• Prompt Payment Arrives in Saskatchewan

    May 2, 2019

    Prompt Payment Arrives in Saskatchewan

    Today, May 2, 2019, the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan approved third reading of The Builders’ Lien (Prompt Payment) Amendment Act, 2018, passing the bill into law.

    This bill is the result of three years of hard work by the SCA and its industry partners, particularly those of Prompt Payment Saskatchewan. The passage of this bill makes Saskatchewan the third province in Canada with legislation in place.

    This is a significant step towards improving basic business fairness for thousands of contractors and the construction sector in the province.

    This legislation was introduced by the Government of Saskatchewan in response to concerns raised by the construction industry. Contractors and constructions firms were facing growing struggles from delayed payment for completed and satisfactory work, so advancing prompt payment became the top priority of Saskatchewan’s construction sector. We are very happy to help the government deliver on this vital issue.

    Prompt payment legislation helps address a fundamental imbalance between the owners of construction projects and the contractors who build them. Before prompt payment legislation, owners were not in breach of contract if they chose to delay paying their contractors; but those contractors who were not being paid for their work had few tools at their disposal to compel fair payment. In fact, if a contractor slowed work, or put tools down they would be in breach and would face legal consequences. Effectively they were forced to work for free; this wasn’t fair.

    Prompt payment begins to rebalance the relationship by providing effective tools for contractors to rely on in working with their customers to communicate, securing payment, and keeping projects on track.

    Prompt payment does not solve every issue when it comes to delayed payment for contractors. No single piece of legislation can. If a project owner runs out of funding for a project, contractors still won’t be paid. However, under the new legislation contractors will be able to walk off the job to cut their losses. As well, contractors will have the opportunity to force an adjudication hearing earlier in the process to move payment forward more quickly. You will no longer have to wait patiently in the hopes of getting paid. This is a significant improvement over the status-quo.

    The legislation passed with the support of both the Government and Opposition MLAs, showing the effectiveness of our advocacy efforts for the construction sector. I want to personally thank both Minister Don Morgan and MLA Trent Wotherspoon for their work on this file on behalf of our industry. We don’t always agree on everything, but I am truly grateful that we have elected officials willing to listen to industry voices and make changes when necessary.

    So, what happens next?

    There is no firm date for the bill to come into force yet, but we expect it will be within the next twelve months and perhaps as early as the end of this calendar year.

    The SCA and our Prompt Payment Saskatchewan coalition are already at work developing the adjudication framework as directed by Minister Morgan. Our legal team will be meeting with him this weekend to discuss next steps. We expect the draft framework to be available for consultation within about a month or so.

    We understand that the Ministry of Justice will be conducting a series of public consultations, likely online, to solicit feedback on the regulatory framework. This will likely happen over the summer. We will need significant contractor support in delivering input through the consultation and will provide you with more details as we have them.

    I think we can expect to have the regulations completed by the early fall, and it is possible that the new legislation could be in force as early as the end of 2019.

    The SCA and our coalition will begin providing training on the new legislation this summer. Stay tuned for more details as this develops.

    One thing you need to know is that when the legislation does finally come in to force, it will only apply to new contracts signed after that date. Any contracts in process will still fall outside of the prompt payment provisions. For that reason, we will be pushing for as early an “in force” date as we can.

    If you have any questions about any of this – and like you, we still do too – contact John Lax at the SCA. John is our resident expert on prompt payment. He can be reached at or 306-525-0171.

    You can also reach out to me directly.

    We will keep you informed as new developments occur.

    In the meantime, today is a good day to celebrate a big step forward for Saskatchewan contractors. With this legislation in place, you are that much closer to having the tools you will need to make sure that payment flows quickly for work you’ve satisfactorily completed. It’s about time.

    Mark Cooper, MBA, PMP

    President and CEO
    Saskatchewan Construction Association