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 (4th 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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When Is A Consultant Liable To A Contractor For Subsurface Information In Tender Documents?

One of the difficult issues in construction law is the duty owed, if any, by the owner’s consultant to the contractor. In particular, does the consultant owe any such duty in respect of subsurface conditions? In North Pacific Roadbuilders Ltd. v. Aecom Canada Ltd., the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench recently held that it did. […]

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Ontario Court Of Appeal Holds That The Doctrine Of Mistake Does Not Apply To A Tender

In Asco Construction Ltd. v. Epoxy Solutions Inc., the Ontario Court of Appeal recently held that the doctrine of mistake did not apply to an invitation to tender. In doing so, the court provided a useful reminder of the limited circumstances in which the law of mistake can apply to building contracts. Background Asco was […]

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Ontario Court Has No Power To Extend Period For Setting Aside A Domestic Arbitral Award

In R & G Draper Farms (Keswick) Ltd. v. 1758691 Ontario Inc., the Ontario Court of Appeal recently held that an Ontario court has no power to extend the time for an application to review or appeal from a domestic arbitration award. This is an important decision for anyone involved in arbitrations, especially in light […]

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The Supreme Court Of Canada Proclaims 10 Rules For The Interpretation Of Contracts And The Review Of Arbitration Awards

The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Sattva Capital Corp. v. Creston Moly Corp. is a remarkable document. It is more than a judicial decision. It is literally a textbook or checklist for the interpretation of contracts and the review of arbitration decisions. Background First, the context. Creston agreed to pay Sattva a finder’s […]

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English Courts Enforce An Obligation To Mediate And Negotiate

The articles on this site have often alerted the readers to the hidden dangers of mediation and negotiation clauses in construction contracts. The principle danger is that these sorts of clauses may be unenforceable, for two reasons. The wording of the particular clause may be drafted in such a way as to create no enforceable […]

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Can An Arbitrator Decide An Issue Falling Within A Statutory Regime?

The recent decision in Advanced Explorations Inc. v. Storm Capital Corp. dealt with the question of whether an arbitral tribunal has the authority to decide an issue arising out of a statutory regime over which a regulatory tribunal has specific authority. That question is a thorny jurisdiction issue in the law of arbitration. The decision […]

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When May A Mareva Injunction Be Issued To Enforce An International Commercial Arbitration Award?

In Sociedade-de-Fomento Industrial Private Ltd. v. Pakistan Steel Mills Corp. (Private) Ltd, the British Columbia Court of Appeal recently considered the use of a Mareva injunction to enforce an award of an international commercial arbitration. The court over-turned the lower court’s decision which had denied that remedy based upon alleged material non-disclosure. In doing so, […]

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Can A CCAA Order Affect The Priority Of Lienholders?

In Mission Creek Mortgage Ltd. v. New Recreations Ltd., the British Columbia Court of Appeal recently held that a lienholder whose liens had been discharged by an order made under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) upon payment of security for their claims did not have any priority over or entitlement to that security.  This […]

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The Supreme Court Of Canada Holds That A Mediation Agreement Doesn’t Preclude Proof That There Was Or Wasn’t A Settlement

The Supreme Court recently released its decision in Union Carbide Canada Inc. v. Bombardier Inc., 2014 SCC 35. In that decision, the Supreme Court dealt with two principles relating to mediations. The first principle is that settlement discussions are inherently confidential and therefore privileged from disclosure.  This principle is not based on statute law. Rather, […]

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