Disputes are often resolved through open communication during a mediation session

Attend a mediation session

A mediation session is a meeting where the employee and employer try and resolve the dispute by speaking together with a mediator assigned by the Employment Standards Branch. The meeting is usually by conference call but may sometimes be in person. The session can take a few hours to complete.

The employer and employee are expected to attend. The employer must make sure the person who attends as their representative has the authority to enter into a legal agreement on their behalf. If either of the parties cannot attend, the matter may proceed to a complaint hearing or investigation.

Prepare for the session

Gather information. Be prepared to tell your story. Find proof that will support your case. This could include things like wage statements, timesheets, text messages or emails. The Employment Standards Branch may also request specific information.

Invite someone to come with you. Consider inviting someone to support you during the session like a friend, spouse, accountant, legal counsel, or translator. The mediator may limit participation by others.

During the session

The mediator leads the session. They invite both parties to:

  • Tell their story and explain their position
  • Identify what the specific problems or issues are
  • Determine what they agree or disagree about
  • Say what they want to happen as a result of the mediation

The mediator will not represent either party, act as an adviser, or provide legal advice. They do not have authority to make a final decision or ruling.

Both parties should speak openly. Any discussion about solutions to resolve the complaint is held "off the record", which means it will not be part of the official record if the matter goes to a complaint hearing. This way, both parties can feel free to discuss solutions to help resolve the complaint without worrying that what they say could be used against them later.

At the end of the session

If the dispute is resolved, the mediator will write a settlement agreement that sets out what was agreed between the employer and the employee. Both parties sign the agreement and receive a copy. It is a legally binding document – just like a court judgment.

If the dispute is not resolved, the issue will proceed to a complaint hearing or investigation.