Bill 37: Builders’ Lien (Prompt Payment) Amendment Act, 2020 passed its third reading in the legislative assembly of Alberta

December 15, 2020 | Anna Kosa, Steve Rehak, Emma L. Johnston

On November 17, 2020, Miller Thomson provided insight into Bill 37, the Builders’ Lien (Prompt Payment) Amendment Act, 2020. Bill 37 is intended to update the Alberta Builders’ Lien Act, RSA 2000 c B-9, and introduce a prompt payment system, which provides for strict timeframes for payments between owners, contractors, and subcontractors.

On November 26, 2020, Bill 37 passed its third reading in the Alberta Legislature. The Bill introduces a number of changes for the construction industry in Alberta, including outlining a timeline for prompt payment, establishing an adjudication system, creating a mandatory progressive holdback release, and extending the period to register a lien from 45 days to 60 days. The time period to register a lien in the concrete industry was extended to 90 days.

As indicated in our initial report, Bill 37 does not include many updates seen in Ontario and other jurisdictions. Bill 37 passed its second reading on October 28, 2020 and was reviewed by a committee on November 4 and 24. Our initial report outlined the amendments adopted as a result of these readings and reviews. There were, no additional amendments made during Bill 37’s third reading and the Bill was lauded as a great success by the UCP and NDP parties.

  • Minister of Service Alberta, Nate Glubish, stated: “This legislation is all about strengthening the construction industry in Alberta. This is all about protecting jobs in the construction industry in Alberta. The changes we proposed in this bill give confidence and certainty to all parties working in construction, from project owners and general contractors to subcontractors.” [1]
  • Bill 37 has bipartisan support, with NDP MLA Rod Loyola stating: “I don’t agree with many of the things that this government has been doing within the great number of pieces of legislation that they have brought before this House, but on this particular one I have to say that I’m in agreement. I’m happy to say that our entire caucus is in agreement because, of course, as I stated in this House before, this is something near and dear to my heart, something that I was working on when we were still in government.”[2]

Bill 37 is due to be proclaimed into law in July, 2021.

Miller Thomson will be monitoring for any changes to Bill 37, and industry members should stay tuned for further updates as more information becomes available.

[1] Alberta, Legislative Assembly, Hansard, 30th Leg, 2nd Sess, No 72 (26 November 2020) at 3545.

[2] Alberta, Legislative Assembly, Hansard, 30th Leg, 2nd Sess, No 72 (26 November 2020) at 3544.


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