The presiding OLRB Vice-Chair may decide to hold a consultation rather than a full hearing. In a consultation, the Vice-Chair takes a much more active role, questioning the parties and their representatives, defining issues, expressing views and making preliminary rulings about the issues in dispute. Giving evidence under oath and cross-examination of witnesses are not normally part of a consultation. Despite its informality, however, the consultation has the same legal effect and consequences of a hearing.
Upon conclusion of the hearing or consultation, the OLRB Vice-Chair will issue a written decision that is legally binding upon all parties to the application. If the OLRB rules in the employee’s favour, it can order a wide range of remedies, including reinstatement, payment of lost wages, removing warning letters from an employee’s file, and payment of any other financial losses the employee may have suffered from the employer’s conduct. It is not the OLRB’s practice to have the “loser” pay the “winner’s” costs.
Where the Board is satisfied that a case can be decided on the basis of the material before it, and having regard to the need for expedition in labour relations matters, the Board may decide an application by limiting the parties' opportunities to present their evidence or to make their submissions, or without a hearing.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1739 v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (2007) 86 O.R. (3d) 508,  OLRB Rep. May/June 669 – The Board’s use of an expedited proceeding pursuant to the Rule was upheld by the court. The nature of the issue facing the Board required an expedited procedure, and the Board did not exceed its jurisdiction as there was evidence before it that permitted it to make a determination following the consultation process. The court also noted that the Board “operates in a complex, dynamic, and highly fluid environment where expeditious rulings and informal and accessible procedures are often essential to maintaining the delicate balance between the parties’ various interests.”
50. (1) Despite any grievance or arbitration provision in a collective agreement or deemed to be included in the collective agreement under section 48, the parties to the collective agreement may, at any time, agree to refer one or more grievances under the collective agreement to a single mediator-arbitrator for the purpose of resolving the grievances in an expeditious and informal manner.
(2) The parties shall not refer a grievance to a mediator- arbitrator unless they have agreed upon the nature of any issues in dispute.
Appointment by Minister
(3) The parties may jointly request the Minister to appoint a mediator-arbitrator if they are unable to agree upon one and the Minister shall make the appointment.
Proceedings to begin
(4) Subject to subsection (5), a mediator-arbitrator appointed by the Minister shall begin proceedings within 30 days after being appointed.
(5) The Minister may direct a mediator-arbitrator appointed by him or her to begin proceedings on such date as the parties jointly request.
(6) The mediator-arbitrator shall endeavour to assist the parties to settle the grievance by mediation.
(7) If the parties are Unable to settle the grievance by mediation, the mediator-arbitrator shall endeavour to assist the parties to agree upon the material facts in dispute and then shall determine the grievance by arbitration.
(8) When determining the grievance by arbitration, the mediator-arbitrator may limit the nature and extent of evidence and submissions and may impose such conditions as he or she considers appropriate.
Time for decision
(9) The mediator-arbitrator shall give a succinct decision within five days after completing proceedings on the grievance submitted to arbitration.
(10) Subsections 48 (12) to (19) apply with respect to a mediator-arbitrator and a settlement, determination or decision under this section. 1992, c. 21, s. 25; 1995, c. 1, Sched., s. 50, in force November 10, 1995 (R.A.).