Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Surety Association of Canada (SAC) has released a white paper: “Digital Bonds the Way of the Future”, saying in a statement: “Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, there has been a need for dramatic shifts in the methods for the distribution of surety bonds, more specifically for construction projects and service/maintenance contracts.”
This white paper provides a detailed overview of digital bonds, including the requirement for such bonds to meet the three threshold criteria identified by SAC as essential to any legitimate digital bond:
- Integrity of content: The assurances that the document received is the true document executed and the content has not been changed or altered.
- Secure access: Restricting the access to the document to those authorized to view and/or download it.
- Verifiability/enforceability: Assurances that the document was duly executed by the parties identified and that it is enforceable in law.
SAC said in a statement that the White Paper document cautions users to be wary of commonly used substitutes for digital bonds such as scanned images which may be expedient, but do not meet these cornerstone criteria.
“Over the past number of months, SAC has been inundated with inquiries from both owners and contractors about how to obtain a digital bond,” association president Steven D. Ness said last Tuesday. “And although we have stated our recommendation previously and provide comprehensive information on our website regarding e-bonding and digital bonds, we felt it necessary to create this white paper to provide a printable resource for various stakeholder groups”.
Sharon Clark-Koufis, SAC’s director of operations, membership and stakeholder services said: “To assist stakeholders in becoming more informed and knowledgeable about e-bonding and digital bonds, we also launched an FAQ section on our website of some of the most common questions that we have received since the start of the pandemic as we saw an increase in the number of requests for digital bonds.”
“In addition to resources found on our website, our entire SAC team is here to help provide support and direction to owners who are shifting their processes towards the acceptance of digital/e-bonds by connecting them with an e-bonding system vendor, as well we are available to provide guidance to contractors, or others, on how to obtain a digital/e-bond by connecting them with a SAC broker member,” Ness said.