Thomas G. Heintzman, O.C., Q.C., FCIArb

Construction Law Canada

This website is intended to encourage discussion about recent developments in construction law in Canada.

The commentary in this website will relate to legislation and case law. Each item for discussion will be set out individually. The item will have a short description of the subject matter. Then, a lengthier discussion of the item will follow. The discussion is solely a matter of my personal view and opinion and does not constitute legal advice.

The discussion will generally follow the subjects addressed in my book: Heintzman & Goldsmith on Canadian Building Contracts (5th ed. Carswell).  Reference to that text will be made from time to time as “CBC”, that is Canadian Building Contracts. However, a broader range of subjects will be addressed in this site than those addressed in CBC.

I welcome any views about the commentary in this website and hope that a dialogue will develop about the distinctive aspects of construction law in Canada.

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Breach Of Covenant To Obtain Fire Insurance Coverage For Another Party Means No Claim May Be Made Against That Party: Ontario Court Of Appeal

Those involved in building projects should always be alert to court decisions dealing with insurance, or insurance clauses in contracts, even if those contracts are not building contracts. Those decisions will inevitably impact the interpretation of insurance clauses in building contracts. So the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Deslaurier Custom Cabinets Inc. […]

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Contractor’s Contract With The Buyer Of Land Was A Sufficient Reason To Deny A Construction Lien And Unjust Enrichment Claim To The Contractor

In J. Lepera Contracting Inc. v. Royal Timbers Inc. the Ontario Divisional Court recently dealt with a claim in unjust enrichment by a contractor who had done work for the purchaser of land. The purchaser had agreed to buy the land under an agreement of purchase and sale, but later defaulted under that agreement, and […]

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Privy Council Defines Extra Work Under A Fixed Price Building Contract

In Mascareignes Sterling Co Ltd v Chang Cheng Esquares Co Ltd (Mauritius), the Privy Council of the United Kingdom recently set out some helpful principles to define the entitlement of a contractor to extra payment under a fixed price contract. The Privy Council held that the power to award extra payments under a fixed price […]

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Is A Notice Of Intention To Recover Costs A Proper Notice Of Claim Under A Building Contract?

In Ledore Investments Ltd. v. Ellis-Don Construction Ltd., the Ontario Superior Court has recently held that a letter from a contractor to a subcontractor stating that “we intend to recover these costs from you” was a sufficient notice to the subcontractor to satisfy the notice provision of the building contract. Accordingly, the court set aside […]

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No Representation Clause Precludes Reliance On Pre-Contractual Representation

In Houle v. Knelsen Sand and Gravel Ltd., 2016 CarswellAlta 1582, 2016 ABCA 247, the Alberta Court of Appeal has recently held that a “no representation” clause precluded a party from relying on a pre-contractual representation to rescind the contract. Background Houle owned a parcel of land in which Houle believed there were substantial gravel […]

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Tort And Fraud Claims Fall Within Arbitration Agreement: Ontario Court Of Appeal

In Haas v. Gunasekaram, 2016 ONCA 744, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently held that claims in tort and fraud, and resulting claims to set aside the agreement between the parties, were within the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal under an arbitration agreement. Accordingly, the court action between the parties was stayed. This decision is […]

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Standard Form Contracts Are To Be Reviewed On A Standard Of Correctness: Supreme Court Of Canada

In, Ledcor Construction Ltd. v. Northbridge Indemnity Insurance Co, 2016 SCC 37, the Supreme Court of Canada has held that the interpretation of a standard form contract is a matter of law alone, and not a matter of mixed fact and law. Accordingly, it is not sufficient for a judge to arrive at a reasonable […]

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Is The Charge Or Lien Against The Holdback Separate From The Lien Against The Land?

Summary In the recent decision in Brook Construction (2007) Inc. v. Blackwood Contractors Ltd, the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal held that the charge against the holdback under s.12(5) of the Newfoundland and Labrador Mechanics’ Lien Act (the NL Act) is the same as, and “parasitic” to, the lien against the land. Accordingly, since […]

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Is A “No Oral Variation” Clause In A Contract Binding?

Summary In MWB Business Exchange Centres Ltd v Rock Advertising Ltd [2016] EWCA Civ 553 and Globe Motors Inc v. TRW Lucas Varity Electric Steering Ltd. [2016] EWCA CIV 396, the English Court of Appeal has recently held that a contractual provision stating that the contract may only be amended by a written document signed […]

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