Contractors watch provincial government for next move on prompt payment.

Author:Ross, Ian
Position::DESIGN-BUILD
 
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A construction industry executive is giving a thumbs-up to a long-awaited report on the epidemic economic problems caused by the lack of prompt payment legislation in Ontario.

Construction associations and lobby groups, including Prompt Payment Ontario, portray delinquent payment problems in the province as "rampant and growing" with contractors having to wait months to get paid for work that's certified as being finished.

Jeff Roller, executive director of the Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario, said the Reynolds report captures the essence of the situation, calling it a "fair, balanced review of the problem in the industry."

The report, which was finally released by the province in September, is expected to provide fodder to craft and introduce a new Construction Lien Act next spring.

For construction and union groups, the concept of prompt payment is simple: payment for completed work within 30 days.

After a few aborted attempts to bring reform to the system, the Attorney General appointed construction law experts Bruce Reynolds and Sharon Vogel to conduct a critical review of the problem in 2015.

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They held extensive industry consultation meetings and sifted through 77 written submissions.

The Reynolds report, which examined similar legislation in the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand, calls for a dispute resolution mechanism in Ontario.

"I think Bruce Reynolds and Sharon Vogel get it. What they've recommended is doing what's right, what's fair and what's equitable," said Keller.

Their report was delivered to the Attorney General on May 2.

But the lengthy delay in releasing it prompted industry and union groups to question if it was being politically doctored.

"We were concerned that the review would not be released," said Roller, who met with senior bureaucrats petitioning for its release.

"We didn't know what was in the report, we didn't know if we would necessarily like it, but the right thing would be to release it."

At the construction industry's Queen's Park lobby day on Sept. 27, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi announced he's been instructed by the premier to introduce legislation to modernize the...

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