Employment Standards Wage Recovery Appeal – Referral by the Head of a request for review

Table of contents

    IMPORTANT: The information on this page only applies if you have requested that the Head of Compliance and Enforcement (the Head) review a:

    • Notice of Unfounded Complaint; 
    • Notice of Voluntary Compliance; or 
    • Payment Order

    AND the Head has sent the request to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (the Board) to decide.  

    If you have requested a review by the Head and the Head has made a decision, go to the Wage Recovery Appeal – Appeal of a Review Decision Made by the Head page

    If you have requested a review by the Head and have not received a response, you can contact the Labour Program of Employment and Social Development Canada (the Labour Program) to find out the status of your request.

    If you believe that your employer owes you wages or other amounts, you must first file a complaint with the Labour Program. The Board can only get involved once the Labour Program has issued a Notice of Unfounded Complaint, a Notice of Voluntary Compliance or a Payment Order and the Head has:

    • reviewed and confirmed the Notice of Unfounded Complaint, Notice of Voluntary Compliance or Payment Order;
    • reviewed and changed or cancelled the Payment Order; or 
    • decided not to review the Notice of Unfounded Complaint, Notice of Voluntary Compliance or Payment Order and referred the request for review to the Board.

    Please visit the main Wage Recovery Appeals page for a description of the process that needs to be followed.

    What happens after my request for review is sent to the Board?

    • The Labour Program will provide the Board with a copy of the file that it used to make its decision.
    • If the request is to review a Payment Order, the Board will ask the Labour Program whether the employer has paid the amount owing in the Payment Order and the administrative fee.


      Whichever is greater: $200.00 or 15 per cent of the payment order. 

    • Once the Board has confirmed payment by the employer (if necessary), it will send you a letter to let you know that your request for review has been referred to the Board. The Board will send a copy of this letter to the other parties affected by the request for review.
    • If either of these parties has hired a representative, such as a lawyer, the letter will be sent to the representative. It is the representative’s obligation to keep the party that they represent up to date. 
    • The letter will: 
      • contain a copy of the file that was received from the Labour Program;
      • include a case file number; 
      • tell you when further submissions must be received by the Board;
      • inform the parties of the name and contact information of the Board’s Industrial Relations Officer (IRO) who will assist the Board and the parties with the appeal; and  


        The parties are responsible for filing their arguments and documents. The IRO answers questions that the parties have and assists them to reach a settlement whenever possible.

    • advise the parties how much time they have to file any additional information or documents (submissions).


      Parties who want to file additional documents or submissions must do so within 15 calendar days of receiving the Board’s letter.    

      The other parties will then have 10 calendar days to reply to those documents and submissions.

      If the Labour Program chooses to file additional evidence and submissions, the parties will have 10 days to reply to those submissions, starting from when they were received.

    • It is important to read the letter that the Board sends to you.
    • IMPORTANT: If you need more time to file submissions, you need to write to the Board and ask it for an extension of time. You need to tell the Board why you can’t meet the deadline. If the Board does not allow the extension, it may not consider documents that are filed after that date.
    • ALSO IMPORTANT: The submissions should clearly explain why the party agrees, or does not agree, with the issuance of the Payment Order, Notice of Voluntary Compliance or Notice of Unfounded Complaint. You should point out to the Board where you think the Labour Program made mistakes in its assessment of the complaint.

    Who is involved?

    • The employee who originally complained to the Labour Program about the wages or other amounts owing.   
    • The employer of the employee who complained to the Labour Program about the wages or other amounts owing. Depending on whether it is the employee or the employer who is unsatisfied with the Notice of Unfounded Complaint, the Notice of Voluntary Compliance or the Payment Order, the employee may be the applicant or the respondent. 
      • The applicant and the respondent are sometimes referred to as the parties.
    • The Labour Program may also decide to participate in the appeal as a party.
    • The Industrial Relations Officer (IRO) – for more information on the role of the IRO, click here.   
    • The decision maker appointed by the Chairperson to hear and decide the appeal

    Can I be represented by someone else?

