Canada: Un nouveau projet de loi visant à moderniser la Loi sur le privilège dans l'industrie de la construction

Last Updated: September 25 2017
Article by Stefan Kimpton

La Loi sur le privilège dans l'industrie de la construction régit les projets de construction en Ontario. Entre autres recours, les fournisseurs de services et de matériaux peuvent enregistrer, en vertu de cette loi, des privilèges sur le titre de propriété lorsque des travaux sont exécutés et demander compensation en cas de non-paiement à partir des sommes devant être retenues à cette fin par le propriétaire, les entrepreneurs et les sous-traitants au projet (la retenue).

Le 31 mai 2017, le gouvernement de l'Ontario a introduit le Projet de loi 142, Loi de 2017 modifiant la Loi sur le privilège dans l'industrie de la construction (PDF). Ce projet de loi fait suite à une consultation, à l'échelle de la province, visant à moderniser la loi. Plusieurs modifications de ce projet de loi pourraient avoir des répercussions importantes sur la façon dont les différends liés à la construction sont tranchés et résolus en Ontario. Voici certaines modifications importantes comprises dans ce projet de loi :

  • Des échéances rigoureuses sont prévues pour les paiements en vertu d'un contrat ou d'un contrat de sous-traitance dans le cadre d'un projet de construction. Le projet de loi énonce que de tels paiements doivent être effectués dans un délai prescrit (généralement 28 jours dans le cas d'un paiement devant être effectué par le propriétaire et sept jours pour les entrepreneurs et les sous-traitants, sous réserve de certaines exceptions). Autrement, des intérêts à un taux spécifié pourraient s'ajouter.
  • Une nouvelle partie couvrant l'arbitrage intérimaire de certains différends survenant au cours d'un projet de construction (comme l'évaluation des services ou des matériaux en vertu du contrat) sera ajoutée à la Loi sur le privilège dans l'industrie de la construction. En vertu de ce processus, les différends seront rapidement tranchés par des arbitres intérimaires. Une liste d'arbitres intérimaires qualifiés sera maintenue à cette fin. La décision d'un arbitre intérimaire en vertu de ce processus sera contraignante sous réserve que la question sous-jacente soit tranchée ultérieurement par un tribunal ou un arbitre.
  • La période d'enregistrement des privilèges de la construction sera prolongée. Actuellement, les parties doivent enregistrer leur privilège dans un court délai (45 jours suivant la date de la dernière fourniture de services ou de matériaux ou suivant la date de l'exécution pour l'essentiel, selon le cas). Ce délai sera prolongé à 60 jours dans ce projet de loi. Le délai pour rendre un privilège opposable (à savoir, la période pour introduire une action en justice et déposer un certificat d'action) sera étendu à 90 jours. Cette mesure laissera plus de temps aux parties pour négocier (et avec un peu de chance, régler) les différends en matière de paiement avant qu'un privilège ne soit enregistré et avant d'intenter une procédure judiciaire.
  • Les entrepreneurs qui concluent des contrats de construction avec des organisations du secteur public, des municipalités et la Couronne en Ontario devront dorénavant obtenir un cautionnement garantissant le paiement de la main-d'Suvre et des matériaux. Les cautionnements garantissant le paiement de la main-d'Suvre et des matériaux servent à garantir le paiement des sous-traitants et des fournisseurs de matériaux des projets de construction (par exemple, en cas de défaut ou de faillite de l'entrepreneur général). Même si de tels cautionnements sont déjà pratique courante pour plusieurs projets du secteur de la construction, cette modification assurera que tous les sous-traitants et tous les fournisseurs de matériaux de projets de construction publics en bénéficient.
  • Les avis écrits de privilèges devront respecter la forme prescrite et être signifiés de la même façon qu'un acte introductif d'instance (généralement, en donnant une copie de l'avis en personne). Les avis écrits de privilèges sont remis dans le cas où une partie à un projet de construction allègue ne pas avoir été payée pour les services et les matériaux fournis. Il s'agit souvent de la première étape d'introduction d'une poursuite judiciaire relative à un projet de construction. Actuellement, la Loi sur le privilège dans l'industrie de la construction ne précise pas de forme exclusive pour les avis écrits de privilèges. Cette lacune peut créer de la confusion et de sérieux problèmes dans l'établissement de ce qui constitue vraiment un avis écrit d'un privilège dans le cas où les parties allèguent ne pas avoir été payées. Cette modification apportera davantage de clarté en forçant une personne se prévalant d'un avis écrit de privilège à signifier officiellement une copie de cet avis dans une forme prescrite.
  • Les réclamations qui relèvent de la compétence d'attribution de la Cour des petites créances de l'Ontario pourront dorénavant être jugées par ce tribunal. Les réclamations relatives à des privilèges sont actuellement tranchées par la Cour supérieure de justice de l'Ontario. Cette situation peut entraîner des coûts et des retards accrus dans le cas de privilèges relatifs à des montants moins importants. En vertu des modifications proposées, une réclamation relative à des privilèges relevant de la compétence d'attribution de la Cour des petites créances (à savoir, 25 000 $) pourra désormais être introduite devant ce tribunal.

L'étape de la première lecture du projet de loi 142 a eu lieu le 31 mai 2017. Reste à voir comment le projet de loi sera modifié avant d'être adopté. Le projet de loi 142 prévoit de nouveaux mécanismes de résolution des différends en matière de construction en Ontario et promet d'être un pas dans la bonne direction pour rendre plus efficace la résolution de conflits dans le secteur de la construction.

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