Further Builders’ Lien Act amendments passed, will become law

24 juin 2021 | Bronwhyn Simmons, Emma L. Johnston

( Disponible en anglais seulement )

Miller Thomson LLP has written several articles over the past year in which we discussed the major changes coming to Alberta’s Builders’ Lien Act (the “Act”) under Bill 37 and newly enacted Bill 62, the latter of which received Royal Asset on June 17, 2021. For a review of the legislative changes enacted in Bill 37, refer to our previous article on the topic.

Bill 62: Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2021

By way of update to our summary of the amendments to the Act contained in Bill 62, this Bill was passed by the Legislature on June 10, 2021 and received Royal Assent on June 17, 2021. There were no changes to this Bill between first reading and when it was passed into law. As noted in our original commentary, the most significant change introduced by Bill 62 is to the framework of the adjudication system initially proposed in Bill 37.

These changes, and the Legislature’s intentions related to the same, were discussed by the legislature in the process of second and third readings. Specifically:

  • Adjudication: the adjudication process is binding in the interim, rather than being final, so issues can be litigated in court if the parties are dissatisfied with the decision of an adjudicator;[1]
  • Consultants Entitled to Lien: the class of professionals who may lien projects is intended to include architects, designers, and consultants – the details of which will likely be in the as yet unreleased Regulations;[2]
  • Government Excluded From the legislation: Bill 62 specifies that projects subject to the Public Works Act, RSA 2000, c P-46 will not be governed by the new legislation. However, the Legislature’s commentary indicates that P3s for municipal and postsecondary projects have been brought within the scope of builders’ lien legislation.[3] The impact of these provisions will have to be carefully assessed once Bill 37 and Bill 62 are proclaimed as it will impact financial risk assessments by all parties on projects with Provincial involvement; and
  • Prompt Payment: where work is performed by a subcontractor pursuant to a contract, whether written or verbal, the amended Act will provide protection by mandating prompt payment to the subcontractor.[4]

It should be cautioned that the above summary describes comments made by individual members of legislature when speaking to the Bill. This commentary can be used by courts to interpret the legislation, however the strict wording of the legislation is the final determining factor.

Although both Bill 37 and Bill 62 have received Royal Assent neither has been proclaimed into law and there is no clear time line for proclamation of either Bill at this time. As noted the regulations, which are set to contain many key portions of the intended scheme, are still outstanding.

[1] Hansard, 30th Leg., May 31, 2021, p 5017.

[2] Hansard, 30th Leg., May 31, 2021, p 5012.

[3] Hansard, 30th Leg., June 1, 2021, p 5111; Hansard, 30th Leg., June 2, 202, p 5126.

[4] Hansard, 30th Leg., June 2, 202, p 5126.

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