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

Which Dispute Resolution System Applies – Construction Lien or Arbitration?

Courts have difficulty reconciling the rights of parties to arbitration when there are construction liens, cross claims, counterclaims and third party rights involved.  How can arbitration, which is a bilateral dispute resolution system, resolve those disparate rights?  And what appeal rights are there for the parties who are dissatisfied with a judge’s conclusion that the […]

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When and How is a Subcontractor Bound by its Tender in a Bid Depository System?

The process by which subcontractors’ tenders are accepted in a bid depository is fundamental to the efficacy of that system.  If that process does not effectively bind the subcontractors, then the subcontractors will be able to unilaterally withdraw their bids later.  The British Columbia Supreme Court addressed this issue in its recent decision in Civil […]

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The Limitation Period Quagmire Between Litigation And Arbitration

The limitation period is a vexing issue to any party involved in a commercial dispute.  This truism applies even more to construction disputes because there are a variety of events that may trigger the beginning of the limitation period.  The limitation issue becomes even more vexing when the proceeding can be either:  by way of […]

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Restitutionary Payment May Be Ordered For An “Ineffective” Construction Contract

Owners and contractors should always avoid undertaking a project without a contract.  But if they do build the project without a contract, the British Columbia Court of Appeal has recently recognized in Infinity Steel Inc. v. B & C Steel Erectors Inc. that the party which received the benefit of the work or supplies must […]

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Ontario’s Highest Court Upholds NAFTA Arbitration Against Mexico

The Ontario Court of Appeal has just released an important decision upholding an arbitration award under NAFTA against Mexico.  This decision shows that Canadian courts will be reluctant to interfere on jurisdictional grounds with the remedial decisions of international commercial arbitrations. In The United Mexican States v. Cargill, Incorporated, Mexico opposed the recognition in Ontario […]

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An Owner Owes No Duty Of Care To A Subcontractor In A Bid Depository System

The Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal has recently held that an owner does not owe a duty of care to a subcontractor arising from the normal operation of a bid depository system: Defence Construction (1951) Limited v. Air-Tite Sheet Metal Limited. The Background: The owner, Defence Construction, a wholly owned subsidiary of the government […]

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A Contractor’s Construction Errors May Be Covered By A General Liability Policy

In two recent decisions, courts in Ontario and British Columbia have held that negligence during construction (or manufacturing) may be covered by general liability policies even though the damage is part of the construction (or the product sold): California Kitchens & Bath Ltd. v. AXA Canada Inc. and Bulldog Bag Ltd. v. AXA Pacific Insurance […]

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When Is An Arbitration Award An Enforceable Judgment?

When you enter into an arbitration agreement, do you think about whether the arbitration process results in an enforceable judgment?  You should. The award that you receive at the end of the arbitration process isn’t a judgment and can’t be immediately enforced as a judgment.  That is what the U.K. Court of Appeal recently held […]

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Mary Carter Decision Upheld By The Supreme Court Of Canada

In my article of April 2011, I reported about the decision in Aecon Buildings v. Stephenson Engineering Limited.  In that decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal stayed an owner’s claim because of the non-disclosure of a Mary Carter agreement. The Supreme Court of Canada has recently dismissed an application for leave to appeal from that […]

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