News release

Legislation Addresses Payment Disputes in Construction Industry

The Province is making sure that members of the construction industry are paid promptly for the work they do.

Legislation introduced today, October 18, will give the government the authority to appoint an external body to adjudicate disputes between developers and their contractors and subcontractors.

Amendments to the Builders’ Lien Act will allow the new authority to collect and manage fees to cover the costs associated with adjudicating disputes. It will also define the body’s duties and powers related to training adjudicators and setting and collecting adjudication fees.

The legislation further strengthens the prompt payment process by:

  • defining the scope of disputes that can be referred to adjudication to include disputes related to the value of services or materials provided under a contract and disputes related to payment under a contract
  • setting out parameters for the timing of decisions.

“The construction industry is essential to the economic growth of our province,” said Justice Minister Brad Johns. “It is important that contractors, subcontractors and suppliers are paid promptly for the work they do. It’s also important that any dispute over payment is resolved in a fair and timely way.”

The changes will take effect once regulations are developed to establish timelines and other specifics for the adjudicative process.

The Province will continue to consult with stakeholders, including municipalities and sectors that manage infrastructure and construction projects, on the development of the regulations.


This legislation will ensure that the rights and responsibilities of all parties to construction projects are protected and that all parties have the legal recourse necessary to protect their firms, assets and employees. We are looking forward to finalizing the regulations and the legislation coming into full force as soon as possible. Duncan Williams, President, Construction Association of Nova Scotia

Quick Facts:

  • amendments were made to the Builders’ Lien Act in 2019 to introduce a prompt payment process to provide a stronger legal framework for Nova Scotia’s construction business owners and workers to get paid on time for the work they do
  • three other provinces – Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta – currently have prompt payment regimes