The Bill 69 Prompt Payment Act Public Hearings - The Opposition Revealed

The Fair Payment Reform Ontario (F-PRO) coalition of construction companies which includes Eastern Construction, ACS Infrastructure Canada, Carillion, Dragados Canada, EllisDon, PCL Construction, Aecon and Bird Construction representing an exclusive club of the largest general contractors in Ontario, recently launched a reactionary campaign against prompt payment. In early March, this rump caucus turtled the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) regarding their support and co-authorship of Bill 69, the Prompt Payment Act, 2013, but only after an ad campaign by the Trade Contractors successfully moved the Bill forward through the legislative process to a level the generals never believed it would reach.

Since then the OGCA has been largely absent from the field, leaving it to the Trade Contractors and the Large Generals to duke it out. The Large Generals aligned with the municipalities and the school boards (MUSH Sector), to promote their anti-prompt payment message. The aptly named MUSH sector brings nothing of value to the Large Generals. The MUSH sector’s argument against prompt payment is based on MUSH sector inefficiencies in payment processing which inflates construction costs to the provincial and municipal taxpayers. Not even a General Contractor should be comfortable with that kind of alliance!

To be fair, the Large Generals and the MUSH Sector have all mouthed support for the “principles” of prompt payment…even in the legislative committee hearings. But ECAO has learned over the years that when someone talks about the “principles” and not the money, then the issue is the MONEY!

ECAO contractors have advanced an involuntary, capacity sucking, revolving labour finance loan of $250 million to the Generals and others due to their late payment practices. The ECAO and Trade Contractor message is simple…the days of financing projects using other peoples’ money at no cost are coming to an end and that is what Bill 69 is all about…for the betterment of the entire construction payment chain.

The recently announced review of the Lien Act, populated by the same combatants as the Bill 69 process, must meet this financial reality head on.

To read the Ministry of Attorney General news release, please see below.