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A Bill has been tabled in British Columbia that is intended to modernize its construction legislation and take steps towards ensuring that builders in the province are paid on time. Specifically, Bill M223 (the Prompt Payment (Builders Lien) Act)(the “Bill“) was introduced on May 28, 2019 by BC Liberal House Leader Mary Polak as part of the Fourth Session of the 41st Parliament of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia..
Essentially, the Bill proposes to amend British Columbia’s Builders’ Lien Act (“BLA”), and allow British Columbia to follow in the footsteps of other provinces such as Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario. According to Minister Polak:
“This bill will ensure that those who build our province, contractors, subcontractors and workers, are paid in a timely fashion”
Ms. Polak further stated:
“By setting payment deadlines, we can protect hard-working British Columbians from unexpected and unnecessary financial hardship and minimize payment disputes.”
Unfortunately, the text of the Bill does not fully address the requirements of a well designed prompt payment regime nor does it modify other elements of the existing BLA.
Currently, the Bill provides for a prompt payment regime that is loosely based on the Ontario Construction Act. Specifically, the new Bill includes prompt payment provisions directly derived from Construction Act including, in part, as follows:
Bill M223, while laudable in intent, raises several critical issues. Some of these are technical issues as noted above which result from what appear to be a direct references to provisions of the Ontario Construction Act. However, most notably, this Bill does not include any reference to an adjudication regime aside from the undertaking to conduct an adjudication that forms part of the notice of non-payment requirements.
To successfully replicate the model contained in Ontario’s Construction Act model, significant modifications to Bill M223 would be required.
As the Bill moves through the legislature, we look forward to seeing whether British Columbia’s new legislation will be adapted or whether the bill will serve as a precursor to a fully sponsored government bill to follow.
Stay tuned for updates as we await the details of the new legislation.
 Bill M223 at s. 3.2(1).
 Bill M223 at s. 3.2(2).
 Bill M223 at s. 3.2(4).
 Bill M223 at s. 3.2(5).
 Bill M223 at s. 3.3(1) and (2).
 Bill M223 at s. 3.3(2) and (3).
 Bill M223 at s. 3.4.
 Bill M223 at s. 3.4(3) and (4).
 Bill M223 at s. 3.4(5).
 Bill M223 at s. 3.5.
 Bill M223 at s. 3.6.
 Bill M223 at s. 3.8.
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Articles | Sep 15, 2020
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