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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Contract Limitation Clause Precludes Contractor’s Claim Over Against Designer

The limitation periods which apply to construction claims are difficult to sort out at the best of times. They are even more complicated when the limitation period applies to a claim over for contribution or indemnity. That situation arises when the owner sues the contractor and the contractor then seeks contribution or indemnity from another […]

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New International Commercial Arbitration Act Enacted In Ontario

On March 22, 2017, a new International Commercial Arbitration Act, 2017 came into force in Ontario (the 2017 ICAA). The 2017 ICAA is contained in Schedule 5 to the Burden Reduction Act, 2017, SO 2017, c. 2.. The 2017 ICCA replaces the existing Ontario International Commercial Arbitration Act, RSO 1990, c I.9 (the Old ICAA). […]

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Construction Contract Held To Mandate The Payment Of Extras

One of the most contentious issues in building contracts is mechanism to ensure that the contractor is guaranteed payment for extras, and that the owner is guaranteed not to pay for something that is not an extra. It would be simple to state these propositions in a building contract, but they usually aren’t there. However, […]

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Discovery Of Facts Following Mediation Impacts The Limitation Period: Ontario Court Of Appeal

In 625805 Ontario Ltd. v. Silverwood Flooring Inc., the Ontario Court of Appeal has recently held that the discovery of facts following a mediation had the effect of extending the limitation period. This decision has an important impact on the limitation period for all claims, and particularly claims arising from building projects, in which the […]

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Standard Form Contract To Be Given Meaning, Not The Industry Meaning: Supreme Court Of Canada

In its recent decision in Sabean v. Portage La Prairie Mutual Insurance Co., the Supreme Court of Canada has held that words in a standard form contract used by the public should be given their plain and ordinary meaning, and not a different meaning that those words might be given by the industry or trade […]

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CRA Entitled To Priority Over Subcontractors To Trust Funds In Owner’s Hands

The Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench recently held that the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has priority over subcontractors and the bonding company in respect of holdback funds held by the owner in trust for the contractor. The decision in Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corp. v. Able Eavestroughing Ltd., once again underlines the impact of federal […]

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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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