Code of Ethics

The Ontario Labour-Management Arbitrators’ Association (the “Association”) is a voluntary association of individuals who serve as neutral labour arbitrators and who are engaged in the impartial resolution of labour relations disputes in Ontario.

It is the purpose and objective of the Association to promote policies, practices and procedures that are effective in dealing with conflicts of rights and interests in a way that is in the best interest of the parties; namely the employers, the unions and the workers. To that end, the Association has established this Code of Ethics for its members to follow in the conduct of arbitrations in the Province of Ontario and elsewhere. While the focus of the Association is on dispute resolution procedures in the Labour Relations sector, it is the expectation of the Association that its members will adhere to the standards and principles of conduct herein set out in all aspects of their professional activities as neutral third parties in dispute resolution procedures. Membership in the Association shall constitute a Member's undertaking and covenant to abide by this Code both in letter and in spirit. The Association, through its Executive Committee, is available to assist and advise its members as to the Code’s interpretation.


Article 1. Honesty, integrity, impartiality, mutual acceptance and a general competence in labour relations matters and the law related thereto are each an essential quality required of any arbitrator. An arbitrator must at all times behave with dignity and uphold the integrity of the office.

Article 2. An arbitrator must be as ready to rule for one party as for the other on each issue before him, such ruling to be dependent on the merits of the particular issue only.

Article 3. An arbitrator must decline an appointment when he or she has reason to believe prior to the appointment that any matter is involved which is beyond his or her competence. If in the course of the arbitration, the arbitrator determines this to be the case, he or she must withdraw from the matter or with the consent of the parties obtain appropriate assistance.

Article 4. An experienced arbitrator shall contribute to the training of new arbitrators.

Article 5. An arbitrator must not solicit arbitration assignments. An arbitrator may make known details as to availability. An arbitrator may provide accurate information as to education, professional affiliations and experience and may be listed as an arbitrator in directories of general circulation. Advertising that is in form and substance consistent with the Code will not constitute a breach of the Code.

No claims of specific results or materials which imply favour of one side over another may be used or published.

An arbitrator shall not make or receive any payment or consideration (whether commissions, rebates, or any other forms of remuneration) for the referral of work to or from another arbitrator, any party, or any other source. However, an arbitrator may respond to requests for proposals to provide arbitration or dispute resolution services and charge a fee to the parties for the administration of such services.


Article 6. An arbitrator should conscientiously endeavour to understand and observe, to the extent consistent with professional responsibility, the significant principles and objectives applicable in each arbitration system in which he or she serves. In doing so, the arbitrator should have due regard to any agreement of the parties.

Article 7. Before accepting any arbitration appointment, there must be full and fair disclosure to the parties by the arbitrator of any current or past business or professional relationship, such as any involvement as a director or trustee, with any party to the arbitration. There must also be full and fair disclosure of any material interest which the arbitrator may have in the outcome of the arbitration, any close personal relationship to any of the parties and any other matter or circumstance known to the arbitrator which would reasonably raise a question as to the arbitrator's impartiality. If after such disclosure all parties consent, the arbitrator may accept the appointment.

Article 8. When an arbitrator has served as an advisor or advocate in labour relations matters on behalf of one of the parties in the prior year, such activities must be disclosed to the parties before acceptance of the appointment.

Article 9. If in the course of an arbitration, the arbitrator becomes aware of a circumstance or matter that would have required disclosure if known prior to accepting the appointment, it must be immediately disclosed to the parties and the arbitrator may continue to act as arbitrator only with the consent of all parties.

Article 10. All significant aspects of an arbitration proceeding must be treated by the arbitrator as confidential unless this requirement is waived by all parties or disclosure is required or permitted by law or established custom.

