The National Trade Contractors Coalition of Canada (NTCCC) has received encouraging news in its battle to have the federal government implement prompt payment legislation.
The group has learned that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked Carla Qualtrough, minister of public services and procurement, to make prompt payment a priority for contractors and sub-contractors that do business with her department.
“Our members are excited and energized by the government’s commitment to tackle the issue,” said NTCCC chair John Galt. “We know that the government understands it can reduce costs to taxpayers and improve operations by taking action on payment delays.”
The industry has long struggled with payment delays, which reduce cash flow, decrease efficiency, and hurt small businesses and their employees. In Quebec, the Charbonneau Commission, an investigation into corruption in the construction industry, determined that payment delays brought organized crime into the industry because contractors were forced to seek financing from unconventional sources to pay their employees when their cash flow dried up.
NTCCC has worked with political leaders and Public Services and Procurement Canada officials to ensure the federal government has a plan that is consistent with its goal of modernizing procurement practices.
“Contractors from many trades and labour leaders have been very supportive of a legislative solution to this problem,” said Galt.
In Ontario, Bill 142, the Construction Lien Amendment Act, is moving through government committees and received unanimous all-party support at second reading. Bill 142 is the product of many years of advocacy from Prompt Payment Ontario, with substantial expert review from leaders in construction law.
The principles of that bill are expected to provide an effective template for the federal government and other provinces that wish to improve productivity – and payment – in their construction sectors. NTCCC looks forward to other provinces moving towards having a prompt payment regime, said Galt.
A number of mechanical industry associations are part of the NTCCC including the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada (MCAC), the Contractors Division of the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) and the Ontario Sheet Metal Contractors Association (OSM).