NTCCC Re-engages on Prompt Payment, sets course on reprisal clauses and labour availability
February 3, 2020
OTTAWA—Representatives of the National Trade Contractors Council of Canada (NTCCC) concluded successful meetings on Thursday, January 30th with government officials surrounding three issues of critical importance to Canada’s construction sector.
“Prompt payment is progressing well,” said Sandra Skivsky, Chair of NTCCC. “We used the opportunity to update the government on our concern that December’s reprisal clause ruling in B.C. could limit the effectiveness of prompt payment rules. Officials agreed that would not be ideal.”
In December, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the reprisal clauses in the City of Burnaby B.C.’s contract terms that did not allow any contractor to bid on a city project if they had taken legal action against the city in the past two years.
“The concern is if the adjudication process, which will be part of federal prompt payment legislation and already exists in Ontario, will be considered an action against the owner and thus be subjected to a reprisal clause. This will circumvent the whole process, as contractors and sub-contractors would be punished for following the legislation, or will be on the hook to make payments downstream,” Skivsky added.
This concern is in addition to the current application of reprisal clauses on legal proceedings which is something the NTCCC is strongly against.
Prompt Payment initiatives have been supported by trade contractors, general contractors, suppliers, and labour groups because of their important contribution to keeping money flowing through the construction chain.
“A municipality that supports reprisal clauses is simply stating that they want higher costs for taxpayers or customers,” added Skivsky. “Any federal government funding of projects should be contingent on ensuring that there is fair and unfettered access to justice, be it through adjudication of the courts.”
NTCCC also used meetings this week as an opportunity to discuss the labour shortages in Canada’s construction sector, and the importance of collaboration on workforce development initiatives.
“We’ve seen this wave coming for decades,” said Skivsky. “Now the workforce is starting to retire and we don’t have systems in place to show young people or newcomers to Canada that careers in the skilled trades are rewarding. They don’t understand the pathways and its important that we support the government in efforts to make the trades careers of first choice.”
For more information please contact:
Rob LeForte, Public Affairs