The MHCA will be responding to the proposed Prompt Payment for Construction Act (Bill 28) tabled in the legislature, which is not as comprehensive as provisions previously recommended via amendments to the Builders’ Liens Act.
The Builders’ Liens Act amendments, as recommended by at Manitoba Law Reform Commission review, contemplated a full suite of changes and provisions to deal with the issue of prompt payment on projects to contractors, subcontractors and trades, including ensuring consistency in timeframes associated with payments, adjudication and lien deadlines.
The approach outlined by the Law Reform Commission is consistent with Ontario’s successful implementation and the path being taken in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, MHCA President Chris Lorenc said. “Also, the latest report from B.C. is that they will also pursue Lien Act reform.”
The province is to be commended for moving on the issue of prompt payment, which has been an issue within the construction industry for decades, Lorenc stressed. Prompt payment is a particular concern in large public or private projects that involve multiple layers of companies or individuals contracted to design, manage or perform work, with payment for progress or completion trickling down a chain of parties.
Stand-alone legislation as a prompt payment remedy is untested and will leave Manitoba as an outlier, Lorenc explained. It would be better to present a comprehensive amendment for prompt payment, rather than seeing additional changes or provisions added in years to come.
“We know that with the iterations of the stand-alone bills presented in recent years, and the comprehensive analysis of the issue by the Law Reform Commission, that the building blocks are there for strong legislation that can draw support across the industry and, therefore, stand the test of time,” Lorenc added.
MHCA is working with a number of construction association in its review and response on Bill 28, which was introduced March 16, 2022.