Proceedings subsequent to issuance of award

Interpretation and correction of awards

Does the arbitral tribunal have the power to correct or interpret an award on its own or at the parties’ initiative? What time limits apply?

Mistakes can be corrected consistently with the Model Law (ie, within 30 days of the parties’ receipt of the award, unless the parties have agreed on an alternative period), and certain domestic acts (for example, in Ontario, an arbitral tribunal may, on its own initiative within 30 days after making an award or at a party’s request made within 30 days after receiving the award) including any clerical, typographical or computational errors, or to correct an injustice caused by an oversight on the part of the arbitral tribunal. Reconsideration of substantive matters is not permitted.

Challenge of awards

How and on what grounds can awards be challenged and set aside?

For international awards, the Model Law and New York Convention provide limited grounds for set aside of an award. For the most part, international arbitral awards cannot be appealed on the substance.

Provincial legislation provides similarly limited rights to appeal an award, although their precise wording tends to depart from the wording used in the Model Law and the New York Convention. Generally, an appeal can be brought only on a question of law, not a question of fact. In some provinces, there is no right of appeal unless all parties have agreed to such a right or consented to an appeal. In other provinces, a right of appeal may be subject to obtaining leave to appeal from a judge or superior court of the province.

Levels of appeal

How many levels of appeal are there? How long does it generally take until a challenge is decided at each level? Approximately what costs are incurred at each level? How are costs apportioned among the parties?

Parties must follow the rules of court of the particular province in applying to challenge an award (eg, in British Columbia by petition, which requires providing the award, the arbitration agreement and the alleged grounds to challenge or set aside the award).

Recognition and enforcement

What requirements exist for recognition and enforcement of domestic and foreign awards, what grounds exist for refusing recognition and enforcement, and what is the procedure?

The international legislation provides for Model Law and New York Convention recognition and enforcement rights. Creditors of international arbitral awards generally have access to the same enforcement remedies available to domestic litigants. Award creditors may apply for recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards in the appropriate provincial courts. In Ontario, the Superior Court of Justice - Commercial List is a specialised commercial court intended to provide more efficient procedures and experienced judges for commercial matters, including in respect of arbitration.

Time limits for enforcement of arbitral awards

Is there a limitation period for the enforcement of arbitral awards?

Most recently, the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia amended their respective international commercial arbitration legislation. The Ontario International Commercial Arbitration Act, 2017, SO 2017, c 2, Sch 5 came into force on 22 March 2017 and includes a number of important changes, including an express limitation period of 10 years (which reflects the limitation period applicable to domestic arbitration awards).

Other provinces may impose limitations periods, generally ranging from two years to 10 years.

Enforcement of foreign awards

What is the attitude of domestic courts to the enforcement of foreign awards set aside by the courts at the place of arbitration?

Courts will approach this issue on a case-by-case basis. Courts in the past have recognised the permissive nature of this issue under the New York Convention and, in certain circumstances, may enforce an award that has been set aside at the seat. However, Canadian courts will certainly consider the status of an award at the seat, including whether a challenge to it has not yet been determined.

Enforcement of orders by emergency arbitrators

Does your domestic arbitration legislation, case law or the rules of domestic arbitration institutions provide for the enforcement of orders by emergency arbitrators?

This issue is not expressly addressed in domestic legislation.

Cost of enforcement

What costs are incurred in enforcing awards?

The costs of enforcement can vary significantly depending on the province in which enforcement is sought, whether enforcement is contested and whether it is appealed following the initial determination.