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

General Lien Provision Inapplicable If Main Contract So Provides: Ontario Court Of Appeal

A construction and builders lien claimant may, in some circumstances, file a general lien. The general lien allows the claimant to claim a lien over a number of properties to which it has supplied services or materials. Section 20(2) of the Ontario Construction Lien Act (the Act), unlike the lien statutes in other provinces, enables […]

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When Does The Limitation Period Start When A Party Repudiates A Contract?

You might think that there is one answer to this question. But in Pickering Square Inc. v. Trillium College Inc., the Court of Appeal for Ontario recently reminded us that there are two answers, depending on whether the innocent party accepts the repudiation or not. If the repudiation is accepted, then the contract comes to […]

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Contractor Liable To Flooring Subcontractor For Failure To Provide Proper Sub-Floor

An owner is obliged to provide the contractor with proper access to the site for the performance of the work. That principle of construction law is well known. What is less well appreciated is that the contractor has the same or similar obligation to the subcontractor. And this obligation has an important ingredient to it: […]

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Arbitral Rules Held To Exclude Right To Appeal Arbitration Award

Parties who select arbitral rules, or the administration facilities of an arbitral institution, may do so because they believe that the rules or institution will provide a fair and efficient administration of the arbitral process. They may not suspect that the rules will affect their right to appeal the award. However, in Highbury Estates Inc. […]

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Claims By Equipment Supplier And Consultants Fall Within All Risk Insurance Umbrella

Claims By Equipment Supplier And Consultants Fall Within All Risk Insurance Umbrella The owner and general contractor on a building project typically provide an “insurance umbrella” for the project. That umbrella will usually be referred to in the insurance clause in their building contract. That clause will provide that the owner or contractor will take […]

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Evaluation Breached Tender Conditions: Alberta Queen’s Bench Court

You would think that the owner would get one thing right before issuing an invitation for tenders: its standard for evaluating the tenders. Yet, in Elan Construction Limited v South Fish Creek Recreational Association, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench recently found that the owner’s tender evaluation criteria were unfair and did not reflect the […]

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Penalty Clauses: Seven Principles Stated By The U.K. Supreme Court

The recent judgment of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in Cavendish Square Holding BV v Talal El Makdessi is a must-read for anyone involved in contract law. In this decision of some 132 pages and 316 paragraphs, the U.K. Supreme Court provides an exhaustive analysis of the history and policy behind one of […]

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Are “Services” Lienable If They Relate To Something That Is Not An “Improvement”?

Whether something put on land is an “improvement” for the purposes of construction and builders’ liens can be a difficult question of fact and law. Usually the dispute revolves around the degree of attachment of the “thing” to the land and the permanence of the attachment. Then, add to that dispute the fact that “services” […]

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Interpretation Saves Contract From Penalty Doctrine

Contract law contains a fundamental rule: penalty clauses are prohibited and liquidated damage clauses are permitted. But in its recent decision in Ottawa Community Housing Corp. V. Foustanellas, the Ontario Court of Appeal held that there is another way to look at this rule. The clause is valid if, properly interpreted, the clause delays, but […]

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