Home builders in the Central Okanagan believe in paying people on time.

But they do not believe in Private Members’ Bill M 223, Prompt Payment (Builders Lien) Act, introduced in the B.C. Legislature by Liberal Langley MLA Mary Polak.

The private members’bill, if passed, would lead to laws meaning contractors have to meet mandatory payment timelines after receiving an invoice.

If a homeowner, builder or municipality disputes the invoice, or does not respond within 14 days, a mandatory adjudication process begins to settle the dispute.

During the adjudication, a mediator needs to be engaged at the cost of both parties, adding more red tape, legal costs and delaying projects, according to the Central Okanagan branch of the Canadian Home Builders’Associaiton.

“To be clear, opposing this bill does not mean we do not believe in paying people on time,” said association president Cassidy deVeer.

“Our members sign a code of ethics before joining and they commit to fair payment. Currently, the Provincial Builders Lien Act covers all forms of construction in B.C. – residential, commercial and industrial, which allows contractors to place liens on homes if bills aren’t paid.”

The local chapter’s opposition follows the B.C. branch of the association coming out against the bill last week.

“If this legislation is passed, a contractor, who may have an invoice for $800, would be forced into an adjudication process where legal costs and time spent may be higher than the invoice,” said deVeer.

“There was zero consultation with the residential construction industry before this private members’ bill was introduced. The B.C. Liberal Party professes to be the free enterprise party, but they did not consult the home building industry before drafting this poorly conceived legislation. It just adds policy on top of policy. While the intentions are good, the execution is poor.”

The associations would prefer to wait and see if similar new legislation in Ontario is working before implementing it in this province, or not.

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