What are administrative tribunals?
Administrative tribunals – sometimes called boards, commissions, or agencies – make decisions on laws made by our government. These laws deal with all kinds of issues in our everyday life, like employment, human rights, and the government income we receive.
When there are disputes about these decisions tribunals make, or there are disputes between people about the laws the tribunal can deal with, administrative tribunals can hold hearings to resolve the disputes.
Tribunals are usually much more informal than the court, but all of them must follow the rule of law and their own rules. Some of these rules are complex, or can only be fully understood with legal training. As well, cases decided by administrative tribunals can involve very large amounts of money. Because of this, lawyers often help and their clients at administrative tribunals.
Below are some examples of administrative tribunals in British Columbia.
BC Labour Relations Board
The BC Labour Relations Board makes decisions relating to unionized workplaces and the Labour Relations Code. These include decisions about collective bargaining, job action, union representation, collective agreements, mediation and arbitrations, unfair labour practices, and other bargaining rights.
For more information on the Labour Relations Board, please visit its website here. To find out more about the labour relations board and labour law generally, you can look here.
BC Employment Standards Branch
The Employment Standards Branch helps makes sure employers and employees follow the laws in the Employment Standards Act (ESA). The ESA sets out minimum standards for employment, like minimum wage, overtime, and working conditions for employees.
For more information on the Employment Standards Branch, please find its website here.
Human Rights Tribunal
The BC Human Rights Tribunal enforces the Human Rights Code. The purpose of the Human Rights Code is to make sure that people can participate equally in the economic, social, political and cultural life of British Columbia.
The Human Rights Code protects people from discrimination in employment based on these personal characteristics, including race, sex, disability, and age. Those who believe they’ve been discriminated against can file a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal. The BC Human Rights Tribunal can award compensation for hurt feelings and dignity, and, in cases of employment, award the employee lost wages or order that a complainant get their job back.
For more information on the BC Human Rights Tribunal, please find its website here. To find out more about human rights law generally, you can look here.
WorkSafeBC and the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal
WorkSafeBC makes a wide variety of decisions under the Workers Compensation Act and its regulations. These include decisions about compensation to workers, how much employers must pay in insurance assessments, and and penalties and other orders against employers who do not follow occupational health and safety law. Stakeholders can appeal most of these decisions to the Review Division.
The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal, or WCAT, is the final level of appeal in the workers’ compensation system in British Columbia. WCAT can reverse or change decisions made by WorkSafeBC or the Review Division. WCAT is independent from WorkSafeBC and the Review Division.
WCAT hears appeals on many issues, including workers’ compensation awards and discrimination against workers because they’ve exercised their rights under the Workers Compensation Act and its regulations.
For more information on the Workers Compensation Appeals Tribunal, please find its website here.