Work or material must be “in relation to” the improvement

Section 2 of the Builders Lien Act defines who is entitled to a lien and requires that the work or material must be provided “in relation to” the improvement.
 
In Northern Thunderbird Air Ltd. v. Royal Oak & Kemess Mines Inc., 2002 BCCA 58 the British Columbia Court of Appeal held that the words “in relation to” are susceptible to a wide range of meanings, but that they should be read narrowly when interpreting s. 2(1) of the Builders Lien Act:
 
The troublesome language in this case is the phrase "in relation to" connecting the services, the costs of which are the subject of the lien claim, and the improvement against which the lien is claimed.  There is, in my view, considerable ambiguity in that phrase.  It can be given a broad or narrow meaning.  Giving the words their "plain meaning" without restriction would allow lien claims for services provided no matter how tenuous or indirect their connection to the improvement might be.  On the other hand, if one is to read the phrase more narrowly, the question is how any limitation on its meaning can be expressed, consistent with applicable principles.
I conclude that the phrase "in relation to" in s.2(1) and in the definition of contractor is to be read as meaning "in direct relation to", or "in relation to an integral part of the improvement", and that the definition of "services" is not to be read as limitless, despite its inclusive nature. 
 
(Northern Thunderbird Air Ltd. v. Royal Oak & Kemess Mines Inc., 2002 BCCA at para. 21 and 56).
 
In Northern Thunderbird Air Ltd. v. Royal Oak & Kemess Mines Inc., 2002 BCCA 58 the British Columbia Court of Appeal considered whether air transportation services for taking workers to and from the construction site were services “in relation to” the improvement, and held that they were not as the connection between the services and the improvement was not sufficiently close.

 

 

 

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