Subcontractor legal rights to stop work due to non-payment

I am the owner of a Janitorial company, which subcontracts work from bigger janitorial companies (main contractor). Our payment terms as per contract are NET 45days, but the main contractor has never paid as per the terms in contract. Frustrated after one year of working with this company I've sent a 30 day notice to terminate our contract which ends in a week. Now, I have to receive payments for last 3 months, when I ask them for payment for at least September, they don't respond to my calls or texts or emails. Now I want to know, if I can stop working for them immediately until payments are made? Is that legal and what are the other complications I might have to face in getting the payments?

Asked about 5 years ago in Alberta
Categories: Contracts  Civil Litigation  Business Law

Answer Now

Katherine MacRae

Answer by Katherine MacRae

VerifiedAlberta lawyer

It depends on the terms of your contract.  If you can terminate services for non payment under your contract, then you can stop working.

I suggest you complete to your notice period, then sue the contractor in small claims court.  The fee is nominal, and you don't need a lawyer.  I would also contact the office owner to advise that you have not been paid by its contractor for your services.

If you do plan on suing in small claims court, the only reason to complete the contract is that you will be going to the court with clean hands, having fulfilled the terms of your contract.

Take photos of the work you did, as if you sue, the contractor likely will allege your work was subpar.  This is particularly important for common areas and bathrooms.

Posted about 5 years ago

Please note that this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice to you. Legal advice pertaining to your particular situation can only be provided by a lawyer who has met with you to obtain all pertinent background information necessary to give you a formal legal opinion. For formal legal advice, hire a lawyer (many give a free first consultation). Contact Katherine MacRae, or search the Lawyer Directory.


Thank you very much for your suggestion. There is nothing mentioned in the contract we signed with them, about what we can do in case of non-payment. Only thing mentioned about payments is NET 45days nothing more than that. I will have to agree with taking photos of work, because we have been performing our duties as we've always done and they themselves have agreed that they could not find people who work better than us. But, all of a sudden now after sending out the notice they are coming up with silly complaints and trying to create a story that our work was subpar.

Posted about 5 years ago

For Lawyers:
Join the Directory
for Free!

Learn More
Appellate Practice Edward Prutschi Ontario Lawyer Edward Prutschi Verified Lawyer Don't let criminal charges destroy your future. Invest in a... Details

Connect with us:

Family Matters with Justice Harvey Brownstone - Watch Online TV ShowWatch Online TV Show