The BC Labour Relations Board is an independent administrative tribunal with the authority to administer the provisions of the Labour Relations Code. The board is responsible for deciding all matters covered by the code.
The board consists of the chair, a number of vice-chairs and an equal number of part-time representatives of both employers and unions, who are called members. The chair, vice-chairs and members are all appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council (i.e., the provincial Cabinet) for specific terms of office, and each is an experienced practitioner in the field of labour relations.
The board has two divisions, an adjudication division and a mediation division. Through the adjudication division, the board conducts formal hearings, or requests written submissions, to adjudicate complaints and applications under the code. The mediation division provides assistance to employers and unions in collective bargaining or in improving their ongoing relationships.
The board is where employers, unions and, in some circumstances, employees go to resolve any question or dispute arising out of the interpretation or application of the code. The board has the exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide such matters by issuing an award that is binding on the parties. The board also has the jurisdiction to reconsider its own decisions in certain circumstances.
Board hearings are less formal than court trials, and board staff will typically make an effort to assist the parties in reaching an agreement during the hearing process without requiring a board ruling. It is common for applications to the board to be voluntarily settled with the assistance of board staff.
Once the board has made a decision, it is binding on the parties. Should a board decision be ignored by any of the parties, the decision may be filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Once filed, the decision will have the same force, and be enforceable in the same manner, as an order of the Supreme Court.
For more information concerning the specific powers and remedial authority of the board, visit Guide to the Labour Relations Code – Chapter 2 – The Labour Relations Board.
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