Dispute Resolution

The Labour Relations Code provides various mechanisms for a cooperative, expeditious and final settlement of workplace disputes, without work stoppages and with as little impact as possible on the public and those not involved in the dispute.


With respect to collective bargaining, the code provides for the resolution of disputes through a variety of means. Primary among these options is encouraging the use of mediation as a dispute-resolution mechanism.

Either party can apply to the board’s mediation division for appointment of a mediator after collective bargaining is in progress. The mediator’s job is to help the parties find their own solutions to their collective bargaining problems.

Other options include:

  • the appointment of special mediators or industrial inquiry commissions by the Minister of Labour and Citizens’ Services;
  • the appointment of a fact-finder by the associate chair of the mediation division; and
    ordering a last-offer vote.

For more information concerning these dispute resolution mechanisms, visit Guide to the Labour Relations Code – Chapter Eight – Mediation And Dispute Resolution Assistance.


One of the code’s fundamental principles is the prohibition of work stoppages during the term of a collective agreement. This means that disputes arising during that term must be resolved without resorting to a strike or lockout.

This is accomplished by mandating that every collective agreement must contain a provision for the final and binding resolution of all disputes by arbitration, without any stoppage of work. If the parties fail to negotiate such a provision into their agreement, the code deems the following provision to be incorporated into the agreement:

If a difference arises between the parties relating to the dismissal or discipline of an employee, or to the interpretation, application, operation or alleged violation of this agreement, including a question as to whether a matter is arbitrable, either of the parties, without stoppage of work, may, after exhausting any grievance procedure established by this agreement, notify the other party in writing of its desire to submit the difference to arbitration, and the parties must agree on a single arbitrator, the arbitrator must hear and determine the difference and issue a decision, which is final and binding on the parties and any person affected by it.

For more information concerning dispute resolution during the term of a collective agreement, visit Guide to the Labour Relations Code – Chapter Nine – Arbitration Procedures.

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