Robertson Stromberg recognized in the 17th Edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada

Launched in 2006, The Best Lawyers in Canada™ highlights the best legal talent across Canada. For 17 editions, they’ve celebrated the extraordinary accomplishments of those in the legal profession through exhaustive peer-review surveys. Using the same trusted methodology that Best Lawyers has used for more than four decades, The Best Lawyers in Canada is a comprehensive guide to the most prestigious, gifted lawyers in the country.

Congratulations to the lawyers at Robertson Stromberg LLP who have been recognized in the 17th Edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada.

MISTY S. ALEXANDRE

Construction Law

 

M KIM ANDERSON, Q.C.

Banking and Finance Law

Insolvency and Financial Restructuring Law

JARED D. EPP

Construction Law

LESLIE W. PROSSER, Q.C.

Corporate Law

Mining Law

Natural Resource Law

SCOTT D. WATERS, Q.C.

Banking and Finance Law

Corporate Governance Practice

Real Estate Law

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What if I just don’t? A cautionary tale for those who ignore Saskatchewan’s new prompt payment requirements

For the past several years, we have been presenting to the construction industry the pending (and as of March 1, 2022, now in force) prompt payment provisions, which are now included in The Builders’ Lien Act of Saskatchewan. A common question that arises during every discussion on the topic is “what if I just don’t follow these provisions?” While the answer in many cases is clearly outlined in the legislation, there are many unknowns as well. For example, we know that if an Owner does not formally dispute an invoice within 14 days, the invoice becomes due and payable. However, some wondered about the repercussions of simply ignoring the paperwork or payment requirements along the way.  Surely there would be some second chances? We often rely upon Court decisions to interpret legislation, but since the legislation itself is new, it may be a while before we know how the Saskatchewan Courts will address questions of this nature.

Fortunately, we can now take some guidance from the Courts in Ontario (the first jurisdiction in Canada to enact prompt payment legislation.) Their prompt payment provisions have been in place for over two years, and the related Court decisions are now starting to trickle in. The verdict? The Courts fully appreciate the importance of the prompt payment provisions and will interpret them strictly and to the detriment of those who choose to ignore them.

One such case was very recently reported in SOTA Dental Studio Inc. v. Andrid Group Ltd., 2022 ONSC 2254. SOTA hired Andrid to construct a dental clinic in Vaughn, Ontario. Andrid issued invoices to SOTA, none of which were disputed within 14 days of receipt, making those invoices due and payable. When SOTA did not pay within the required 28 days, Andrid invoked the adjudication process and obtained a decision from the adjudicator requiring SOTA to pay the invoiced amount. SOTA continued to ignore its payment obligations, leaving Andrid to pursue enforcement measures. Andrid was able to garnish a portion of the amount owing from SOTA’s bank account, but the majority of the debt remained unpaid.

Similar to Saskatchewan, Ontario’s prompt payment legislation permits a party to apply for judicial review of an adjudicator’s decision, though in Ontario the parties are required to seek leave of the Court to do so, which is not a requirement in Saskatchewan. However, in both provinces, an application for judicial review does not operate as a ‘stay’ of the adjudicator’s order unless the Court orders otherwise.

SOTA was granted leave to bring the judicial review application but did not seek a ‘stay’ of the adjudicator’s decision in the interim. As such, the adjudicator’s decision remained enforceable until the judicial review application was heard by the Court.

In advance of the hearing, the Court flagged their concern with SOTA’s continued failure to pay the amount owing under the adjudicator’s decision. Notably, the Court outlined the following principles to be understood by all parties in the construction industry:

[12]           …  So that there is no misunderstanding in future cases, we suggest the following principles to be borne in mind.

(a) prompt payment is integral to the scheme of the Construction Act. 

(b) failure to pay in accordance with the prompt payment requirements of the Act may lead this court to refuse leave.  Where leave is granted, an applicant must obtain a stay or must make payment, failing which this court may dismiss the application on motion to quash or at the hearing of the application.

At the hearing, SOTA argued that it had not made payment because “there was no money.” The Court responded sternly:

[13] … If the owner is insolvent, as appears to be the case, it should not be permitted to run up costs and delays through recourse to litigation in the face of the order below and the prompt payment provisions of the Act.  If there are circumstances that should lead the court to grant a stay, in all of these circumstances, these must be established on proper evidence in the context of a motion for a stay.

And with that, the Court dismissed SOTA’s application for judicial review and awarded costs to Andrid in the sum of $10,000.

So, what’s the answer to the question “what if I just don’t?” Well, so far the message appears to be that the Courts will take no mercy upon you. All parties in the construction industry should understand the prompt payment and adjudication requirements that are now in force for non-exempt construction contracts entered into after March 1, 2022. In this case, ignorance will not be bliss!

This article is intended to provide legal information only, not legal advice.  Dividing family property can be quite complicated. It is recommended that you seek the advice of a lawyer when considering the division of family property.

For further information, please contact:

Misty S. Alexandre
Direct: 306-933-1352
Email: [email protected]

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Four Robertson Stromberg Lawyers Recognized as Litigation Stars

Robertson Stromberg LLP is proud to announce that four of our lawyers have been recognized by Benchmark Litigation as Litigation Stars.

Lawyers M. Kim Anderson, Q.C., Jennifer D. Pereira, Q.C., Sean M. Sinclair and Gary D. Young, Q.C., have been identified as four of the preeminent litigation practitioners in Canada.

Benchmark Litigation is a definitive guide to leading litigation firms and lawyers. The guide provides law firm and lawyer rankings based on interviews with litigators, dispute resolution specialists and clients, as well as analysis of the legal market’s most important cases and firm developments.

Our senior litigation partner M Kim Anderson, Q.C. focuses his practice on the areas of banking and finance, insolvency and restructuring, insurance, and municipal governance and regulation.

