Federal prompt payment legislation on its way: Exact details still unclear

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image provided with a vaguely worded news release relating to prompt payment legislation by PWPC

The federal government has indicated it is moving forward quickly to introduce prompt payment legislation, though a media event planned to coincide with the Canadian Construction Association’s 100th anniversary on Nov. 27 was shelved in favour of a vague press release and government-supplied photo.

The news release said Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, was in Ottawa to highlight the Fall Economic Statement 2018, which updates Canadians on results already delivered by the Government’s investments, and lays out the next steps in the Government’s plan to grow the economy by investing in middle class jobs.

In the Fall Economic Statement 2018, the Government of Canada proposes to introduce legislation to implement the prompt payment of contractors and sub-contractors for federal projects on federal lands as well as the adjudication of payment issues.

Ensuring the speed and efficiency of cash flow down the construction supply chain is fundamental to a healthy construction industry. The timely flow of payments within all tiers on such construction projects is necessary so that material and equipment suppliers, sub-contractors, and trades and labour can contribute with confidence to federal government projects.

The Senate passed Bill S-224 last year, but the legislation has yet to clear the House of Commons. However, in January 2018, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and Defence Construction Canada commissioned an industry engagement initiative tasked with developing a recommendation package for the Government of Canada in relation to prompt payment and adjudication for federal construction projects, which presumably will provide the foundation for the impending legislation.

In an email to some major industry association leaders, Crawford Kilpatrick, director general, strategic sourcing sector, real property services at PSPC wrote:

As a follow up to the good news communicated via the federal Fall Economic Statement, I wanted to give you a heads up – I’ve been advised that the Minister’s office is planning an event in the National Capital Area on Tuesday afternoon (November 27), and would like to check your availability to attend. Someone from the Minister’s office may reach out to you directly; however, I wanted to provide you with advance notice.

Once we have the time and scope of the event confirmed, I will provide you with more details.

In his communication, Kilpatrick asked for information about relevant construction industry publications, for which the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) referenced the Construction News and Report Group (which publishes CADCR and Ontario Construction Report).

He later advised that  “there is no longer a media event today.”

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