Reconsideration of a Board Decision

Board decisions are final and can only be changed in limited circumstances. If you believe the Board’s decision is unreasonable, you can file an Application for Judicial Review with the Federal Court of Appeal. If you believe the Board made a serious mistake and should correct its original decision, you can ask it to reconsider its decision.

This type of application is called an Application for Reconsideration. Information on how to file an Application for Judicial Review can be found here

Reconsideration is not a prerequisite to a judicial review application.

The following chart compares the two types of applications:

  Application for Reconsideration Application for Judicial Review
Filing location
  • Filed with the Board. 
  • Filed with the Federal Court of Appeal.
Deadline for filing
  • 30 calendar days from the date of the decision that you are asking the Board to review.
  • 30 calendar days from the date of the decision that you are asking the Federal Court of Appeal to review.
How it will be handled
  • The Board only exercises its discretion to reconsider a decision in very narrow circumstances.
  • The Federal Court of Appeal will look at the Board’s decision to see whether it was reasonable.
  • The other party to the original decision. The Board is NOT the respondent.
  • The other party to the original decision. The Board is NOT the respondent.
Filing fee No fee. $160.00.

This page answers questions regarding the process for asking the Board to reconsider its decision, including how you apply for reconsideration, the deadline for filing the application, and what you need to prove for the Board to examine your application.

The Board’s decision in Totten, 2024 CIRB 1110, explains the reconsideration process in detail.

Who can ask the board to reconsider its decision?

Both the complainant (who is sometimes called an applicant, depending on the type of matter filed with the Board) and the respondent can ask the Board to reconsider its decision and file an Application for Reconsideration. Persons or organizations who have been given intervenor status cannot ask the Board to reconsider its decision.

Very rarely, the Board will initiate its own reconsideration of a decision, without being asked by a party. When this happens, the parties are usually notified and provided with an opportunity to make submissions.

Is there a deadline to ask the Board to reconsider its decision?

Yes. Applications for Reconsideration must be filed within 30 calendar days from the date of the decision that you want the Board to review. 

If you did not file the application within 30 calendar days from the date of the decision, you must clearly explain to the Board why you have not been able to file the application within the 30‑day time limit. The Board will only extend the time limit in extraordinary circumstances. If the Board finds that the application is untimely and that there are insufficient reasons to extend the time limit for filing, it will summarily dismiss the application.

What do I need to prove for my application to be successful?

The reconsideration process is not an appeal process. It is subject to a discretionary power that the Board only exercises in very narrow circumstances. This is because the Board’s decisions are meant to be final.

The Board will only entertain an application if you raise a serious question on one of the following grounds in a persuasive manner. If that is not the case, the Board will summarily dismiss the application with a brief letter decision.

For the Board to exercise its discretion to entertain your application, you need to prove that at least one of the following things happened:

  1. A new fact has come to light that was not known when the Board made its original decision and that could not have been known at the time. This new fact must be important enough that it would have changed the Board’s decision.
  2. The Board made a mistake of law or policy that is so serious it raises concerns regarding the interpretation or application of the Canada Labour Code. For example, the Board considered the wrong sections of the Code when it made its decision, or it did not follow its own existing decisions on the same issue without explaining its reasons for not doing so.
  3. The Board’s process compromised procedural fairness. The Board will only intervene on this ground if the applicant was not given the opportunity to participate in the process or if the applicant raises serious allegations of bias that are based on actual supporting facts and evidence.

As the applicant, you have the onus to establish one of the above-mentioned grounds for reconsideration. The threshold for reconsideration is high, and the Board rarely intervenes to review or change its previous decisions.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please review the following information carefully before filing an Application for Reconsideration:

  • The Board will NOT reconsider the decision in your favour if the arguments in the Application for Reconsideration are the same arguments that were before the original panel of the Board or additional arguments that could have been presented to the original panel.

  • The Board will NOT reconsider a decision in your favour if your only argument is that you had asked for an oral hearing and the request was not granted.

  • If you neglected or refused to provide your position or information in writing in your original file, you will not be able to raise a breach of the principles of procedural fairness as a ground for reconsideration.

  • If you are going to argue that the Board member or members that heard the original matter was or were biased, you need to prove that through facts and evidence. If you had the chance to raise that argument during the hearing of the original matter and you did not do so, your Application for Reconsideration on that ground will likely be dismissed.

How do I file my application for reconsideration?

The Board does not have a form for the Application for Reconsideration. You should therefore write a letter to the Board. The letter should be saved in PDF format and sent to the Board via its E-Filing Web Portal.  

If you require assistance in filing the application, you can contact the Industrial Relations Officer who assisted you with the matter before the Board, or you can contact the Board

Remember that you need to send a copy of your Application for Reconsideration to all other parties before you file it with the Board.

What information do I include in the letter?

Because there is no form to help you, make sure you include all the following information in the letter:

  • Your name, address, email address, and telephone number.
  • If you are being represented by someone else, their name and contact information (address, email address, and telephone number).
  • A copy of the original decision that you are asking the Board to reconsider, or the citation of the original decision (e.g., Letter Decision no. XXXX or Reasons for Decision no. XXXX and the date of the decision).
  • The name or names of the other party or parties, with their contact information (address, email address, and telephone number).
  • Information, evidence and arguments explaining clearly why you believe the Board should exercise its discretion and correct its original decision. For more on this, see the section above called “What do I need to prove for my application to be successful?”
  • If you want the Board to hold an oral hearing, you need to ask it to do so and explain why you would like an oral hearing. Most Applications for Reconsideration are decided by the Board based on the written materials that are filed by the parties.
  • What you want the Board to order if you are successful. To find out what the Board can order, see the section called “What can the Board order?” below.

What happens after I file my application?

A letter acknowledging receipt of the application will be sent out to all parties, including any intervenors. No submissions will be required at that time.  

A panel of the Board will first examine the Application for Reconsideration to determine whether it will proceed with the application. This is a preliminary review process where the Board assesses the timeliness of the application and the arguments made by the applicant.

If the Board finds that the Application for Reconsideration has been filed outside the 30-day time limit or that it does not raise any of the three grounds mentioned above in a persuasive manner, the Board will not entertain the application and will summarily dismiss it with a brief letter decision, without asking the respondent to respond to the application.

If the Board finds that the application has been filed within the 30-day time limit and that one of the three grounds has been raised in a persuasive manner, it will ask for submissions from the respondent and decide the matter on its merits. The Board will give the respondent 15 calendar days to respond to the application (called the response) and the person who filed the application 10 calendar days after that to reply to anything the respondent filed (called the reply).

The Board may refuse to consider any responses or replies received after the prescribed time limit unless an extension is justified and the Board grants the extension.

An Industrial Relations Officer (IRO) will be assigned to the file. This will likely be the same IRO who worked on the original file, but it does not have to be. The IRO will help the parties to complete the file and will offer to mediate if they think it would be helpful.

The Board will usually make its decision based on the documents filed.

What can the Board order?

When the Board receives an Application for Reconsideration, it can:

  • summarily dismiss the application;
  • confirm the decision; 
  • overturn part of the decision;
  • overturn the entire decision; or
  • order a new hearing.

What happens to the original order while the Application for Reconsideration is going through the Board’s process?

Until a new decision is issued by the Board, the original decision stands. That means that any orders given by the Board in the original decision are still in effect and must be followed.