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This blog is the second installment of a two-part series by Sultan Lawyers focused on Alternative Dispute Resolutions. Read our first blog post on the pro and cons of mediations here.

Employment disputes can be challenging for both employers and employees. In Ontario, one common method of resolving such disputes is through arbitration. This alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process can provide a faster and more cost-effective solution compared to traditional litigation. In this blog, we will explore the process of arbitration, as well as its pros and cons for resolving employment disputes in Ontario.


Arbitration is a private, legally binding process where an impartial third party, known as an arbitrator, hears both sides of a dispute and makes a decision based on the evidence presented. The arbitrator’s decision, called an award, is typically final and enforceable in court.


Agreement to Arbitrate: Both parties must agree to submit their dispute to arbitration. This can be done through a pre-dispute agreement, such as an employment contract or collective agreement, or through a post-dispute agreement.

Appointment of an Arbitrator: Once both parties have agreed to arbitration, they must select an arbitrator. If they cannot agree on an arbitrator, either party can apply to the Ontario Ministry of Labour for the appointment of an arbitrator.

Preliminary Matters: The arbitrator will typically hold a preliminary hearing to determine procedural matters, such as the location and timing of the arbitration, the scope of the issues to be decided, and the rules of evidence that will apply.

Exchange of Evidence: Both parties will exchange evidence in advance of the arbitration, including witness statements, expert reports, and other documents.

Arbitration Hearing: The arbitration hearing is similar to a trial in court, where both parties present their evidence and arguments to the arbitrator. The arbitrator may ask questions and seek clarification from witnesses and parties.

Arbitration Award: After considering all of the evidence, the arbitrator will make a decision and issue an arbitration award.



  • Faster Resolution: Arbitration can often be resolved faster than traditional litigation, which can save time and money for both parties.
  • Less Formal Process: The arbitration process is typically less formal than court proceedings, which can make it more accessible and less intimidating for parties.
  • Expertise of Arbitrator: In most cases, the arbitrator will have expertise in the subject matter of the dispute, which can lead to a more informed and well-reasoned decision.
  • Confidentiality: Arbitration proceedings are usually confidential, which can help protect sensitive information and preserve business relationships.


  • Limited Rights of Appeal: Arbitration awards are typically final and binding, with limited rights of appeal. This means that parties may not be able to challenge an arbitrator’s decision even if they believe it is wrong.
  • Costs: While arbitration can be less expensive than traditional litigation, it can still be costly depending on the complexity of the dispute and the fees charged by the arbitrator.
  • Limited Discovery: Unlike court proceedings, there are typically fewer opportunities for discovery and disclosure of relevant information in arbitration proceedings, which can limit the amount of evidence that parties are able to obtain.
  • Lack of Public Record: Arbitration awards are typically not published or available to the public, which can make it difficult for parties to assess the potential outcomes of similar disputes.


In conclusion, arbitration can be a viable option for resolving employment disputes in Ontario. While it has its pros and cons, it can provide a faster and more cost-effective solution compared to traditional litigation. It is important for parties to carefully consider their options and seek legal advice before agreeing to arbitrate a dispute. 

If you are facing an employment law case, such as wrongful or unjust dismissal cases, and have inquiries or concerns about taking legal action, we recommend reaching out to Sultan Lawyers, a team of experienced employment lawyers. You can contact Sultan Lawyers at 416-214-5111 or here.

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