Basic rules

  • An appeal is a request to reverse or modify an Employment Standards decision resulting from a:
    • complaint investigation
    • compliance enforcement measure
    • administrative penalty
  • Appeals are made to the Director of Employment Standards or to the appeal body.
  • Decisions on valid appeals will be made by the Director, a reviewing officer, or the appeal body.
  • An appeal can be made by any of the following:
    • employer
    • corporate director of a company
    • employee
  • Parties involved in an appeal are encouraged to come to a voluntary agreement at any point.

All appeals must be made in writing within 21 days after the date a party is served with a notice from Employment Standards.

Appeals by employees

Employees can appeal:

  • to the Director with respect to a decision denying their complaint:
    • the Director or a reviewing officer may review this appeal
  • to the appeal body regarding the following issues:
    • an order for payment of wages, overtime, general holiday pay, vacation pay or termination pay
    • a Director’s collection notice
    • a Director’s order for reinstatement or compensation

Appeals by employers

Employers can appeal to the appeal body regarding the following issues:

  • an order for payment of wages, overtime pay, general holiday pay, vacation pay or termination pay
  • a single employer declaration
  • a Director’s collection notice
  • a Director’s order for reinstatement or compensation
  • a notice of administrative penalty
  • a Director’s cancellation of an hours of work averaging agreement

If an employer receives and wishes to appeal more than one notice or declaration, separate appeals must be filed for each item being appealed.

An employer’s appeal of an order must include payment of an appeal deposit of the full amount the employer is required to pay under the Employment Standards Code, including any fees owed to the Minister of Finance and the total amount found owing to an employee. An employer’s appeal of a notice of administrative penalty must include payment of an appeal fee equal to 10% of the penalty imposed, or $100 (whichever is greater).

The appeal deposit for an order  is held in trust pending the resolution of the appeal. Once the appeal is resolved, it normally takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks for the deposit to be paid out.

The appeal fee for a notice of administrative penalty is only refunded in the case of a successful appeal.

Appeals by corporate directors

Corporate directors may appeal a certificate received from Employment Standards to the appeal body. Valid reasons of appeal are limited to the following:

  • the person appealing wasn’t a director of the corporation at that time
  • the director reasonably believed the corporation could have paid the debt
  • more than 2 years have passed since the person ceased to be a director of the company

A corporate director who appeals a certificate is limited to challenging the certificate on the basis of the above reasons. The courts have typically only allowed challenges to the underlying order where a separate appeal is filed by the corporate employer.

In order to be valid, an appeal of a certificate must include payment of an appeal deposit in the amount of the wages the corporate director, or former director, is required to pay to the employee as per the certificate.

The appeal deposit is held in trust pending the resolution of the appeal.

Filing an appeal

  • Whether appealing to the Director or the appeal body, an appeal form must meet the following requirements to be valid:
    • be filed in writing with the Registrar of Appeals within 21 days after service of the document
    • clearly state the reasons for appeal and why an error is believed to have occurred
    • include any fees and amount(s) required to be paid (if applicable)
  • The employer and employee (if applicable), or appellant, will be notified in writing whether the appeal is deemed valid or not.
  • Valid appeals are reviewed in the order that they are received.

How to file an appeal

The fastest and easiest way to file an appeal is to use the new online application system.

COVID-19 response

NOTE – Due to the current high demand for MyAlberta Digital ID services, users may experience slowdowns in accessing Employment Standards complaint and appeal systems. We are working to resolve this problem as quickly as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience.

We are currently unable to accept hand delivered appeals. We encourage you to use the online application system but you can also file an appeal using mail, email, or fax.

Calgary Location

Fax: 780-644-7173

Suite 150, Elveden Centre
717 7 Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta  T2P 0Z3

Edmonton Location

Fax: 780-644-7173

2nd Floor, 9925 Building
9925 109 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta  T5K 2J8

For more information about Alberta’s COVID-19 response, visit COVID-19 info for Albertans.

After filing an appeal to an appeal body

For appeals to an appeal body, a notice of hearing will be sent to the parties providing them with the following information with respect to the hearing:

  • date
  • time
  • location

The parties are encouraged to participate in discussions with an appeals officer prior to the hearing date to discuss the matter being appealed, review relevant documents provided as evidence and discuss a voluntary resolution.

Hearings are held at the Labour Relations Board’s office before the appeal body. At a hearing, the parties present evidence under oath and may call upon witnesses to provide testimony.

Appeal body authority

If the appellant fails to appear at the hearing, the appeal body may:

  • declare the appeal abandoned, or
  • adjourn the matter

If any other person fails to appear at the hearing, the appeal body may adjourn the matter or proceed in the person’s absence.

The appeal body may:

  • receive evidence and request the attendance of witnesses
  • confirm, revoke or change anything that is the subject of the appeal
  • do anything the Director or officer could have done under the Employment Standards Code
  • order an employer or employee to attend an Employment Standards educational program
  • award costs

After hearing an appeal, the appeal body issues a written decision to the parties. There is no appeal of an appeal body’s decision.

After filing an appeal to the Director

Employee appeals of a decision that no earnings are owed to them are reviewed by the Director or a reviewing officer. Following the review, the decision may be confirmed or, if overturned, an order for payment of earnings may be issued. If an order for payment is issued, it may be appealed by either party to the appeal body.

How the law applies

Part 3, Division 4 of the Employment Standards Code provides more information on appeals. Sections of the Regulation also address rules and processes around appeals.

Disclaimer: In the event of any discrepancy between this information and Alberta Employment Standards legislation, the legislation is considered correct.