    • Yes, each party can be represented by the person of their choice.
    • The Board does not provide lawyers to assist parties.  
    • The Industrial Relations Officer working on the file can help parties understand the process and what they need to do to prepare for a hearing, but they are impartial and do not provide legal or strategic advice as a lawyer would.
    • The Board recognizes that parties who represent themselves may not know the law or the process and may find it intimidating to appear before the Board. The Board will try to make the process as simple as possible given the nature of the dispute.
    • It is important that you attend any case management conferences that the Board organizes.  These conferences are often used by the Board to explain the process and what the Board will expect from the parties at a hearing. 

    How do I file my documents, representations, or evidence?

    • All complaints, applications, responses, replies, and supporting documents are filed using the Board’s E-Filing Web Portal.  This is the fastest and most accurate way to file documents with the Board. It is not necessary to send the Board a paper copy of documents that have been e-filed with the Board. 
    • Each party must send all other parties a copy of any document that they file with the Board. This can be done by email, by mail, by registered mail, by courier, or by hand.  
    • When you file documents with the Board, you must tell the Board how and when you sent the documents that you are filing to the other parties. 

    Is the information in my file confidential?

    • Parties who file documents with the Board are participating in a public hearing. This means that the documents that are in the file are available to the public. 
    • If a party is concerned about some of the information that they are filing with the Board being available to the public, that person can ask the Board to issue a confidentiality order. If the request is granted, the information that is protected will not be publicly available. For more information, you can refer to the Board’s Policy on Openness and Privacy or contact the Industrial Relations Officer responsible for your case. 

    Will there be mediation?

    • Mediation is part of the Board’s process. It is recommended that parties attempt to mediate their dispute. Many of the Board’s files are settled at the mediation stage. Mediation allows the parties to settle the dispute on their terms and resolves the matter faster than if the file has to go to a Board member for a decision.
    • The Industrial Relations Officer assigned to your file will contact you to discuss the mediation options offered at the Board.
    • For more information on the mediation process, please click here

    Will there be a hearing?

    • Not necessarily. In many cases, the Board can make a decision based on the documents on file, without holding a hearing. This is part of the reason why written submissions should be as complete as possible. This is true even if the parties request a hearing. 
    • If the Board decides to hold a hearing, it will advise the parties of the date, time, and location of the hearing in advance, usually after holding a Case Management Conference. 
    • For more information on the Board’s hearing process, please click here.

    When will I get the decision?

    • The Board will notify you in writing of its decision.  
    • The time that it takes the Board to issue a decision can vary depending on the complexity of the case. 
    • All important decisions of the Board are published on the Decisions page. 
    • You can consult the Board’s performance statistics for more information on the average time it takes the Board to issue a decision after an application is filed.

    What can the Board order?

    • The Board can:
      • confirm (agree with) the decision;
      • rescind (overturn) the decision; or 
      • vary (change) the decision. 
    • If the employee is successful, the Board will order that the employer pay the employee the wages or amounts found to be owing.
    • If the employer is appealing a Payment Order and the appeal is successful, the Board will order that the amount paid to the Labour Program when the request for review was filed be returned to the employer. The administrative fee will be recalculated, and any overpayment will be returned.
    • If the employer is appealing a Payment Order and the appeal is not successful, the Board will order that the amount paid to the Labour Program when the request for review was filed be paid to the employee. The Labour Program will keep the administrative fee.

    Is the Board’s decision final?

    The Board’s decisions are final and can only be reviewed in very specific circumstances.

    • If you believe that a Board decision is unreasonable, you can apply to the Federal Court of Appeal for judicial review; or
    • If you believe the Board has made a serious error and should correct its original decision, you can file an application for reconsideration.

    In both cases, there is a strict 30 calendar day deadline to file your application from the date of the decision.

    Follow these links for more information on Applications for Reconsideration and Applications for Judicial Review.