In a recent CBC news report ‘Sask. Construction Association says province’s failure to protect subcontractors is ‘a travesty’, the Saskatchewan Construction Association (SCA) states the residential sector does not see value in prompt payment legislation. This is not true, we see it essential the industry pays on time. The issue is providing payment in 28 days.
We as an Association, support prompt payment laws, we just asked that the 28-day period extend to 31 days. We expect our members to be diligent when paying their bills, yet this is something they do on a monthly basis. For accounting and other purposes, it would be easier to adapt to this new legislation if it simply required payment within 31 days (one month).
We recognize the vulnerability of contractors in the residential sector, even though consultation with the residential sector was minimal on this new prompt payment law we were extremely flexible. We did not ask specifically for exemptions or any other conditions to be met. Unfortunately, the SCA was inflexible throughout this process, seeing it as unreasonable to allow small business owners and contractors one month to pay their bills. The SCA allowed public policy decision makers to believe they represent all areas of the construction industry, but they do not. At best they represent sub trades and suppliers in the industrial and commercial sectors. Considering all factors which might delay projects (i.e. weather, red tape, or delays in the supply chain, etc.), we do not think asking for a 3-day extension is unreasonable in the slightest.
The fact is, when the RRHBA learned of the Harmony Builders situation, there membership was suspended immediately, based on the RRHBA Code of Ethics that all members shall deal justly with their employees, subcontractors and suppliers of all good and services.
The article also quoted, Jennifer Denouden of Avana Enterprises, former member and former director on the board that ‘the law makes sense’ and ‘it’s an old boys club’. The reality is, Denouden was a participant in the only consultation the SCA had with the industry and was visibly opposed to the Prompt Payment Legislation at the time. When it comes to an ‘old boys club’ the current make up of the Board of Directors is 36% female, over 20% mixed ethnicity and half under the age of 40. Although we need to continue to pursue diversity and inclusion, we actively working towards that goal.