Future golden for contractors with prompt payment?
Since the day I was hired, I have been watching and waiting to see which level of government would be the next to pass prompt payment legislation. This battle has been going on for much longer than I have been in this industry. From the people I have talked to, it has been close to 15 frustrating years of waiting for some type of legislation to pass.
But on April 8, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-97 (the Budget Implementation Act) which included prompt payment legislation. And on June 21, the bill received royal assent. After so many years of pushing for legislation the construction industry can finally celebrate.
From the contractors that I have talked with over the past year, many have shared horror stories of companies that had to close their business because of lack of payment. Some expressed their frustration of not being paid for upwards of two years – something that wasn’t uncommon.
The federal legislation is now law although the details are still a bit fuzzy and no timeline is actually available as of yet.
That shouldn’t dampen the celebration. It just might be a few years until there is actually a solid piece of legislation with regulations and a concrete timeline. And don’t forget the transitional period too. In the provinces, Ontario has already passed prompt payment legislation and most of the others are working on it.
One of the most interesting parts of the new federal legislation is the provision that federal contracts drafted before the legislation passed will still come under the umbrella of the new legislation.
There is federal election this fall, but that should have little impact. Prompt payment has been passed into law, making it more difficult to change by a new government and my gut tells me that since this legislation has been supported across all parties that is unlikely to happen. But this is politics we are talking about and anything can happen.
As of now, we can feel proud that federal prompt payment legislation has finally come to see the light in Canada after so much work by people in this industry. Hopefully, more provinces will soon adopt their own legislation.