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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A Subcontractor Recovers Against The Owner In Unjust Enrichment

A subcontractor who fails to register a construction lien faces an uphill battle in asserting a claim in unjust enrichment against the owner. That is because the owner will rely upon its contract with the contractor for any benefit that the owner has obtained from the subcontractor’s work. The owner will also assert that there […]

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How Does The Loss Of A Chance Apply To Damages For Breach Of A Building Contract?

Construction law practitioners must keep their eyes and ears open to the evolving case law in other areas of the law. That case law may have direct application to building contract issues. This fact is especially true for the assessment of damages. Because of the numerous contracts involved in a building project, a breach of […]

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What Does A “Right To Appeal In Accordance With The Provisions Of The Arbitration Act” Mean?

This question seems very straightforward, but when the Arbitration Act provides several rights of appeal, depending on what the parties have or have not agreed upon, then which of those rights of appeal apply? Only the right to appeal that applies if the parties have not agreed to further rights of appeal? Or, all the […]

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When Does An Arbitral Award Contain An Appealable Question Of Law?

The Supreme Court of Canada has recently re-examined the issue of whether a statutory and contractual interpretation by an arbitral tribunal may be appealed. The court re-iterated the principle that arbitral awards are not appealable on a question of law when in reality the question is one of mixed fact and law. On this basis, […]

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What Amounts To An Effective Claim Under A Building Contract?

The Ontario Court of Appeal has recently allowed the appeal in the case of Ledore Investments Limited (Ross Steel Fabricators & Contractors) v. Ellis-Don Construction Ltd., 2017 ONCA 518. In doing so, it held that the arbitrator committed no reviewable error in deciding that the correspondence sent by Ellis-Don to its subcontractor did not amount […]

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May A Party Terminate A Contract For “Fundamental Breach”?

In the recent decision in R.P.M. Investment Corp. v. Lange, 2017 CarswellAlta 770, 2017 ABQB 305, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench held that a party to a contract may terminate a contract on the basis of a “fundamental breach” of the contract, in addition to the right to terminate the contract for repudiation. While […]

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When May An Arbitral Tribunal Correct Its Award?

Arbitrators are mortal. They may make mistakes in issuing their awards. In what circumstances may they correct an award? The scope of the authority of an arbitral tribunal to alter its award after the issuance of the award has been examined in a recent Scottish case – NKT Cables A/S v. SP Power Systems Limited, […]

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Supreme Court Of Canada Grants Leave To Appeal In Bond Notification Case

On March 9, 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to appeal from the decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in Valard Construction Ltd. v. Bird Construction Co., 2016 CarswellAlta 1584, 57 C.L.R. (4th) 171. This appeal will be of significance in determining the rights of contractors and subcontractors to receive, and the […]

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Recommendations To Amend Ontario’s Construction Lien Act

On April 30, 2016, a Report was delivered to the Ontario Government proposing amendments to the Ontario Construction Lien Act. This report may, in whole or in part, soon be implemented by the Ontario Legislature. For this reason, those engaged in the construction industry or construction litigation in Ontario must immediately become familiar with the […]

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