Upcoming Changes to Ontario Construction Laws Includes Small Claims Court Litigation

The Construction Lien Act was established in Ontario in 1983 and has remained practically unchanged until now.

The Construction Lien Amendment Act, 2017 was passed by the Ontario Government in December 2017, to modernize the booming construction industry in Ontario, and to ensure that both businesses and workers alike get paid and get paid on time.

Changes include but are not limited to the extension of time to register a lien and proceeding with legal action from 90 days to 150 days to promote and encourage more out of Court settlements.

Additionally, holdback funds will be required to be paid out to contractors and subcontractors as soon as the time to register a lien expires.

For many years, paralegals have advocated that construction lien matters where the amount in dispute falls within the monetary jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court, which is currently $25,000.00, should be heard in the Small Claims Court, without success.  The Construction Lien Amendment Act however, does just that!

Starting July 1, 2018, Deputy Judges will have the authority to try construction lien matters at the Small Claims Court level.  This was most likely done to alleviate the backlog of construction litigation matters that are currently being tried in the Superior Court of Justice.

This is an important step for Ontario and parties to construction lien matters as the costs and steps in proceeding with Small Claims Court litigation is significantly less than that of the Superior Court of Justice, and is important especially when the amount in dispute is lower.

Some of the changes in the Construction Lien Amendment Act will commence on July 1, 2018, while others on October 1, 2019.

If you are a contractor or subcontractor and have questions about the changes in Construction law, give us a call and we will be more than happy to discuss them with you.

Murray Brown, Paralegal