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

Ontario Divisional Court clarifies the Trust Fund Obligation Under The Construction Lien Act

In Robert Nicholson Construction Co. v. Edgecon Construction Inc., 2016 CarswellOnt 8345, 2016 ONSC 3107, the Ontario Divisional Court decided two matters of importance under the trust fund sections (sections 7-13) of the Ontario Construction Lien Act. First, the court held that a subcontractor cannot assert a trust fund claim against the owner under the […]

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Unlicensed Architect Cannot File A Legal Hypothec: Quebec Court of Appeal

In Urbacon Architecture inc. c. Urbacon Buildings Group Corp., the Quebec Court of Appeal has recently held that an architectural firm that was unlicensed in the Province of Quebec is not entitled to file a legal hypothec, the Quebec law equivalent of a construction or builders lien. The court so found notwithstanding the cross-Canada reciprocal […]

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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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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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Damage To The Rebar And The Deflection Of Floor Slabs Are Covered Under Builders’ Risk Policy: B.C. Court Of Appeal

The extent of coverage under Builders’ Risk policies is a matter of continuing debate in Canada. Insurers try to draft policies which do not cover the poor workmanship of contractors, and contractors continue to insist that they have bought and paid for insurance which covers damage to the work in progress. And so the debate […]

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Trust Fund Obligations Continue After A Lien Bond Is Filed: Supreme Court Of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada recently released its highly anticipated decision in Stuart Olson Dominion Construction Ltd. v. Structal Heavy Steel. The court has held that the trust fund obligations on a construction project did not terminate when the contractor filed a bond in respect of the subcontractor’s lien. This decision is of fundamental importance […]

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Subcontractor’s Lien Rights May Be Terminated By The Contractor’s Abandonment

The construction and builder’s line statutes in Canada generally provide that a lien may be lost if an action is not commenced or a lien registered within a certain period of time within the “completion or abandonment” of the work. Usually, the word “abandonment” is applied to the party claiming the lien. But in Tervita […]

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Are There Exclusive and Inclusive Definitions Of “Improvement” In The Lien Statutes?

The Saskatchewan Queen’s Bench recently considered the definition of the word “improvement” in the Builders’ Lien Act of Saskatchewan. In Propak Systems Ltd. v. Grey Owl Engineering Ltd., that court held that the lien statutes of some provinces, like British Columbia, contain “inclusive” definitions and others, like Saskatchewan’s, contain an “exclusive” definition that also requires […]

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Supplier May Recover Against The General Contractor Based Upon A Promise Not To Register A Construction Lien

The Alberta Court of Appeal has recently decided an interesting issue relating to the right of a supplier to a subcontractor to enforce payment against the general contractor. The supplier alleged that the contractor had promised to pay it in exchange for the supplier’s agreement not to register a construction or builder’s lien. In Sherwood […]

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