Thomas G. Heintzman, O.C., Q.C., FCIArb

Does The CCDC Dispute Resolution Clause Require Arbitration?

Most building contracts contain dispute resolution clauses which refer to arbitration.  A dispute resolution clause can be mandatory – it can require arbitration – or it can be permissive – it can permit arbitration if all parties agree to arbitration when the dispute arises. One would think that the most important thing to make clear […]

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When Is A Commercial Arbitration Decision Unreasonable?

Canadian courts will generally over-rule a decision of a domestic arbitral tribunal only if the decision is “unreasonable.”  What does this word mean? Is the standard of “unreasonableness” different in a commercial arbitration than, say, in a labour or employment arbitration?  If the arbitral award is found to fall within the bounds of reasonableness by […]

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May An Order Dismissing A Stay Motion Be Appealed?

In Canada, there has been a controversy about appeals from stay motion decisions in the context of arbitration clauses.  The issue is whether a decision of a motion judge denying the stay of an action, when the moving party relies on an arbitration agreement, may be appealed to the Court of Appeal. The controversy arises […]

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What Are The Required Elements Of Arbitration and Mediation Clauses For Franchise Agreements?

The End of Term Spring Dinner meeting of the Franchise Section of the Ontario Bar Association was held on June 10, 2013. I spoke at that meeting about Arbitration and Mediation clauses for Franchise Agreements. In the presentation I proposed three draft arbitration and mediation clauses for inclusion in franchise agreements. One of the arbitration […]

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When Does An Arbitration Clause Require Arbitration?

Whether an arbitration agreement requires, or only permits, arbitration is a continuing issue under arbitration law. In building contracts, this issue often arises when the agreement states that arbitration will follow mediation or the involvement of the consultant on the project. The questions that can arise is whether arbitration is mandatory if mediation or the […]

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Is A “May Arbitrate” Clause Mandatory Or Permissive?

What is the meaning of an arbitration clause which states that a dispute “may be determined by arbitration”?   Does the clause mean that the arbitration process is permitted but not mandatory?  Or does the word “may” mean that the parties do not have to have a dispute, but if they do, the arbitration clause applies? […]

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Who Decides If There Is An Appeal From A Court Order Requiring Arbitration: The Parties Or The Court?

One of the first issues that can arise in a dispute is whether arbitration or court proceedings must be pursued. The issue will often arise from a motion by a defendant in the action.  The defendant will bring a motion to stay or dismiss the action on the basis that the dispute must be arbitrated. […]

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Does A Mediation Agreement Suspend The Limitation Period Or The Period To Set Down A Lien For Trial?

An agreement to mediate is often found in arbitration and building contracts. Yet, the impact of mediation upon court or arbitral proceedings is uncertain. Does an agreement to mediate mean that, until the mediation occurs, there is no cause of action and therefore there is no entitlement to commence arbitration or an action?  In that […]

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Is An Agreement To Mediate Enforceable?

A recurring issue in arbitration and construction law is whether an agreement to mediate is enforceable. That is because an arbitration or building contract may contain a clause imposing an obligation to mediate before arbitrating. If the agreement to mediate is enforceable, that likely has certain consequences.  The limitation period is likely not running and […]

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Is A Third Party Obliged To Bring Its Claim Under An Arbitration Agreement?

A recurring issue in arbitration law is whether a third party is bound to assert his or her claims by way of arbitration, even though the third party is not a party to the arbitration agreement. In Yaworski v. Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, the Alberta Court of Appeal recently held that, where a limited partnership […]

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