2 May 2022
Hon. Blaine Higgs, Premier
Province of New Brunswick
Chancery Place, P. O. Box 6000
Via email: email@example.com
Dear Premier Higgs:
Re: Prompt Payment Legislation
We are writing today to support the efforts of the Construction Association of New Brunswick (“CANB”) to request that the province implement “Prompt Payment Legislation.” CANB provided you with a letter on April 6, 2022 as a follow-up to your comments about the matter to Krista Ross of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce during the “fireside chat” portion of the 2022 State of the Province Address. We appreciate your supportive comments during that conversation.
Business associations in New Brunswick have also previously written to Minister Steeves and Attorney General Flemming to highlight the issue. The Attorney General’s Office has previously studied this issue and supports its implementation in New Brunswick – their Law Reform Note can be found here (beginning on page 9): https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/ag-pg/PDF/en/LawReform/Notes41.pdf
In our view, a prompt payment scheme similar to that in Ontario should be adopted in New Brunswick. As in Ontario, it should apply to both the public and private sector, to all construction projects (from small home renovations to P3s), at all levels of the construction pyramid (with the exception of wages).
Construction prompt payment legislation sets a system for requiring and adjudicating prompt payments on construction projects. The prompt payment legislation promotes the orderly and timely carrying out of construction projects and the current system sometimes leaves general contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers without payment for months after the completion of infrastructure projects. This causes delays in beginning new projects or companies to shut down due to the lack of payment.
As the CANB letter notes, New Brunswick will soon be the only province without this legislation. The construction industry has identified the lack of such legislation as a drag on cash flow, which is limiting capacity to produce new housing – which, as you know, is one of the key barriers holding back population growth and economic expansion in the province.
The federal government and most other provinces have taken steps to adopt prompt payment legislation. This legislation would ensure that all levels of contractors are paid on time by public and private owners. For example: in Ontario, the prompt payment regime comprises swift payment deadlines, requiring the owner either to pay within 28 calendar days or dispute within 14 calendar days, describing the reasons for non-payment. In turn, the contractor must either pay its subcontractors within seven calendar days of receipt of payment or send notices of dispute within seven calendar days. The Law Reform Note above recommends adopting a system similar to Ontario’s
With prompt payment legislation, we can ensure that companies are paid on time and are ready to undertake the next project to build better infrastructure in New Brunswick.
Krista Ross, CEO, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce
Julie Pinette, ED, Chaleur Chamber of Commerce
David Duplisea, CEO, Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce
John Wishart, CEO, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton
Cathy Pelletier, ED, Edmundston Region Chamber of Commerce
Vanessa Coggan, ED, Sussex & District Chamber of Commerce
Sheri Somerville, CEO, Atlantic Chamber of Commerce
cc: Hon. Ted Flemming, Attorney General, Province of New Brunswick
cc: Hon. Ernie Steeves, Minister of Finance, Province of New Brunswick
cc: John-Ryan Morrison, Executive Director, Construction Association of New Brunswick