Anthony Burden
Anthony Burden
Practice Group Leader
News + Views + Events
Client Stories

Anthony Burden is the practice group leader for the Dispute Resolution Group in Calgary with a focus in the areas of construction, general litigation and insurance. Anthony’s clients are diverse and represent multiple industry sectors, and range in size from individuals to multinational organizations.

Anthony’s practice focuses on construction claims, in particular construction liens, Public Works Act claims, and surety claims with respect to performance bonds and labour and material payment bonds. He regularly acts for all levels of parties within the contractual chain: owners, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and consultants. He also has extensive experience in the drafting and reviewing of construction contracts, including custom contracts, subcontracts and supplemental conditions to standard form contracts tailored to particular clients and projects. Although he is based in Calgary, Anthony’s clients are located throughout Alberta, and often have operations throughout Canada and beyond.

Anthony also has extensive experience defending Alberta municipalities in a range of litigation including injury claims, construction and building code issues, and development claims.

Anthony has appeared on behalf of clients at all levels of court in Alberta. His approach to providing legal services sees him delivering efficient counsel while also maintaining a focus on avoiding unnecessary, costly litigation. With this approach, he is able to come to a resolution quickly and fairly, while still preserving amicable relations with all sides. Anthony is the sole author of The Canadian Treatment of Construction and Builders’ Liens on Crown Lands, the only text which provides an overview of every Canadian province and territory’s approach to construction liens on land owned by the Crown.

Value to Clients

“My goal is to provide my clients with the best possible outcome as quickly and efficiently as reasonably possible. Sometimes this requires litigation or arbitration, but often effective negotiations and frank correspondence is the best way to achieve resolution. I believe that being up front with both clients and opposing counsel is the quickest route to an amicable resolution for all sides. By being approachable, knowledgeable and dependable, I deliver business-focused solutions.”

Outside the Office

When Anthony is not at the office, he can be found spending time with his two young children and large Inuit husky. An avid athlete, Anthony is also a competitive powerlifter and has taken his passion for the sport to a number of world championships and other national and international competitions. He has continued competing throughout his legal career despite a number of injuries. Anthony also uses his free time to give back to the community and to the legal profession with a number of volunteer roles.  

Advocates Society
Member of Construction Law Practice Group
2024 - Present
Society of Construction Law North America
Regional Director
2022 - Present
Canadian Bar Association - National Construction and Infrastructure Law Section
Member of Executive
2022 - Present
Society of Construction Law North America
2019 - Present
Surety Association of Canada
2019 - Present
Advocates Society
2019 - Present
Canadian Bar Association
2013 - Present
Law Society of Alberta
2013 - Present
Class of 2023
On-Site and SitePartners’ 40 Under 40 in Canadian Construction
Calgary Construction Association
Member of Board of Directors
2019 - Present
Court of Queen's Bench Amicus Program
2015 - Present
Alberta Powerlifting Union
2012 - Present
University of Alberta Powerlifting Association
Vice President
2010 - 2013

Construction Litigation

Custom Electric Ltd. v Stuart Olson Construction Ltd., 2024 ABKB

  • Scale of costs awarded to successful construction lien claimants.

Nandi v Wolf Custom Homes Ltd., 2023 ABKB

  • Attempt to add a third party defendant outside the time limit in the Rules of Court

ProPainting Solutions Inc. v Datta, 2023 ABCJ 101

  • Summary dismissal of subcontractor claim, principles of unjust enrichment

Sunbelt Rentals of Canada Inc. v 1712775 Alberta Ltd. Operating as HD Construction, 2023 ABKB

  • Payment from the lien fund, impact of certificate of substantial performance on lien fund calculation

Miclex Construction Inc v North Central Co-Operative Association Ltd, 2023 ABKB 46

  • Summary judgment on lien claims, deference owed to consultant findings

CCS Contracting Ltd v Condominium Corporation No 1520090, 2023 ABKB 147

  • Application of pending registration queue to deadline for certificate of lis pendens registration

Datta v. Contempa Carpet Co., 2022 CarswellAlta 3819 (ABQB)

  • Application of pending registration queue to deadline for certificate of lis pendens registration

Factors Western Inc v DCR Inc, 2021 ABCA 433

  • Setting the major lien fund, whether a factored account forms part of the major lien fund

Amble Ventures (Alberta) Ltd v D.B.K. Engineering Ltd, 2019 ABQB 287

  • Limitation period for a third party claim against a mechanical contractor

Golden Triangle Construction Management Inc v Nuwest Interior Systems Inc, 2019 ABQB 292

