Owners and contractors will normally insert an arbitration clause into their contract. When they do so, they rarely consider their rights of appeal from an arbitral award. The recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Kingsway Insurance Company v. Gore Mutual Insurance Company provides a good opportunity to develop a strategy towards appeal rights before signing a construction contract containing an arbitration clause.
A comparison of domestic arbitration statutes across Canada reveals a somewhat diverse regime with respect to appeals from decisions of reviewing judges. In some provinces (like Ontario), the parties can, in the arbitration agreement, entirely contract out of their right to an appeal even with leave, while in other provinces (like Manitoba) they cannot. Owners and contractors who are entering into arbitration agreements should carefully consider their rights of appeal.
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