Premier Kathleen Wynne gave her take on Ontario’s Construction Lien Act and provided a preview of the upcoming budget during the recent Ontario General Contractors Association’s (OGCA) 10th Construction Symposium.
"We heard about your concerns about Ontario's Construction Lien Act — about issues with payment timelines and dispute resolution and that the law needed to be modernized but that it needed to be done in the right way," said Wynne.
She spoke on the opening night of the symposium to a packed house at the Village Conference Centre in Blue Mountain, kicking off the event.
"Based on the feedback we've heard from industry experts and stakeholders, we're drafting legislation that will be introduced later this spring. It'll bring Ontario's construction laws up to date by modernizing the lien and holdback process," she said.
"It will be the biggest change to the Construction Lien Act since it was introduced 30 years ago."
Frank Perricone, chair of the OGCA, said the premier should be commended for "doing the right thing over the easy thing" when it comes to prompt payment legislation, appointing construction law experts Bruce Reynolds and Sharon Vogel to conduct the review.
"This spring we anticipate legislation that is clearly superior from the original prompt payment legislation," said Perricone. "It would have been much easier to have passed prompt payment legislation and let the industry deal with the consequences, however, premier Wynne made a decision to do the hard work and invest in the future of the construction industry."
Wynne also shed light into what Ontarians can expect from the budget.
"It'll be a balanced budget, the first in almost 10 years. We've worked hard to put the province back on a strong fiscal foundation because that is why and how we can continue to build," said Wynne. "It means renovating schools, new hospitals, more frontline workers and measures to make people's daily lives more affordable so that even in this uncertain time — and that's global uncertainty, not just Canadian uncertainty — people can feel increasingly secure about their own future."
Wynne also said there is a good reason why there hasn't been adequate investment in infrastructure for decades.
"When a politician embarks on an investment over a 12-year period, what that means is that politician is likely not going to cut the ribbons on those projects...but that's not the point," explained Wynne. "The point is that they have to be built so that's why we're taking a longer view. Now in the immediate term, what it means is that there's a lot of work and a lot of jobs that are being created so that's the immediate benefit."