  • Whether municipal reserve lands in Alberta are subject to the Builders’ Lien Act

Park Avenue Flooring Inc v EllisDon Construction Services Inc, 2019 ABQB 73

  • Proper scope of questioning on Affidavit

General/Commercial Litigation

QAi Quality Assurance Inc v Tumblin Consulting Ltd, 2023 ABKB 251

  • Valuation of a shareholder interest in a shareholder dispute

Malmberg v Boyd , 2020 ABQB 80

  • Whether an assignment of rents runs with the lands to bind subsequent landowners

Malmberg v Boyd , 2020 ABQB 326

  • Costs payable to a substantially successful party in litigation

Steer v. Chicago Title Insurance Company, 2019 ABQB 670

  • Whether litigation is “public interest” litigation for costs purposes

Steer v Chicago Title Insurance Company, 2019 ABQB 318

  • Coverage under a title insurance policy

Carvalho v Associated Chinook Cab Ltd., 2019 ABPC

  • Res Judicata of a claim for property damage

Steer v Chicago Title Insurance Company, 2018 ABQB 28

  • Coverage under a title insurance policy

Meghji v Ippolito, 2017 ABPC 7

  • Enforcement of a settlement agreement

Municipality Defence  

Gradziel v Town of Coalhurst, 2020 ABQB

  • Summary dismissal of a claim against a municipality for development and building permits

