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On December 5th the Ontario Construction Lien Amendment Act, was passed with a unanimous vote at Queen's Park.  This marks a pivotal moment in which the rights and securities of Ontario's workers will now be held to a much higher standard.

Bill 142 was first introduced this past spring and was worked on tirelessly over the remainder of the year, always remaining a priority on the legislative agenda. Having attained royal assent before the house adjourns for the season, now promises a new year where the 400,000+ workers of Ontario's construction sector will begin to see the effects of a prompt payment system that looks out for their livelihood. The bill will also bring added adjudication measures that will significantly reduce payment delays, which have been identified as the biggest barrier to investment, improved productivity, and increased employment in the construction industry.

The act includes new prompt payment rules to ensure Ontario construction businesses and workers get paid on time for the work they do. The changes will also modernize the lien and holdback process, help protect creditors and set out a new adjudication process to resolve payment disputes faster.

Key changes include:

  • Providing more time for contractors and subcontractors to resolve their disputes outside of court by extending timelines to file liens and start court actions from 90 days to 150 days
  • Ensuring contractors and subcontractors know when to expect full payment by requiring holdback funds to be paid as soon as the deadline to file a lien passes
  • Protecting subcontractors and workers if the general contractor files for bankruptcy by requiring surety bonding on public sector projects above a certain amount
  • Allowing condominium unit owners to remove liens from their unit in relation to common elements (e.g., corridors, lobbies, etc.)
  • Referring construction lien claims under $25,000 to small claims court.

“This is great news for any HRAI member that has had trouble getting paid in a timely fashion for the work they have done on a job site” stated HRAI President Warren Heeley.  “This is an exciting day for companies that work in the construction trades in Ontario.”

This is the first legislation of its kind in Canada, and hopefully will serve as a guide for the rest of the country looking to put forth their own legislature that will protect the financial security of Canadians from coast to coast.

For more information please contact: Scott Papp, Manager, Divisional Programs (Contractors) at spapp@hrai.ca or 1-800-267-2231 ext. 233