Report to the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry for the Attorney General on Workplace Dispute Resolution

61 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2011

Date Written: October 31, 2010


In 2010, at the request of the provincial Ministry of Labour, the British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) undertook a brief study of the merits of establishing a Workplace Tribunal for British Columbia. The Ministry provided the BCLI with a specific model for consideration. This proposed model left elements of the existing BC framework, such as the grievance arbitration system, unchanged, and required the creation of a new Workplace Services Branch with responsibilities including investigation, alternative dispute resolution and first line decision-making powers over employment standards complaints and human rights complaints originating in non-unionized workplaces. The model was centered around a new tribunal with jurisdiction over all employment-related disputes now adjudicated by the Labour Relations Board and the Employment Standards Tribunal, appeals from determinations by the Workplace Services Branch with respect to employment standards and human rights matters, as well as limited power to reconsider its own decisions on specified grounds. In effect, the new model would eliminate the Human Rights Tribunal’s jurisdiction over workplace-related complaints – about 60% of its current caseload.

The BCLI research project involved international comparative research into existing workplace dispute resolution systems, and a targeted consultation of BC stakeholders selected jointly by the Ministry and the BCLI. The 59-page final report of the BCLI contains: (1) an outline of the proposed model; (2) a brief overview of the existing workplace dispute resolution framework in BC; (3) a summary of comparative research (UK, Australia, New Zealand); (4) a summary of the consultation session feedback; and (5) a discussion of findings and conclusions including an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed model.

Keywords: labour and employment, human rights, workplace dispute, alternative dispute resolution, courts and tribunals, administrative law, legislation, comparative law, labour relations board, employment standards tribunal, human rights tribunal

Suggested Citation

Law Institute, British Columbia, Report to the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry for the Attorney General on Workplace Dispute Resolution (October 31, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

British Columbia Law Institute (Contact Author)

British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) ( email )

1822 East Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Y1

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