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

May a Contractor Sue a Subcontractor When It Agreed With The Owner To Obtain Project Insurance?

One of the most difficult issues in Canadian construction law is the impact of insurance on claims between owners, contractors and subcontractors. There are two levels to the issue: What is the impact of a clause in the building contract by which one party agrees to obtain insurance? And what is the impact of the […]

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Condominium Unit Owners Can Claim Common Elements Relief

Construction projects involve many participants and each of those participants may have a claim against other participants.  Developers, immediate and subsequent purchasers, contractor and subcontractors, consultants: they are all potential plaintiffs.  So one of the main issues in construction law is:  who can be a plaintiff against what defendant and for what relief?  This issue […]

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Does An Interim Lender To A Construction Project Owe A Duty of Care?

Construction projects don’t often proceed without a lender. And often there is an interim lender which provides financing pending the advancement of funds by the final lender. In this circumstance, two questions arise: First:  Does the interim lender owe a duty of care to the owner or purchaser of the project? Second:  If the interim […]

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How Many Times Can A Contractor Sue The Owner Under The Same Construction Contract?

Can a contractor bring several claims against the owner arising from the same building contract?  Multiple proceedings arising from the same contract certainly seem like a waste of time and money.  And even if the contractor can do so, can those claims be asserted first in arbitration and then in court litigation?  Once again, different […]

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What Are The Limits Of Competence-Competence For Arbitral Tribunals?

Competence-competence is now a foundational principle of the modern law of arbitration.  According to that principle, an arbitral tribunal is competent to decide its own competence.  In other words, the tribunal has jurisdiction to decide its own jurisdiction.  That principle demands, in turn, that the arbitral tribunal, and not the court, should in the first […]

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Can An Agent Claim Damages As An Owner Under A Building Contract?

Agents of contractors and subcontractors often play a role and assert rights during construction projects. This is because contractors often use agents to perform the work, and construction lien legislation recognizes their right to assert a lien for the improvement of the land. But agents of owners do not often assert rights under a building […]

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Arbitration Clause Is A Separate Enforceable Agreement

What happens when an arbitration clause is contained within a commercial agreement that one party says never came into existence or is unenforceable? And what if the dispute involves persons who are not parties to the commercial agreement? Is the arbitration clause still enforceable? Yes, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently said in Kolios v. […]

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No Appeals From An Arbitrator’s Interim Decision Unless It Is A Final Order

The Ontario Court of Appeal has recently considered whether any appeal may be taken from a decision of an arbitral tribunal which is made prior to the final award. The Court held that no such appeal may be taken from such a decision, except if the decision amounts to a “final” order.  The decision appears […]

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Same Court, Different Results: When Does The Limitation Period Start For An Arbitration Claim?

When does the limitation period start for an arbitration claim?  Can the very making of the demand start the period running?  Yes, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently said in Federation Insurance Co. of Canada v. Markel Insurance Co of Canada. In so deciding, the Court of Appeal seems to have reached a conclusion which […]

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