PCL Industrial Management Inc. et al. v. Agrium et al., (2015) 456 Sask.R. 72 (QB)

Judge:Laing, J.
Court:Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan
Case Date:February 06, 2015
Jurisdiction:Saskatchewan
Citations:(2015), 456 Sask.R. 72 (QB);2015 SKQB 38
 
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PCL Industrial Mgt. Inc. v. Agrium (2015), 456 Sask.R. 72 (QB)

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Temp. Cite: [2015] Sask.R. TBEd. MR.016

PCL Industrial Management Inc. and SNC - Lavalin Inc. (applicants) v. Agrium, a partnership of Agrium Products Inc., Viridian Fertilizers Limited and Agrium Inc. (respondents)

(2014 QBC No. 1748; 2015 SKQB 38)

Indexed As: PCL Industrial Management Inc. et al. v. Agrium et al.

Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench

Judicial Centre of Saskatoon

Laing, J.

February 6, 2015.

Summary:

In November 2009, PCL and Agrium entered into a contract for PCL to expand Agrium's potash mine. Substantial performance and completion was to be achieved in June 2015. Under s. 46 of the Builders' Lien Act, Agrium had made anniversary holdback payments in December of each year from 2010 to 2013. The applicants (PCL and SNC-Lavalin) sought an order directing Agrium to pay to them the statutory holdback funds that had accumulated between November 2013 and November 2014 ($117,376,021.84).

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench dismissed the application.

Mechanics' Liens - Topic 3

General principles and definitions - General principles - Purpose of mechanics' lien legislation - [See Mechanics' Liens - Topic 3066 ].

Mechanics' Liens - Topic 4

General principles and definitions - General principles - Interpretation of mechanics' lien legislation - [See Mechanics' Liens - Topic 3066 ].

Mechanics' Liens - Topic 3066

The holdback - Release of holdback - Partial release - In November 2009, PCL and Agrium entered into a contract for PCL to expand Agrium's potash mine - Substantial performance and completion was to be achieved in June 2015 - Under s. 46 of the Builders' Lien Act, Agrium had made anniversary holdback payments in December of each year from 2010 to 2013 - The applicants (PCL and SNC-Lavalin) sought an order directing Agrium to pay to them the statutory holdback funds that had accumulated between November 2013 and November 2014 ($117,376,021.84) - Agrium opposed the application, asserting that, under s. 46(3), where there was less than one year remaining to completion of the contract and the last anniversary date fell within that period, there could be no further early annual release of holdback on the last anniversary date - The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench dismissed the application - The ordinary meaning of s. 46(3) was that there was to be no release of holdback on the last anniversary date when the unexpired portion of the contract was less than one year from that date - The early release provisions in s. 46 were an exception to what prevailed ordinarily for contracts that were less than $25 million - The Act's purpose was not the early release, but rather the creation of holdbacks and retention of monies that would enable subcontractors, material suppliers and workers to recover monies owing to them - PCL's interpretation required a premise that all holdback was to be released as early as possible - There was no compelling reason to presume such a legislative intention - See paragraphs 12 to 24.

Statutes - Topic 502

Interpretation - General principles - Intention of Parliament or legislature - [See Mechanics' Liens - Topic 3066 ].

Statutes - Topic 516

Interpretation - General principles - Ordinary meaning of words - [See Mechanics' Liens - Topic 3066 ].

Cases Noticed:

Rizzo & Rizzo Shoes Ltd. (Bankrupt), Re, [1998] 1 S.C.R. 27; 221 N.R. 241; 106 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 12].

Campbell v. Workers' Compensation Board (Sask.) (2012), 393 Sask.R. 246; 546 W.A.C. 246; 2012 SKCA 56, refd to. [para. 12].

Statutes Noticed:

Builders' Lien Act, S.S. 1984-85-86, c. B-7.1, sect. 46(3) [para. 5].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Special Advisory Committee to the Minister of Justice on Builders' Liens, Liens in the Construction Industry (1984), pp. 171, 172 [para. 7].

Sullivan, Ruth, Sullivan on the Construction of Statutes (6th Ed. 2014), §§ 3.6, 3.7 [para. 13]; 3.9 [para. 14].

Counsel:

James S. Ehmann, Q.C., for the applicants;

Phillip J. Scheibel, for the respondents;

Donald C.I. Lucky, for the intervenors (subcontractors), Sterling Crane and Fuller Austin.

This application was heard by Laing, J., of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench, Judicial Centre of Saskatoon, who delivered the following fiat on February 6, 2015.

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