Operational Update

Update on Operations

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Canada Industrial Relations Board modified its operations to continue to provide services to the federal labour relations and employment community.

Even though the pandemic-related restrictions have been lifted, many of the changes to the Board’s operations will continue, as they are more efficient for the Board and the parties that appear before it, and in many cases improve access to justice. These operational changes include:

  • the adoption of a hybrid hearing model (with most hearings held remotely), along with a presumption that hearings, case management conferences and mediations will be held by videoconference or teleconference rather than in person; and
  • the filing of documents through the Board’s E-Filing Web Portal. 

The Board’s Operations

The following is a list of the changes to the Board’s operations that will continue despite the lifting of public health restrictions:

Board Hearings

The Board’s hearings will be held by videoconference unless the Board decides otherwise. 
Parties who would prefer an in-person hearing should request one from the Board. 

In making its decision, the Board will consider factors such as:  

  • fairness to the parties; 
  • accessibility requirements; 
  • availability of technology; 
  • technical abilities of the parties; 
  • the issues raised in the complaint or application;
  • the cost and the time required of the Board and the parties, considering the issues raised; and
  • health and safety requirements.   

The Board can also direct that a hearing be held in person without a request from the parties.

The Board will continue to decide a significant number of cases based only on the written evidence and arguments of the parties.

Case Management Conferences

The Board will continue to hold case management conferences by teleconference unless it directs otherwise.


Mediations will continue to be held by videoconference unless the Industrial Relations Officer decides otherwise. Parties who would prefer an in-person mediation should speak to the Industrial Relations Officer.  

Please consult these links for more information:

Health and Safety

When hearings and mediations are held in person, parties will be expected to follow health and safety guidance. The current instructions for in-person hearings and mediations can be found here.

Access to Board offices and Industrial Relations Officers 

The Board’s regional offices in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver are not accessible to the public except by appointment. The Board’s office in Ottawa is publicly accessible; however, it is strongly recommended that you make an appointment to see someone before you arrive as availability of staff cannot otherwise be guaranteed.

Industrial Relations Officers are available to respond to questions, provide information and conduct mediations by teleconference or videoconference. If you wish to meet in person with an Industrial Relations Officer at one of the Board’s offices, please book an appointment with them ahead of time.

The Board can be reached at its toll-free number, through its online inquiry form or by contacting the Industrial Relations Officer assigned to the file. 

The Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver offices do not accept mail. All mail and deliveries should be sent to the Board’s office in Ottawa, Ontario. 

Please check our Contact Us page for more details.

Filing of Documents

Documents are to be filed using the Board’s E-Filing Web Portal. Arrangements can be made with an Industrial Relations Officer to meet at a Board office to hand deliver documents that cannot be filed using the Portal. Documents can also be sent by mail.  

Applications for Certification or Revocation 

Applications for the certification of a trade union or the revocation of a trade union’s certification must be filed using the Board’s E-Filing Web Portal. The application should contain photocopies of the membership evidence or confidential employee statements. Applicants must keep the originals.

The Board will determine whether representation votes will be held in person or using an electronic voting service.

Updated on July 25, 2023