Canadian Contractor

Steve Payne   

Ontario MPP introduces bill to enforce 'prompt payment' by developers to contractors

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Bill 69, the Prompt Payment Act, is a private members' bill intended to get developers in Ontario to pay their contractors on time. The withholding of holdbacks would be curtailed, if the legislation were to be given teeth. But right now, it's nowhere near becoming law.

Thanks to Jeff Koller, compliance officer for the Ontario Construction Finishing Industries Alliance, for sending us a link to the private members’ bill tabled recently at Queen’s Park by Ontario MPP Steven Del Duca (Vaughan, Liberal).

It’s called Bill 69, Prompt Payment Act, 2013.

You can read the text of this draft legislation here.

The legislation, if it is ever passed, would supposedly require developers to pay their contractors on time (how this would work, in actual practice, remains unclear – this is a private member’s bill without fully developed language). In particular, the legislation might be able to help curtail the widespread (in Ontario, anyway) practice of developers not paying holdbacks on time – or negotiating them down from 10 per cent to a lesser figure. ¬†Withheld or reduced holdbacks can be used to finance a developer’s next project, punishing the contractor.

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However, the draft legislation has not progressed very far through Queen’s Park. Bill 69 has been referred to the Standing Committee on Regulation and Private Bills. Conservative MPP Monte McNaughton took Premier Wynne to task yesterday in the legislature, for not moving quickly on this bill, which, McNaughton said, affected the livelihoods of 400,000 Ontarians who work in the construction industries – 6.5 per cent of the province’s workforce.

 

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