This is a brief overview of the statutory framework of arbitration in Ontario to help clarify which legislation will govern an arbitration conducted in Ontario.

Arbitration Act, 1991: The Arbitration Act applies is for domestic arbitration and applies unless another statute says it does not. The Arbitration Act sets the ground rules for arbitrations in Ontario. While parties can contract out of much of the Arbitration Act, there are a few sections of Court oversight that parties cannot contract out of.

International Commercial Arbitration Act: The International Commercial Arbitration Act incorporates the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law on June 21, 1985) into Ontario’s laws, with some modifications. One important modification is that if both parties are in Ontario, they cannot opt for the International Commercial Arbitration Act and are bound by the Arbitration Act.

Labour Relations Act, 1995: The Arbitration Act does not apply to the Labour Relations Act. Labour arbitration under a collective agreement follows its own set of rules.

Family Law Arbitration: The Arbitration Act does apply to family law arbitrations, however, there are additional requirement imposed on family law arbitrations by the Family Law Act that require family law arbitrations to follow Ontario’s family laws.

There are other arbitration-related Acts in Ontario.  At Hassell Arbitration, the focus of our business dispute arbitrations are on those under the Arbitration Act and the International Commercial Arbitration Act.