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New Brunswick lagging behind rest of Canada with prompt payment laws for contractors

Click to play video: 'N.B. construction industry calling for legislation to speed up projects' N.B. construction industry calling for legislation to speed up projects
WATCH: With a high demand for more housing supply, there's no shortage of work for New Brunswick construction workers. But it's not unusual for there to be delays in getting projects started. As Suzanne Lapointe explains, the industry is calling for new legislation that could help speed things up – Apr 8, 2022

With the price of materials skyrocketing, it’s getting difficult for contractors to front the cost for construction projects without knowing when they’ll be reimbursed.

The New Brunswick Construction Association is calling for that to change as soon as possible.

Executive director John-Ryan Morrison calls it the number one issue stopping construction companies from growing, followed by an industry-wide labour shortage.

“Currently New Brunswick has no payment timeline in the construction industry, and when payments are delayed in any part of the process, contractor cashflow is directly affected,” he said in an interview on Thursday.

Read more: New Brunswick cities looking to increase density through record-breaking construction

In his state of the province address in early April, Premier Blaine Higgs said he was committed to passing prompt payment legislation in 2022, saying it should be introduced in the spring or fall of this year.

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Most other provinces have already committed to prompt payment legislation, which ensures construction companies are paid within a pre-determined timeline. In Saskatchewan and Ontario, where the legislation is already in place, that timeline is 28 days.

“We will be one of the last, if not the last, by the time this passes legislation,” Morrison said.

“We can’t bid on new projects if we haven’t been paid for the last project.”

Read more: Developers can’t build fast enough to meet demand to move to Shediac, N.B.

The provincial government declined to comment or give further details, saying it is still in the early days of the process.

Morrison said he’s seen construction projects in Prince Edward Island go without bids from construction companies due to payment and staffing issues, as well as a lack of housing for construction crews.

“It’s great that we want all these apartments but if there’s no one to build them then it’s not going to happen. And if there’s no affordable housing in these apartments to bring in skilled labourers, then these apartments aren’t going to get built,” he said.

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