By Mark Buckshon
Publisher, Ontario Construction Report
Recently one of our clients advertising Certificates of Substantial Performance (CSP) in Ontario Construction News received a disturbing response from a Toronto District School Board (TDSB) project manager, who emailed the contractor:
“The publication needs to be with the Daily Commercial News, this is the TDSB standard and the instruction that has been sent from our legal department.”
To say the least, I was shocked and somewhat dismayed by this communication. So I set out to determine if the TDSB legal department knew something that we didn’t about compliance with the regulations and statutes under the Ontario Construction Act and the Legislation Act (2006).
I drafted a letter to TDSB senior counsel Leola M. Pon, and sent it to her as an email attachment as our administrator prepared to forward a copy by Canada Post.
That snail mail delivery proved unnecessary.
In my lifetime, I’ve never had a lawyer respond so quickly and positively – let alone the senior counsel for a gigantic school district.
Pon replied within five minutes saying the TDSB lawyer responsible for construction documentation would communicate shortly.
And, within five minutes, I received a second email, from senior legal counsel Krish Chakraborty:
I am legal counsel to this TDSB with respect to the above-referenced matter. I write in response to your letter to Ms. Pon dated September 21, 2020.
Please note that we do not have any “policy” that requires CSP’s on TDSB projects to be published exclusively on Daily Commercial News. As per your letter, CSP’s may be published in any Construction Trade Newspaper within the meaning of the Construction Act.
We apologize for any miscommunication that you may have received. I will update my construction group on the matter immediately to include Ontario Construction News on TDSB’s list of compliant construction trade newspapers.
I trust this is satisfactory.
Toronto District School Board, Senior Legal Counsel, Legal Services
This refreshingly rapid response says something good about the TDSB’s responsiveness. It also validates our work since May, 2019, in ensuring that OCN truly complies with the legal requirements for notice publication under the Ontario Construction Act, and that contractors can be assured that their notices meet the Act’s legal requirements.
With this response, I quickly sent a note to the contractor that his CSP notice indeed meets TDSB’s requirements and we could close the file.
Ontario Construction News has successfully pioneered compliance under the Construction Act’s regulations that allow the construction trade newspaper to be published electronically. But we also appreciated that we needed to stay as close as possible to the provincial government’s legal definition of a “newspaper” as outlined in the Legislation Act (2006).
It turns out that after many decades of publishing in print, Daily Commercial News ended its paper issues a few months ago – and now publishes their daily issues in a format truly similar to ours.
We respect the competition and its undeniable compliance with the law. With a healthy dose of competitive spirit, we’ve sought to speed up the publishing cycle so that Certificates of Publication can be issued within a day of the relevant form reaching us as an email attachment. And this is with an extra proofing verification step – that takes just a few minutes but catches many errors before publication. Our pricing is competitive, as well.
In the months ahead, watch for further improvements as we enhance our journalism and expand coverage of the industry news important for your business.