Government infrastructure projects are a large source of work
for the construction industry. However, the lien rights of
contractors and subcontractors are often varied or altered with
respect to work performed on government lands. With respect
to provincial government lands, these changes are usually set out
in the provincial legislation, the Ontario Construction Lien
Act. But, what about construction projects on federal
lands like airports? The answer is that it depends.
Airports and aeronautics are a federal government
undertaking. Ordinarily, provincial legislation applies to
areas of federal jurisdiction provided that there is no direct
conflict between any federal legislation on the subject.
Where provincial legislation interferes with the core of a federal
undertaking, the provincial legislation may be inoperative.
Canadian courts have held that the application of provincial lien
legislation to federally governed airports can be one such
In particular, courts have held that construction lien claimants
cannot register constructions liens against the ownership and/or
leasehold of the federal government or a local airport
For example, the Ontario Construction Lien Act gives a
lien claimant the right to sell the lands on which it worked when
it has not been paid for the work. If a contractor could sell
an airport terminal building or radar tower as a result of
non-payment, then it would interfere with the federal
government's ability to govern the operation of airports to
ensure a safe and strong flight network in Canada. This has
been held to be the core of the federal undertaking such that the
provincial legislation would not apply. In such
circumstances, he lien claimant's right to lien the terminal
building or radar tower in its entirety does not exist.
Nevertheless, those are not the only ownership or leasehold
interests in airport lands. A restaurant may lease space for
a coffee shop in the terminal building or a shipping company may
lease hanger space at the airport. Either could hire a
contractor to perform work on those leased premises.
Arguably, the restaurant and shipping company businesses would not
form a core aspect of the operation of an airport and, based on
current case law, it may be possible to register a construction
lien against those leasehold premises.
In this way, there are situations where a contractor or
subcontractor cannot lien an airport and situations where it may be
possible to lien an airport.
The Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that courts will generally support and uphold decisions of condominium directors because they are better positioned than judges to make decisions pertaining to their buildings.
According to the city bylaws in Calgary, the grading of lots for new buildings must be done properly so that the water never flows toward the new building or any other nearby properties, but away from those buildings.
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