Article 11. The arbitrator must, once the hearing of evidence and argument is completed, complete deliberations and render an award with a decision and the reasons therefor within a reasonable time; and in any event, within the time frame contemplated by the collective agreement, any applicable legislation, and any other understanding reached with the parties. If unable to comply, the arbitrator must so advise the parties in writing with the reasons for the delay and request that they grant an extension of time. The arbitrator must not disclose the contents of any award prior to its simultaneous release to all parties.

Article 12. It is a basic professional responsibility of an arbitrator to plan his or her work schedule so that present and future commitments with respect to holding hearings and rendering decisions will be fulfilled in a timely manner.

Article 13. In the absence of an agreement by all parties, an arbitrator must provide a fair and adequate hearing in all respects consistent with the principles of natural justice and consistent with all applicable rules and procedures provided by law, which assures that all parties, have sufficient opportunity to present their respective evidence and argument.


Article 14. An arbitrator occupies a position of trust in respect to the parties and the administrative agencies. In charging for services and expenses, the arbitrator must be governed by the same high standards of honour and integrity that apply to all other phases of his or her work.

Article 15. An arbitrator must endeavour to keep total charges for services and expenses reasonable and consistent with the nature of the case or cases decided.

Article 16. Prior to appointment, the parties should be aware of or be able readily to determine all significant aspects of an arbitrator's bases for charges for fees and expenses.

Article 17. An arbitrator must render accounts and charge for services strictly in accordance with the arbitrator’s fee schedule. The Association provides a fee mediation service available to arbitrators and the parties.


Article 18. Any complaint by a party to an arbitration against the arbitrator involved that the arbitrator has not acted in conformity with the provisions of this Code must be submitted in writing to the Secretary-Treasurer of the Association. For clarity, grievors are not entitled to file such a complaint.

Article 19. The Secretary-Treasurer will assess whether the complaint, on its face, raises a prima facie violation of the Code. Where the Secretary-Treasurer assesses that the complaint, on its face, does not raise a prima facie violation of the Code, the Secretary-Treasurer will notify the complainant thereof in writing. That will end the complaint. If the Secretary-Treasurer assesses that the complaint, on its face, raises a prima facie violation of the Code, the Secretary-Treasurer will refer the complaint to the President.

Article 20. The President or designate may make such informal attempts to resolve the complaint as the President or designate considers appropriate. Failing informal resolution, the President will refer the complaint to the Committee.

Article 21. The Committee will consist of:

a) a member of the Association designated by the complainant;

b) a member of the Association designated by the arbitrator complained of; and

c) a member of the Association designated by the President.

If the complainant fails to designate such a member within 21 calendar days of being notified in writing to make such designation, then the complaint will be terminated. If the arbitrator complained of fails to designate such a member within 21 calendar days of being notified in writing to make such designation, the President will make such designation.

Article 22. If there are other proceedings involving issues raised in the complaint, the Committee may choose to defer consideration of the complaint until those proceedings are complete.

Article 23. The Committee may choose to give notice of the complaint in writing to the other party to the arbitration.

Article 24. The Committee shall conduct such inquires and make such investigations as it considers reasonable and consistent with principles of due process and natural justice. The Committee will decide whether the complaint was justified and may make recommendations to the Executive Committee of the Association. The Committee will try to make a unanimous report to the Executive Committee of the Association, but, if unable to do so, the members may make their individual recommendations. The complainant and the arbitrator will be entitled to receive copies of any reports and recommendations made by the Committee or its members.

Article 25. If the Committee or a majority of its members so recommend, the membership in the Association of an arbitrator, against whom a complaint is found to be justified, may be suspended for such period as the Committee or a majority of its members consider to be appropriate, or the Committee may issue such reprimand to the arbitrator as the Committee considers appropriate.

Article 26. A Committee comprising of any 3 members of the Executive of the Association designated by the President may be constituted at any time to consider any issue or question posed by anyone relative to the arbitration process and the role of an arbitrator therein. The Committee so constituted shall make such enquiry and investigations as it deems necessary and may if it considers it appropriate issue an advisory opinion on the question.