encourages the parties to try to reach a settlement. Settlement discussions are non-binding and intended to explore options for resolving some or all of the issues in dispute. This type of process is called informal dispute resolution.

Informal dispute resolution can happen at any stage of the process for dealing with an application. This process can be conducted by a vice-chair, a mediator, the Registrar, Deputy Registrar, or Associate Chair or the Chair. However, the Board’s SIOs are most often the ones helping the parties resolve their differences.

The SIOs deal with a wide range of issues, including:

SIOs have a very high rate of success in helping the parties reach an agreement due to their expertise. They bring a well-informed, problem-solving approach and have a strong understanding of the Labour Relations Code and the Board’s case law, policies, and procedures. SIOs also act as settlement officers with the Collective Agreement Arbitration Bureau to assist in informal dispute resolution of grievances.


SIOs can also engage in fact-finding or issue reports that help to narrow issues that come up in applications filed with the Board, including:

  • certification or decertification applications
  • whether essential services are a factor in a labour dispute
  • when the Board feels it will help clarify matters in dispute


This page was last updated: 2021-05-09

Disclaimer: The information on this website is provided for general purposes only and is not legal advice. This information is subject to the Labour Relations Code, the Labour Relations Board Rules, the Labour Relations Regulation and the published decisions of the Board

The Labour Relations Board acknowledges the territories of the many diverse Indigenous Peoples in the geographic area we serve. With gratitude and respect, we acknowledge that the Board’s office is located on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlil̓wətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.