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The Low-Down on Construction – August 27, 2019

Building a project on time and on budget is something all contractors work hard to achieve.  In return, we should be able to expect that we are paid for our work and expertise fairly and on-time as well.

MERIT has been at the forefront of pushing for action on prompt payment, and together with other industry partners, we were pleased to see prompt payment legislation passed into law here in Saskatchewan earlier this year, making us one of the first few provinces in the country to do so.

Across Canada fairness for open-shop contractors and workers is gaining momentum as we see prompt payment legislation either being introduced or enacted in more and more provinces. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Alberta, and BC have prompt payment legislation.  Manitoba is proceeding with legislation of their own, expected to be enacted after their provincial election; Ontario has staggered their implementation of prompt payment and it will be in force in October 2019.

More recently, we saw the federal government also jumping on board and enact federal prompt payment legislation. 

Federal prompt payment legislation – which applies only to work done on federal projects or contracts – received royal assent in June of this year, however Cabinet has not yet set a timeline for when it will be in force. With a federal election approaching this Fall, MERIT will continue to push for prompt payment to be fully in force.

While prompt payment legislation is not perfect, it is an important step towards providing certainty and security for open-shop contractors. Many small and medium sized contractors cannot carry costs of their projects. This sets them at a distinct disadvantage when bidding on projects and inhibits their ability to grow their business and succeed. This isn’t fair, nor is it right.

We know that most owners pay promptly and fairly, however the addition of prompt payment legislation is one more tool available to open-shop contractors and workers to help them get ahead. More importantly, by enacting these laws, governments are recognizing Merit principles of fairness and a level playing field for all contractors and workers.