REALWorld Law


General construction law

What are the main sources of law that govern and regulate contracts for the design or carrying out of building works?



With the exception of the civil law system in the Province of Québec, Canada is a common law jurisdiction. This means that Canadian law is derived primarily both from statute (Acts and legislative instruments of the federal Parliament of Canada and provincial and territorial legislative assemblies made in accordance with Canada’s Constitution) and common law (the decisions of the Canadian Courts and tribunals, also known as ‘case law’).

In Canada, the areas of law which are relevant to building works are as follows:

  1. Contract law – The law that governs agreements and arrangements between parties.
  2. Law of tort – The law that addresses, and provides remedies for, civil wrongs not arising out of contractual obligations.
  3. Legislation – Various statutes which govern the carrying out of construction operations and the delivery of infrastructure.
  4. Breach of statutory duty – Failure to carry out duties or to fulfil obligations imposed by legislation. For example, an injured person may be able to make a civil claim if it has suffered injury as a result of the breach (unless specifically excluded in the statute itself).
  5. Law of restitution – The area of law concerned with the award of remedies which have one common function: to deprive the defendant of a gain, rather than to compensate the claimant for loss suffered.