A REPORT ON THE INTRODUCTION OF PROMPT PAYMENT AND ADJUDICATION LEGISLATION IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
BRUCE REYNOLDS, SHARON VOGEL AND JAMES LITTLE 1
In early 2015, the provincial government of Ontario, Canada, committed to modernising the core piece of legislation regulating commercial relationships within the construction industry, the Construction Lien Act (the “Act”). 2 In order to achieve this goal and ultimately to inform the development of amendments to the Act, an expert review was commissioned by the government with a mandate that included investigating opportunities to improve upon the functionality of the existing legislation while also addressing issues in relation to promptness of payment and inefficiencies in dispute resolution (the “Review”).
The Review was conducted over the course of the following 16 months, and produced a report titled “Striking the Balance: Expert Review of Ontario’s Construction Lien Act” (the “Report”). 3 The Report included 101 recommendations that took into account the makeup and nature of the construction industry, input from both public and private sector stakeholders, and related experiences in international jurisdictions. Of the 101 recommendations contained in the Report, 98 were accepted by the government of Ontario and these recommendations subsequently formed the basis of extensive amendments, including renaming the Act as the Construction Act 4 (the “Construction Act”). The legislation received Royal Assent in December 2017.
The most significant changes incorporated into the new Construction Act were a prompt payment regime and a targeted form of adjudication. Generally speaking, the prompt payment solution was developed with a view to features of US federal legislation, while a UK-inspired adjudication
1 The authors would like to thank Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP associate Delia Greco as well as summer students Scott Clark and Natasha Rodrigues for their assistance in the preparation of this paper.
2 Construction Lien Act, RSO 1990, c C 30, as it then was.
3 Bruce Reynolds and Sharon Vogel, “Striking the Balance: Expert Review of Ontario’s Construction Lien Act” (30 April 2016) [Report]. https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/pubs/cla_report/ (last accessed 21 November 2018).
4 Construction Act, RSO 1990, c C 30 [Construction Act].
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