Our partner Jennifer D. Pereira, Q.C. participates in all aspects of the litigation process, with a particular focus on insurance coverage and defense, transportation, and commercial litigation.

Our partner Sean M. Sinclair has experience in most areas of civil litigation but focuses on family law, professional regulation, estate litigation and media law. He is also recognized as a family law arbitrator.

Gary D. Young, Q.C. is a senior litigation lawyer. His practice emphasizes corporate, commercial and construction litigation, insurance law, professional negligence, product liability, and general negligence law.

 

As a full-service Saskatchewan law firm, our roots and values are evident in everything we do. Robertson Stromberg is grounded, pragmatic and progressive. Backed by experience and buoyed by national reach, our lawyers are committed to providing reliable solutions to our clients in all aspects of the law.

 

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National Volunteer Week 2022: Highlighting Robertson Stromberg’s Community Partnerships

From April 24 to 30, Canadians celebrate National Volunteer Week (NVW2022). This year’s theme is Volunteering is Empathy in Action and honours the dedicated volunteers that bring heart to Canada’s communities.

At Robertson Stromberg LLP, we are very proud of our community involvement and our active participation as volunteers with local non-profit organizations. We have deep roots in our community, and we are proud to call the city of Saskatoon home.

Robertson Stromberg’s community partnerships have three central components – volunteer Board memberships, sponsorships and donations, and community involvement.

Board Memberships

 
Non-profit organizations are essential for building an engaged and collaborative community. Our lawyers serve on Boards as a way to support our community and to build capacity within organizations that often have limited resources.

As Board members, Robertson Stromberg lawyers volunteer their time – and provide governance expertise and oversight – to some of our community’s most active non-profit organizations and charities.

Our Board memberships include Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saskatoon and Area, CHEP Good Food, Dress for Success Saskatoon, the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan, OUTSaskatoon, READ Saskatoon, Remai Modern art gallery and Station 20 West community centre. These organizations address issues ranging from food security in the city’s core neighbourhoods to inclusiveness and economic empowerment.

As Board members, Robertson Stromberg lawyers volunteer their time – and provide governance expertise and oversight – to some of our community’s most active non-profit organizations and charities.

Sponsorships and Donations

 
Robertson Stromberg recognizes that the backbone of any charitable organization is its volunteers. That’s why we commit our sponsorship dollars to assist non-profit organizations in building capacity to support those individuals who give their time to make our community great.

Some examples of organizations we support through sponsorships and donations are the Okihtcitawak Patrol Group (OPG), the Sum Theatre and the Secret Santa Foundation. The OPG is an Indigenous created and led community-based patrol group that services Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods. As an independent theatre company, Sum Theatre’s mission is to build community by creating inclusive experiences. The Secret Santa Foundation’s mandate is to provide a complete Christmas to 600 less fortunate Saskatoon families with children under 12.

Community Involvement

 
As a community-minded full-service law firm, Robertson Stromberg lawyers provide pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations across the province. Through the Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA), our lawyers offer legal advice clinics at the Saskatoon Public Library. We also participate with Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan (PBLS) to provide free legal services to low-income provincial residents.

Our community involvement isn’t limited only to legal services. RS Partner Misty Alexandre volunteers as head coach of both the Comet Lazers U9B Hockey Team and the Comet Blasters U7 Hockey Team. Partner Kirsten Hnatuk volunteers as a literacy coach with READ Saskatoon’s literacy program. And, partner Kim Anderson, Q.C., is a member of the Appeals Board for Saskatoon Youth Soccer.

Let’s celebrate Canada’s volunteers together. #NVW2022 #EmpathyInAction #VolunteersBringHeart

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Robertson Stromberg Celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8

Each March, International Women’s Day (IWD2022) is a day to celebrate the achievements of women and girls around the world. This year’s theme is Break The Bias – addressing the unconscious bias that females can experience based on gender.

At Robertson Stromberg LLP, we are very proud that 7 out of our 13 law partners are women. For comparison, according to Catalyst, 39 percent of Saskatchewan lawyers in 2018 were female.

Candice D. Grant

Kirsten M. Hnatuk

Siobhan H. Morgan

Tiffany M. Paulsen, Q.C.

“At Robertson Stromberg, we strive to build a culture of inclusion and representation. We believe female representation benefits our employees, our clients and our business partners. More than 50 percent of our partners are women, which reflects the strengths of both our community and our province.”

– Tiffany M. Paulsen, Q.C.

Siobhan H. Morgan

Tiffany M. Paulsen, Q.C.

As a full-service law firm, we support advancing women in leadership roles and female representation in the legal profession.

“At Robertson Stromberg, we strive to build a culture of inclusion and representation. We believe female representation benefits our employees, our clients and our business partners. More than 50 percent of our partners are women, which reflects the strengths of both our community and our province,” says partner Tiffany M. Paulsen, Q.C.

Female lawyers at Robertson Stromberg practice in areas ranging from construction, transportation, commercial litigation, insurance and professional liability to family law, residential real estate and mediation.

On March 8, we celebrate the women who inspire us as leaders in their chosen legal careers.

Darlene N. Wingerak

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Misty Alexandre presents to the Mechanical Contractors Association of Saskatchewan on the new Prompt Payment Legislation

In a session geared especially for MCAS members, Misty Alexandre presented on the incoming prompt payment legislation.

The session focused on how the new Builder’s Lien (Prompt Payment) Amendment Act will impact infrastructure owners, the design community, and contractors.

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Whether it’s personal or business, we handle cases ranging from wills to overseeing complex business deals, and everything in between. Our success comes as a result of our collective effort. Combining the experience of your lawyer together with the resources of our team, you can put your trust in us to handle your case with confidence.

LawyersMisty S Alexandre