Crisis and creativity in construction law conflict resolution – Lexpert

Paul Ivanoff

Aug 16, 2021

As construction and infrastructure projects delayed by supply chain interruptions, material price increases and modified worksite safety protocols resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic continue, some parties are turning to recent legislation introduced by the federal government and provinces across the country to resolve disputes. Amendments to Ontario’s Construction Act regarding prompt payment and 30-day adjudication for dispute resolution came into force in the fall of 2019, but Osler partner Paul Ivanoff, a key contact for the firm’s Construction and Infrastructure practice group, says he has not seen much of an increase in adjudication so far.

“I think parties have continued to rely on the courts and mediators to resolve disputes,” Paul tells Lexpert.

When the pandemic first hit Canada in March 2020, several large infrastructure projects were already engaged in the dispute resolution process, Paul says, and were able to continue without significant interruption. “Looking back, we did a very quick pivot to virtual dispute resolution. The transition was quite smooth, and quick.”

While contractors and subcontractors attempt to finish the delayed projects, they have questions like “who’s responsible for a project being late, the cost consequences, if any, and is the owner entitled to liquidated damages for late performance of work? We’re still seeing disputes of that nature. Each contract will dictate who’s responsible,” Paul explains.

For more information, you can read Elizabeth Raymer’s full article, “Crisis and creativity in construction law conflict resolution,” on the Lexpert website.