Arbitrators have the power to deal with any dispute about a collective agreement. This includes ruling on the meaning of any part of the agreement, determining if the agreement applies and deciding whether it was breached. Arbitrators can also decide if they have the authority to deal with an issue.
Arbitrators have the same powers courts have when deciding civil (non-criminal) cases. They can require witnesses to testify and to bring documents or other relevant items to the hearing. They can consider written evidence in the form of Affidavits. They can also decide to accept evidence that would not be allowed in a court case. They can go to the workplace to inspect anything in the workplace and to question anyone at the workplace. They can use mediation or other means to encourage the parties to settle their dispute.
An Arbitrator can allow a grievance to go ahead even if time limits set out in the collective agreement have passed. An Arbitrator can reject a grievance if there was an unreasonable delay by the person bringing forward the complaint and this delay has harmed the other party’s case.
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