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How To Find Canadian Labour Arbitration Information: Labour Arbitration

What is Labour Arbitration?

Most labour arbitration arises due to a dispute between a union and employer about interpretation or application of the collective agreement at a workplace. When the union and employer cannot resolve a dispute, it can be referred to an Arbitrator. The Arbitrator is often agreed upon by the two parties in the dispute-- the union and the employer. The Arbitrator renders a decision which is binding on the two parties. The decision is also known as “the award” and is usually in writing.

Search the Labour Spectrum Essential database when you want to find “awards” on Arbitration cases. This tutorial will introduce you to searching the database.

Labour Spectrum Essential database features:

  • Brown and Beatty’s Canadian Labour Arbitration. 
  • Labour Arbitration Cases (LAC’s) from 1948 – present.  The LAC is a weekly series of reports on grievance awards from all Canadian provinces and jurisdictions.
  • Canadian Labour Arbitration Summaries (CLAS's).
  • Labour-related Case law as cited in Canadian Labour Arbitration and Dominion Law Reports.
  • Labour legislation, such as provincial labour standards.

Connect to the database.

 Go to the Library Home Page.  Click on the Databases tab.

Enter the database title--labour spectrum--in the Find Database by Title text box. Click Find.

On the next page, click on the Labour Spectrum Essential link to connect.


If you are connecting to a database from home, you will first be prompted to enter information so that the system recognizes you. Enter your last name in lower case letters and the barcode from your picture ID OR enter your username and password [E-mail/WebCT] login information. Click Submit Query.


Scroll through the License Agreement that appears and click Accept to start.  You may have to do so more than once.  You should see the home page of Labour Spectrum Essential.

Searching Labour Spectrum Essential:

 From the Labour Spectrum Essential homepage, you can select from a number of search options.    Find out more about possible searches by consulting the Help screen.  In this tutorial, we will briefly explore only one type of search--“Brown and Beatty”.

 Brown and Beatty search.  Brown & Beatty’s Canadian Labour Arbitration provides short overviews of topics and also acts as a digest to selected Labour Arbitration Cases (LAC’s) and Labour Arbitration Summaries (CLAS’s) along with some court decisions. It’s often a good place to begin your search.  Click on the Commentary Search option.


Enter a key term(s) or phrase in the text box.  Check the Canadian Labour Arbitration (Brown & Beatty) box and click Search.

 Example Discuss the right of union or management for access to particulars (i.e. information) prior to the arbitration hearing.

In this example, the term particulars was entered.



This search yields a number of entries worth looking at. For this example, let’s look at only one entry:  -- Ordering Particulars -- by clicking on that line. 


Read the topic overview.  Numbered footnotes lead to citations of cases which illustrate the point being made in Brown and Beatty. In many instances, you can then link directly to the full-text of the case award being cited.


Example:  Footnote 1 cites several case awards.  Let’s go to the full text of the first case in this footnote.


Read the case award. Use the Navigation Buttons to print, e-mail, or save documents.  The single navigation button allows you to print, e-mail, or save the document currently displayed.  You can also deal with multiple documents. Click the pdf navigation button to determine if the document is also be available in pdf format. The Help screen provides  further information about all Navigation buttons.

 Also, watch for other references to applicable entries in Brown and Beatty.  Click on those links to read other entries


Case award:


Here’s an example showing a more complicated search than the first one.

Example:  The effect of the employee’s right under the collective agreement to have union representation in a discipline situation.

This example contains several key terms:  union representation and discipline.  Using the text box in the Commentary search, here’s how this search would look.  In this case, we want to search for the terms discipline or disciplinary, so we “nested” them in brackets and specified that one OR the other would be fine.        

(discipline or disciplinary) and union representation


There are several entries in this search that are worth looking at. For this example, let's look at the entry on Union Representation-- by clicking on that line.

Here is the topic overview and numbered footnotes.  In addition to referring to L.A.C.'s, Brown and Beatty’s commentary also references C.L.A.S.  Here’s an example:

This is an example of a Canadian Labour Arbitration Summary [C.L.A.S.]




Additional resources


Sack Goldblatt Mitchell. Words and phrases:  a dictionary of collective agreement language. (TorontoLancaster House, c1993).
     Archer    KE 3193 A57 S34 1993

MacKillop, Malcolm.  Legalese with ease:  legal terms for human resources professionals.  (TorontoCCH Canadian, 2003).
     Archer Reference (main floor)    KE 3107.3 M32 2003

  Style guide:

 McGill Law JournalCanadian guide to uniform legal citation, 7th ed. (Scarborough, ON:  Thomson Carswell, 2006). 
     Archer     KE 259 C35

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