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Ontario|Arbitration / Mediation
501 Is the Arbitrator's decision final & binding? In an arbitration, the disputants present their case or cause before an arbitrator who is a neutral third party. The arbitrator makes a decision as to who is right or wrong and what relief will be awarded to the aggrieved party. Although a decision or award of an arbitrator is usually binding and enforceable, as would be a court order, it is important to consult the appropriate legislation. The 3 sources of legislation that may apply are: 1) provincial domestic arbitration legislation, 2) provincial international commercial arbitration legislation, or 3) federal commercial arbitration legislation.
Sometimes, however, the parties may wish to go through a process similar to an arbitration process but do not wish the decision of the arbitrator to be final and binding. In such cases, the goal is to have the neutral third party make a non-binding assessment of each party's respective rights and make an evaluation of the compensation. In such cases, it is probably best to refer to the process as an "evaluation" rather than an arbitration; and to refer to the individual making the evaluation as a neutral third party rather than an arbitrator. Avoiding the words "arbitration and arbitrator" will help to avoid misunderstanding or being drawn inadvertently into some legislative arbitration framework.
In the case of an evaluation, the parties usually present written material and documents to the neutral "evaluator" for his or her review. The evaluation is non-binding and is usually used to assist the parties in reaching a settlement.
It should be understood that there are no limits to the design of dispute resolution processes. While one may be called an arbitration and another an evaluation or assessment, in fact, upon closer scrutiny, they may not differ much from one another except for the fact that in the former case the decision is binding and in the latter it is not.
For legal assistance with an arbitration, you should consult a lawyer. For more information about arbitrations, refer to other sections of Legal Line .