Publishing CSPs: OAA and OGCA issue joint statement about best practices

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Ontario Construction News combines compliance with resources to aid in searches

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) and the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) have issued a joint statement outlining “best practice regarding the publication of Certificates of Substantial Performance (CSPs).”

The associations say in their statement last Friday that the Construction Act “has changed the definition of a daily industry paper in which substantial performance may be published.”

“The Act specifically refers to the fact that they may be published in a construction trade newspaper as per the regulations. Under the regulations Section 9 a construction trade newspaper means a daily newspaper and the most important part here for us is either ‘published or electronic’.” “Currently to our knowledge there are three companies advertising the ability to publish CSPs,” the associations say in their statement.

“This raises some questions.”

“Most importantly it should be noted that neither of our associations is advocating any one publication as being the sole publisher that should be used, and neither association is in a position to verify that any publisher meets the requirements to be considered a construction trade newspaper, nor does the government maintain a list of acceptable publishers,” they say.

“The expanding number of publications in which CSPs can now be published makes it more difficult for those searching for the CSP publication in order to anticipate the release of their holdback or be prepared to start an action. If this information is not readily available to those involved in the project, it could be disruptive and have ramifications for the owner and others.

“It is our opinion that this can be easily resolved by taking some simple steps when issuing a tender or when contractors issue their purchase orders or contracts to sub trades. The key is communication.

“Therefore we are recommending to OAA members that when preparing bid documents the general contractors be required to identify which publisher will be used, or when general contractors are issuing their purchase orders or contracts to sub trades that they identify where they will be publishing their CSPs. This should be included in writing in these documents. This simple step will ensure clear communication and avoid potential problems down the road between all parties involved in the procurement, consultation, and building process.”

Ontario Construction News (OCN) has developed a resource to allow a universal search tool of the three publications posting Certificates of Substantial Performance (CSP) at

“We appreciate the complexity with the number of competing publications and websites publishing CSPs,” said OCN publisher Mark Buckshon. “We hope our new tool will supplement other initiatives, such as the OAA and OGCA’s recommendations, to reduce confusion and the risk of owners, contractors, subtrades and suppliers missing deadlines because they fail to notice published CSPs and other data.”

“While we’ve been very careful to combine the Ontario Construction Act’s allowance for the ‘construction trade newspaper’ to be in electronic format, from the launch of our publication in May, 2019, we’ve also appreciated the Legislation Act (2006)’s definition of a ‘newspaper’,” Buckshon said.

OCN publishes an eight-page PDF in newspaper tabloid format, ensuring it is published in “regular intervals” and in a “sheet format” as defined by the Legislation Act.

“Our competitors have published conflicting legal interpretations about whether a website with some construction news can be properly defined as a “newspaper”, and therefore it meets the definition of a ‘construction trade newspaper’ under the Ontario Construction Act. (See this interpretation published in February by the Daily Commercial News (DCN).)

“We’re relieved that the long-established DCN considers our publication to be compliant with the relevant ‘newspaper’ definitions,” Buckshon said. “In effect, they’ve validated that it is possible to save substantial amounts of money – and achieve much more rapid publication of the relevant certificates – while still remaining compliant with the relevant laws.”

For more information and to place your CSP notice in Ontario Construction News, visit


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