Nelson v Grande Prairie (City), 2019 ABQB 897

  • Summary dismissal of a slip and fall claim against a municipality

Nelson v. City of Grande Prairie, 2018 ABQB 537

  • Summary dismissal of a slip and fall claim against a municipality
June 2024 - 6 min read
Sludgy Pleadings: The Test for Withdrawing Admissions
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
To withdraw admissions, the applicant must demonstrate: (1) that the proposed amendment raises a triable issue, (2) there is a reasonable explanation for the withdrawal, and (3) that the withdrawal will not result in prejudice to the r...
June 2024 - 7 min read
Don’t Hold Me To It! Where Contractual Intention Overrides Statutory Conditions
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
This case highlights that prudency when drafting or agreeing to an exclusion clause in a purchase agreement is critical. Wording isn’t everything - a court will analyze each party’s intentions and the facts surrounding the ...
June 2024
Legal Notes: Thinking of destroying evidence? Don’t do it!
Daily Commercial News
May 2024 - 5 min read
Constructing Confidence: The Adequacy of Letters of Credit in Lien Security
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
TruGrp Inc. v. Karmina Holdings Inc. addresses the adequacy of letters of credit as security to vacate a lien. Concerns were raised about the enforceability of a bank’s letter of credit due to specific language that might render ...
May 2024 - 2 min read
Legal Notes: The Frustration of Suing the Federal Government for Payment
Daily Commercial News
April 2024 - 5 min read
Mastering Compliance: Understanding Safety Codes Council Orders and Appeals in Construction
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
The Court of King’s Bench reaffirmed the decision by the Safety Codes Council of Alberta Appeals Panel, which found that portable storage racks in a warehouse do not fall under the National Building Code's jurisdiction. This ...
April 2024 - 3 min read
Spoiler Alert: Don’t Destroy Evidence
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that Ontario improperly destroyed documents related to Trillium's halted wind farm project. Though Trillium's original claims were dismissed and costly, the appeal revealed Ontario's failur...
April 2024 - 5 min read
When Is a Lien For Design Work Valid?
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
When determining whether a party has performed or provided work "in relation to an improvement", BC courts will not stray from the rule that, without any physical demolition or construction work having begun, pre-construction...
March 2024 - 7 min read
The Owner Strikes Back: Subcontractor Unjust Enrichment Claims
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
When striking pleadings, the moving party must show that it is "plain, obvious, and beyond doubt" that the plaintiff's claim could not succeed – it must have no reasonable prospect of success. This is typically a hi...
February 2024 - 3 min read
The Fine Line in Construction Lien Errors
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
When registering a lien, ensuring the information included is accurate is crucial to lien validity. Getting the date work was completed, or the legal land location, wrong, is often fatal. But where does the court draw the line between ...
January 2024 - 4 min read
Construction Liens: Resolving Costs in Default Actions
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
In a construction lien dispute, Alfa Mechanical filed a motion for default judgment against the Changs over a Toronto property lien. The parties set aside the default noting but disagreed on costs. The court awarded Alfa expenses for t...
December 2023 - 5 min read
How Much is Too Much: Extraordinary Remedies for Excessive Liens
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
Determining the proper amount of a construction lien routinely arises in construction law proceedings. In certain circumstances, there may be no basis to support an excessive lien amount, which could ultimately bring the matter be...
November 2023
Construction Lien Dilemma: Landlord Liability in Tenant-Driven Renovations
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
A contractor may register a construction lien on a property to obtain payment for their unpaid services or materials. While registering liens is generally straightforward, complexities arise when the property's fee simple registere...
November 2023 - 6 min read
Third-Party Beneficiary of a Contract Bound by Mandatory Arbitration Clause
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
The Court had to determine whether an owner, as third-party beneficiary of a subcontract, could litigate contractual warranty claims against a subcontractor, when the subcontract required “all disputes” under the subcontrac...
October 2023 - 4 min read
Lien on Me: Consequences of Excessive Liens
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
Courts have the discretion to determine the security amount required to vacate a lien, which can be less than the claimed lien amount. In a recent BC case, a lien was allowed to be vacated by posting security for half of the disputed a...
September 2023
Legal Notes: Correct names on Both Contracts and Liens can Save Headaches
Daily Commercial News
September 2023
Legal Notes: Indemnity Awards are Based on Proportionality and Court Conduct
Daily Commercial News by ConstructConnect
September 2023 - 5 min read
Get Me Out: Interpleader Orders + Ongoing Contractor Litigation
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
The Court found that where the amount owed to the general contractor exceeded the principal debts owed to subcontractors, it was appropriate to pay the full amount owed to the general contractor into court to fully secure subcontractor...
August 2023 - 4 min read
Substantial Indemnity Costs in the Context of Liens
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
Parties to construction contracts should be attentive to the potential for substantial indemnity costs in lien proceedings, recognizing the significance of recoverable litigation costs. The courts have the authority to award costs on...
August 2023 - 2 min read
Legal Notes: Dicing up Responsibility When Buildings go Wrong
Daily Commercial News by ConstructConnect
July 2023 - 6 min read
Lien Bonds Are as Good as Cash
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
The Manitoba Court of Appeal reversed a chambers Justice's decision which held that a lien bond was not as good as cash for vacating liens on a Crown project. In doing so, the Court of Appeal noted that in situations where neither ...
July 2023 - 4 min read
Who is Responsible for Defective Design?
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
The Court in Seagate Construction v Halifax Regional Municipality held that when a contractor is hired to carry out a design created by others, it is not responsible for faulty aspects of the intended design if its workmanship is sound...
July 2023 - 4 min read
Determining Validity of Contractor Claim of Lien
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
