NTCCC maintains that contract provisions that transfer responsibility of potential COVID-19 outbreaks should not be used in construction contracts

OTTAWA, November 25, 2021 – The National Trade Contractors Council of Canada (NTCCC) has spoken out against what it is seeing with increased frequency in the construction industry, where construction contracts and tender packages attempt to download the financial burden of potential COVID-19 outbreaks to the subcontractor.

“These clauses are a clear attempt to transfer an unfair, and in many cases unprovable risk to the subcontractor,” said Sandra Skivsky, Chair of the NTCCC. “Beyond their obvious unfair nature, these clauses do nothing more than create an adversarial environment on a construction project; one that is completely counter to the ‘We are all in this together’ mindset.”

While construction contracts are meant to fairly allocate risk on a construction project, clauses that single out and lay blame at the foot of the subcontractor for something outside of their control are strongly opposed by the NTCCC. The council of national trade contractor associations would like to make subcontractors aware of this trend and look for these types of clauses and provisions before signing a contract.

“We would also ask that Owners and Contractors view these clauses for what they are: unnecessary and unfair,” added Skivsky. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, trade contractors and their workers have been dedicated to working within health and safety protocols related to COVID-19. There is no need to have clauses such as these included in construction contracts.”