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

Does The CCDC Dispute Resolution Clause Require Arbitration?

Most building contracts contain dispute resolution clauses which refer to arbitration.  A dispute resolution clause can be mandatory – it can require arbitration – or it can be permissive – it can permit arbitration if all parties agree to arbitration when the dispute arises. One would think that the most important thing to make clear […]

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Does A Construction Lien Bond Satisfy A Trust Fund Claim?

There are several different remedies provided in construction and builders lien legislation that do not necessarily fit together well. Two remedies available to a subcontractor are the lien claim against the land and the trust fund claim against funds received or receivable by a contractor. In the case of a lien claim, the payment of […]

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Does A “Pay When Paid” Clause Prevail Over The Construction Lien Act?

A pay when paid clause is one of the more contentious contractual provisions in the construction industry. That clause typically says that the subcontractor is not entitled to be paid until the contractor receives payment from the owner. Because of its perceived unfairness, the clause has been outlawed, or its effect has been substantially limited, […]

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When Is A Commercial Arbitration Decision Unreasonable?

Canadian courts will generally over-rule a decision of a domestic arbitral tribunal only if the decision is “unreasonable.”  What does this word mean? Is the standard of “unreasonableness” different in a commercial arbitration than, say, in a labour or employment arbitration?  If the arbitral award is found to fall within the bounds of reasonableness by […]

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May An Order Dismissing A Stay Motion Be Appealed?

In Canada, there has been a controversy about appeals from stay motion decisions in the context of arbitration clauses.  The issue is whether a decision of a motion judge denying the stay of an action, when the moving party relies on an arbitration agreement, may be appealed to the Court of Appeal. The controversy arises […]

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What Is The Priority Between Building Mortgages And Construction Liens In Respect Of Holdback Amounts Greater Than The Statutory Holdback?

The priorities between lienholders and mortgagees under the Construction Lien Act are not easy to understand.  They are even more difficult to understand and apply when the owner holds back more than the statutory minimum, and when the liens are discharged by security provided by the owner or mortgagee. Under sub-section 44(1) of the Act, […]

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Can A Lien Be Sheltered Under A Claim By A Lienholder Further Down The Supply Chain?

  The sheltering rights under the Construction Lien Act are fundamental protections for contractors, subcontractors and suppliers on a building project. But the definitions of what circumstances give rise to protected sheltering are somewhat vague.  One question is whether the liens of “superior” contractors or suppliers can shelter under an action commenced by an “inferior” […]

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When Does An Arbitration Clause Require Arbitration?

Whether an arbitration agreement requires, or only permits, arbitration is a continuing issue under arbitration law. In building contracts, this issue often arises when the agreement states that arbitration will follow mediation or the involvement of the consultant on the project. The questions that can arise is whether arbitration is mandatory if mediation or the […]

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The Mother Of All Tender Cases – The Fifth Issue: Determining Damages In An Unfair Tender Case

The last two articles have dealt with the recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Envoy Relocation Services Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General). That decision concerned a tender by the federal government.  The trial judge awarded $29 million to an unsuccessful bidder due to the court’s findings that the tender had been […]

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