Review of arbitration awards

A party affected by an arbitration award may apply to the Labour Relations Board for review of that award.

What kinds of awards can the Board review?

The Board can review grievance arbitration decisions, and other decisions the Board has found have the status of an arbitration award. These include awards by medical review panels, such as a Claims Review Committee, and decisions under the construction industry's Jurisdictional Assignment Plan.

The Board has limited grounds to review arbitration awards. The grounds for review are:

  • the arbitrator has denied a party to the arbitration a fair hearing
  • the arbitration award is inconsistent with the principles of the Labour Relations Code (the Code) or another statute dealing with labour relations.

A party can apply to the British Columbia Court of Appeal where the grounds for review concern matters of general law not within the Board's jurisdiction.

The Board will not generally:  

  • review an interim award
  • interfere with the interpretation of the language of a collective agreement if the arbitrator made a genuine effort to interpret the provisions relevant to the dispute
  • consider evidence or arguments that were not presented to the arbitrator
  • review the weight an arbitrator gave to specific evidence
  • interfere with findings of fact

A party directly affected by an arbitration award can file an application with the Board for review of the award.  They must:

  1. File a written application with the Board, including a copy of the arbitration award and any other supporting documents, within 15 calendar days after the date of the award
  2. Make sure the application complies with the Labour Relations Board Rules (see, in particular, Rule 28, 2(2) and 2(3))
  3. Limit the application to 10 double spaced pages (unless the Registrar has given permission to file a longer application). The award and supporting documentation do not count in the 10-page limit
  4. If the application relies on facts that are not set out in the award, these must be confirmed in a statutory declaration filed with the application
  5. Serve the other parties to the arbitration award
  6. Arrange to pay the filing fee

An application for review of an arbitration award must be filed within 15 calendar days of the date of the award.

If you can't file your application within this time limit, you must ask the Board's Registrar for an extension of time.  That request must be made before the end of the 15-day time limit.  If you need an extension of more than three business days, you must first ask the other parties to the arbitration award for their agreement before asking the Registrar for the extension.

If the Registrar grants your extension, you must confirm the extension in writing to the Registrar, copying the other parties.

Once the Board receives an application, it will review it to make sure it is complete and has been filed by the application deadline. The Board will then assign the application to a panel for a decision. The panel will decide whether it needs to hear arguments from the other party to the arbitration award in order to decide the application.

If the Board asks for arguments from the other side, you will have a chance to make a final reply to the other parties' submissions. A final reply should not repeat arguments made in the application but is a chance to address the issues or arguments raised by the other parties.

The Board may or may not hold an oral hearing. Generally, it decides applications for review of arbitration awards based on the parties' written arguments. As a result, it is important that, when you file your application with the Board, you include all the information and supporting documentation you need to make your case.

Parties must comply with the terms of an arbitration award, unless the Board has granted a stay of the arbitration award. A party who does not want to follow an arbitration award while their application for review by the Board is pending must make an application for a stay.

An application for a stay of the award must be made in writing within 15 calendar days of the date of the arbitration award. To be granted a stay of the award, an applicant must show that there is a serious case for review and that they will be irremediably prejudiced if the stay is not granted. This means you should file your application for review and for a stay at the same time.

If an application is successful, the Board can:

  • Set aside the arbitration award
  • Send the matter back to the original arbitration board
  • Send the matter to a new arbitration board
  • Decide the matter instead of sending it back to arbitration


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This page was last updated: 2021-04-06

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 traditional 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 traditional unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlil̓wətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.