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Clients might ask, what do I do when I’m in a dispute with the owner or a contractor?
On larger projects there are quite lengthy contracts that take the form of the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) Contracts or the Standard Form Contracts that are provided by the Canadian Construction Documents Committee (CCDC). In those contracts, there is a dispute resolution mechanism or continuum.
The parties initially are required to enter into amicable negotiations in an effort to settle their dispute amongst themselves. If amicable negotiations does not result in a settlement between the parties, those standard form CCA or CCDC contracts, stipulate specific time limits for mediation and arbitration.
The first step after amicable negotiations is mediation. If that does not result in a settlement, the parties are required or mandated to proceed with arbitration. Arbitration generally results in an arbitration award and the award can then be enforced in court. It is important to note that if you proceed down the dispute resolution process under the standard form contract you must still to preserve it by registration and start the lien action within the 90 day time frame. That action is then stayed by the court to allow for remediation and arbitration process to unfold. If there is a mediated settlement or an arbitration award, those can then be enforced in the action once the stay is lifted.