Accounting for Law
Civil Litigation, Construction

New construction laws a boon for industry: Vickerman

Recent changes to Ontario’s construction laws — including a new interim adjudication process to resolve payment disputes and the implementation of prompt payment rules that ensure construction businesses and workers will get paid on time — will ensure projects move ahead with minimal delay, Toronto litigator Jessica Vickerman tells The Lawyer’s Daily.

“[The interim adjudication] will allow parties to resolve complaints while the project is ongoing so as to avoid stoppages of work where a party withdraws its services and to avoid delays to the project generally while a dispute is gathering steam,” says Vickerman, an associate with the Toronto office of Shibley Righton LLP.

“The idea is going to head it off and at least keep the project moving and you can revisit the dispute later on, but not to get to the point where a project grinds to a halt.”

As the article explains, the Construction Lien Amendment Act was passed by the Ontario legislature Dec. 5, updating the original legislation from 1983.

Vickerman says part of “the overall thrust” of the Act is to allow those involved in a construction contract a better opportunity to resolve their disputes without having to resort to litigation.

“In terms of extending deadlines, my understanding is they looked around at other provinces and determined the deadlines in Ontario were tighter than those in other areas,” she says. “So by extending the deadline, the idea is to encourage the parties to a dispute to resolve the matter rather than to have it in court so quickly. The idea is that it is going to decrease or take some pressure off those who encourage parties to resolve the matter without staring down the shotgun of an impending lien deadline.”

Amendments to modernize the lien and holdback process will be introduced first, followed by the prompt payment rules and the adjudication process, the article notes.

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