HALIFAX — The newly formed Nova Scotia Prompt Payment Coalition is calling on the provincial government to enact appropriate legislation to improve the payment timetable in Nova Scotia’s construction sector.
“Our province needs a prompt payment solution that works for everyone including tradespeople, contractors, government and consumers,” said Tim Houtsma, member of the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction and a member of the coalition. “While this serious problem is being felt now in our industry, there is a risk to Nova Scotia’s competitiveness long-term if we do not take action to fix the issue.”
A 2018 survey of members of the Construction Association of Nova Scotia found:
- 77 per cent of respondents indicated delayed payments were occurring most or all of the time on their projects.
- 70 per cent believe the right legal framework does not exist to improve timeliness of payments.
- 94 per cent indicate delayed payment increases the cost of doing business.
- 67 per cent think delayed payment reduces their ability to bid work and expand their business.
- 75 per cent indicated delayed payment increases the cost of project delivery.
- 55 per cent agree or strongly agree that if paid in a more timely manner, their firm would increase the use of apprentices; while 53 per cent indicate they would hire more people.
“The existing law in Nova Scotia — the Builders Lien Act — is costly, cumbersome and inaccessible to 65 per cent of the construction industry,” said Duncan Williams, president of the Construction Association of Nova Scotia and another member of the coalition. “It addresses non-payment as opposed to delinquent payment and the lien rights of many in the industry will expire long before they realize they will not get paid.”
“We are asking that government immediately begin to work with our coalition to formulate and bring forward legislation before the end of 2018,” said Houtsma.