My question is, are we liable to pay the subcontractor even if the contractor that hired him is not licensed to contract?
Yes, because how is the subcontractor supposed to know if the guy is licensed or not u don't really check that as a sub he gives u a job u do it. Especially if the sub trade has done work on your house I would just pay him it's not his fault.
When you say licensed to contract, are you referring to a plumber, electrician, or just a plain ordinary Joe doing framing, insulation, that sort of thing. If the former then you have to study to get your license or take on the job training for the necessary amount of years, whatever that may be, to get the knowledge.
The license they issue just to work here in the city is nothing but a cash grab to steal your hard earned money. Working here in Canada for every human being is a right, not a privilege. No one can stop you from doing so. Under the law every human being has the right to work but the gov't hides that fact and takes away your full rights to do so and only gives you certain rights, accompanied by a fee in the form of a license. They never tell you honestly what your rights really are.
This is also a moral issue and if someone comes into your home, whether contractor or sub, if he/she does the work to your satisfaction then there should be no question about paying them.
To answer your question: "Yes".
Regardless of being licensed or not, you have a legal obligation to pay for work done that you have requested.
The lack of a license can have serious financial consequences to the "Contractor" you hired and may provide you some legal leverage in your future dealings with him/her but it technically was your responsibility to hire a licensed contractor.
As for the "Sub-Contractor", they too are required to be licensed, however, if they performed work on your home that you requested either directly or through your unlicensed "Contractor" and you did not take the required steps to ensure that the "Contractor" had paid all of his "Sub-Contractors" then you are liable for that money, even if you paid the "Contractor". That then becomes a legal issue for you to pursue against the "Contractor".
If it is within 45 days from when that "Sub-Contractor" performed work on your home the "Sub-Contractor" is completely within their right to file a lien against your property under the Ontario Lien Act. If the matter is not resolved within the next 45 day period the "Sub-Contractor" can "Perfect" the lien by commencing an action against your property in Superior Court (note that construction liens are heard in Superior Court and not Small Claims Court, despite the value of the action).
There are many steps involved in the administration of a construction project. Unfortunately, most homeowners, and believe it or not most so-called "Contractors" have absolutely no idea of them and this, while having nothing to do with quality of work, can lead to unbelievable financial problems for both parties.
As an example, a "Contractor" that is an excellent "Handyman", or Carpenter, or Tile Setter, etc. has a great work ethic, cares about quality and his/her Clients, and worked his/her way up from the bottom to owning his/her own business, does not in any way mean that they know anything about running a Construction Project. That same "Contractor" signs a contract with you for a project of $65,000.00 for work on your home. Unbeknownst to that "Contractor" they could be exposed to potentially $150,000.00 in fines on the first day they set foot on your property and begin work!
Homeowners likewise can be exposed to literally millions of dollars of risk exposure when hiring a "Contractor" to handle their dream project expecting to have most of the risk mitigated by hiring a "Professional".
Construction is a huge industry, it runs year round not only in the summer, and residential construction unfortunately has what is called a "low barrier to entry", meaning that both good and bad people can get started pretty easily and because both the Clients and the "Contractors" have very little knowledge of the business, the industry becomes a nightmare for some and great fuel for both Construction legal disputes and Reality TV shows.
I wish you the best of luck in your situation, but besides being obligated to pay that "Sub-Contractor" I would check to see if the "Contractor" took out a permit and whether or not inspections were conducted and passed.
Best of luck
Cedarfalls Building Consultants Limited
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