A grievance is a written complaint alleging that a collective agreement has been violated. Every collective agreement must set out the process for dealing with grievances, including final and binding settlement by arbitration, without a work stoppage.

The union and the employer may try to resolve grievances that arise during the life of a collective agreement on their own without the help of a third party, or by retaining a private mediator/arbitrator. If the union and employer are unable to re solve the grievance on their own, they may retain a mediator/arbitrator or they can contact the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development for assistance. The ministry can help through:

Grievance mediation

Grievance mediation is a voluntary, informal service for parties to attempt to resolve disputes about the interpretation, application or administration of a collective agreement, including alleged violations, before they refer the grievance to an arbitrator. There is no legislative requirement that parties to a collective agreement (such as, employers and unions) participate in this process.

For example, it is not a requirement under the:

  • Labour Relations Act, 1995
  • Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997
  • Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1993

Grievance mediation:

  • is confidential
  • is not subject to the rules of evidence
  • does not jeopardize or prejudice either party’s ability to start or continue arbitration proceedings (parties must still adhere to grievance procedure timelines that may be in their collective agreements)

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development offers grievance mediation for a fee to parties who voluntarily wish to participate. Both the employer and union need to agree to grievance mediation and make a joint request to the ministry to appoint a grievance mediator.

Ministry grievance mediators:

  • are neutral
  • work with the employer and the union to try to resolve grievances
  • do not issue final and binding decisions

Parties may also choose to retain a private grievance mediator to help them resolve their disputes.

Request the appointment of a grievance mediator

How to request an appointment

  1. Prepare a joint request

    The employer and the union must both agree to request the appointment of a grievance mediator, and must submit a joint, written request to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development that includes:

    • a copy of the grievance(s)
    • a copy of the collective agreement
    • contact information for each party’s representative (name, address, phone number, and email)
    • the Tax Registration Number(s), if any (also known as a Single Business Number) for the party (or parties) paying for this service
  2. Submit the request

    Send the request to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development:

    Please include Request for Grievance Mediator Appointment in the subject line.

    (Note: The maximum file size for attachments is 10 MB.)

    As staff are working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry is not currently accepting requests by verifiable mail, by fax or in person. We appreciate your patience during this time.

When we receive the request, we will contact the union and the employer to arrange the meeting and obtain payment information.

The ministry is not currently conducting grievance mediation in person due to COVID-19-related restrictions. We will contact the union and the employer by telephone to discuss options for alternate means of working together.


The cost of working with a ministry grievance mediator depends on the length and number of meetings. It is up to the union and the employer to decide whether to share the cost.

The fees (not including Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) are:

  • half day: $750 for up to 4 hours
  • full day: $1,500 for the first 4 to 8 hours, and $200 for each additional hour or part of an hour

The fee will be invoiced.

Contact us

Email: drs.director@ontario.ca
Tel: 416-326-1300
Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.