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

Discovery Of Facts Following Mediation Impacts The Limitation Period: Ontario Court Of Appeal

In 625805 Ontario Ltd. v. Silverwood Flooring Inc., the Ontario Court of Appeal has recently held that the discovery of facts following a mediation had the effect of extending the limitation period. This decision has an important impact on the limitation period for all claims, and particularly claims arising from building projects, in which the […]

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Standard Form Contract To Be Given Meaning, Not The Industry Meaning: Supreme Court Of Canada

In its recent decision in Sabean v. Portage La Prairie Mutual Insurance Co., the Supreme Court of Canada has held that words in a standard form contract used by the public should be given their plain and ordinary meaning, and not a different meaning that those words might be given by the industry or trade […]

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Privy Council Defines Extra Work Under A Fixed Price Building Contract

In Mascareignes Sterling Co Ltd v Chang Cheng Esquares Co Ltd (Mauritius), the Privy Council of the United Kingdom recently set out some helpful principles to define the entitlement of a contractor to extra payment under a fixed price contract. The Privy Council held that the power to award extra payments under a fixed price […]

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Contractor’s Claim For Extras And Changed Circumstances Held To Be Ineffective Due To Lack Of Particulars

In Ross-Clair v. Canada (Attorney General), the Ontario Court of Appeal has recently held that a contractor’s claim for extras and changed circumstances was ineffective because it contained inadequate particulars of the claim. The Extras/Changed Circumstances clause The changed circumstances clause in the construction contract stated in part as follows: 35.4 A written claim referred […]

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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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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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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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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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