Thomas G. Heintzman, O.C., Q.C., FCIArb

Which Dispute Resolution System Applies – Construction Lien or Arbitration?

Courts have difficulty reconciling the rights of parties to arbitration when there are construction liens, cross claims, counterclaims and third party rights involved.  How can arbitration, which is a bilateral dispute resolution system, resolve those disparate rights?  And what appeal rights are there for the parties who are dissatisfied with a judge’s conclusion that the […]

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Can An Arbitrator Determine The Rights Of Non-Parties?

The Alberta Court of Appeal recently considered an arbitration award in which the arbitrator had decided the rights of non parties to the arbitration.  In MJS Recycling Inc. v. Shane Homes Limited, the Court held that the arbitrator had no authority to determine the rights of non-parties. The court set aside the award and remitted […]

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Should ADR Be Part Of The Tender Process?

An age-old problem arising from a tender on a construction project is:   what does a sub-contractor do when it is the successful bidder but believes that the work is different than shown in the tender documents and the contractor says:  Those are the conditions: Take ‘em or leave ‘em.   But if you back out of […]

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Does The Competence-Competence Principle Apply To Third Parties To An Arbitration Agreement?

The competence of an arbitral tribunal to determine its own competence has become firmly rooted in Canadian law.  But what happens when the tribunal has to decide issues which directly affect third parties? In Ontario v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited, the Court of Appeal for Ontario recently held that, in that circumstance, the principle does […]

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Does A Breach of Fiduciary Duty Fall Within An Arbitration Clause?

In the recent decision, St. Pierre v. Chriscan Enterprises Ltd., the British Columbia Court of Appeal considered whether a claim by an owner against the project manager for breach of fiduciary duty fell within the wording of the arbitration clause in the project management agreement. The arbitration clause stated that disagreements “as to the interpretation […]

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Is A Subcontractor Bound By The Arbitration Clause In The Main Contract?

In a judgment delivered on May 6, 2011, Chief Justice Joseph P. Kennedy of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court dealt with a contentious issue relating to arbitration clauses in construction contracts. Is an arbitration clause in the main contract between the owner and the contractor incorporated into a subcontract between the contractor and subcontractor? If […]

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