The British Columbia Law Institute (the "BCLI") is
undertaking a major law reform project on the Builders Lien
Act (the "Act") and has begun a comprehensive review
and overhaul of the Act with assistance from an expert volunteer
Project Committee. This project began in April 2014 and, according
to the BCLI, the project will take a minimum of two years to
complete. The BCLI hopes to provide the public with one or more
consultation papers containing tentative recommendations for
comment by the end of 2015. The BCLI intends to generate a final
report in mid-2016 for the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General
containing concrete, balanced recommendations for reform of the Act
and possibly annotated draft legislation.
The BCLI describes the Act as one of the major cornerstones of
construction and insolvency law and "a complex piece of
legislation". The Act provides participants in a construction
project with powerful lien rights for work done or materials
supplied to a building site. The Act also allows building owners
and general contractors to limit their exposure to claims by
subcontractors and workers who have not been paid by those who
The BCLI notes that since the introduction of the Act in 1997,
the construction and development industries have continued to
evolve and important appellate court decisions have interpreted the
Act in ways surprising to many veteran practitioners.
It appears that the BCLI intends to address issues such as the
dependence of enforcement of a lien on the registration of land at
the land title office, the lack of lien remedies for work done in
connection with coal mining and oil and gas exploration and
drilling, the Act's treatment of holdback account, and how to
improve the practicality and usefulness of lien proceedings to the
The writer will be participating in the consultation process and
welcomes comments on potential amendments.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Russell v. Township of Georgian Bay provides a useful reminder of the fact that while municipal officials sometimes appear to hold all of the cards in disputes with home owners, that is not always the case.
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