Understanding engagement relationships and responsibilities regarding subcontractors is crucial for construction company owners. A recent decision ruled that a lien was valid, even though the property owners were unaware of the subco...
June 2023 - 5 min read
How Should a Court Settle the Terms of a Release in Contentious Settlements?
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
Haider v Rizvi highlights the Court's role in resolving disagreements when parties fail to agree on the terms of a release following a settlement. In this case, the Court determined the contents of a full and final mutual release...
June 2023 - 4 min read
Mistakes on Builders' Liens: Can They Be Cured?
Constructive Thoughts Newsletter
Two recent cases in Alberta and British Columbia examined the validity of construction liens with mistakes. In Alberta, a court ruled that liens with substantial compliance and no prejudice can be valid, even with certain mistakes. I...
May 24, 2023 - 4 min read
Surety Liability Under a Performance Bond
The Court faced a situation where it had to determine whether a surety had any liability under a performance bond. The Court found that even where it could not conclusively determine whether certain damages were due to the principal...
April 2023 - 3 min read
Legal Notes: Tough Love in the Tender Process
Journal of Commerce
April 2023 - 3 min read
Immovable Security: Lien Eligibility for Mobile Structures
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice confirmed that portable classrooms are characterized as "improvements" and are therefore eligible for a lien under the Ontario Construction Act. The same conclusion would like...
March 2023 - 4 min read
Priority Between Builders' Liens + Trustee Fees in a Bankrupt Estate
Usually, secured claims against a bankrupt estate (such as builders' liens) are paid out before any other claims, including a bankruptcy trustee's fees. But fairness is the most important consideration when administering a ba...
February 2023 - 3 min read
Unfinished Business: The Importance of a Flawless Bid in the Tender Process
If a submitted tender does not strictly comply with all the mandatory requirements of the tender package, the owner can and should reject that tender. This ensures that all bidders are treated fairly – the overarching...
January 2023 - 4 min read
Does a Subcontractor Have a Claim for Unjust Enrichment Against the Owner?
The Court confirmed that if a subcontractor registers a lien and subsequently fails to perfect that lien claim, it does not have an unjust enrichment claim. The lack of privity between an owner and subcontractor rarely results in a v...
January 2023 - 4 min read
Court Provides Clarity on Substituting Lien Bonds for Cash in Court
The Court stated that while posting a lien bond as a replacement for cash paid into court can free up funds that help lead to the completion of the project, doing so cannot be done if it undermines the trust provisions of lien legislat...
December 2022 - 3 min read
When Worlds Collide: The Interplay Between Liens and Adjudication Orders
Alberta’s prompt payment and adjudication provisions are based heavily on Ontario’s Construction Act, but a major difference is the extent of trust provisions. In Alberta, a trust only arises when a certificate of sub...
November 2022 - 3 min read
Arbitration and Litigation and Bankruptcy, Oh My!
What happens when a party who has agreed to arbitrate its dispute goes bankrupt? If the arbitration process compromises the efficiency of the receivership process, the Court may decide to deal with the dispute and the entire bankrupt e...
November 2022
Getting a Grip on Slip-and-Fall Cases: Nelson (City) v. Marchi
Canadian Lawyer
November 2022
Complete or Not Complete: When is Substantial Performance Attained?
In Alberta, issuing a certificate of substantial performance allows the major lien fund to be released once the requisite time has elapsed. In British Columbia, issuing a certificate of completion allows the holdback to be released once the requisite t...
September 2022 - 4 min read
Can Surety Bonds be Rescinded Due to a Contractor's Fraudulent Conduct?
Surety bonds are commonplace on construction projects across Canada. They provide assurance that if the principal under the bond (usually a general contractor or major subcontractor) defaults, funds will be available to complete the work and/or pay unp...
August 2022 - 4 min read
Final Countdown: Top 5 Things to Keep in Mind for Prompt Payment
The Prompt Payment and Construction Lien Act (“PPCLA”) comes into force on August 29, 2022, nearly two years after Bill 37 was first tabled. With only five days left, here are the top five things for all construction companies and...
July 2022 - 5 min read
Connected + Protected? Lien Rights on Different Lands
Whether Crown lands in Canada can be liened varies by province, but invariably, work done on some lands is not lienable. In JVD Installations Inc. v. Skookum Creek Power Partnership, the British Columbia Court of Appeal faced the following qu...
April 2022 - 3 min read
Priority of Lien Claims in a Post-Redwater World
The Supreme Court of Canada's Redwater decision concluded that provincial end-of-life abandonment and reclamation obligations, which are not claims provable in bankruptcy, must still be satisfied by a bankrupt estate, regardless of a...
March 2022 - 4 min read
Prompt Payment + Consultants: What You Need to Know
The upcoming changes to Alberta's construction law regime should be top of mind for all parties in the construction industry, with both the Prompt Payment and Construction Lien Act (the "PPCLA") and the Prompt Payment and A...
February 2022  - 3 min read
Which Parties Must Be Sued to Enforce a Builders’ Lien?
Builders’ liens are a common tool for unpaid parties on a construction project to try to secure payment for their work. But simply registering a lien is not enough to perfect a lien claim.In Alberta, a Statement of Claim and Certificate of Lis Pe...
January 2022 - 4 min read
Discharging a Builders' Lien: Is Cash King?
Posting either a lien bond or cash as security to discharge a builders' lien is standard practice in Alberta. Seemingly, this is because the lien claimant is not prejudiced by the posting of one form of security over the other.  But is a ...
January 2022 - 4 min read
Factoring Arrangements and Builders’ Liens: How to Take Them Into Account
Payment disputes on construction projects are extremely common. With margins being low to begin with, contractors often find themselves financially strained and unable to cash flow their business operations to complete projects. One common form of reli...
November 2021
Court Clarifies Test for Core Policy Immunity of Municipalities 
The concept of government liability in negligence for policy vs. operational decisions has existed for some time. Core policy decisions are exempt from liability, whereas operational decisions are subject to the usual common law liability consideration...
October 2021 - 4 min read
Untangling a Web of Lien Claims
Builders’ liens on condominium projects are commonplace. The large scope of work required and the lack of surety bonding often leaves unpaid subcontractors or suppliers with little recourse in the event of non-payment. In Avli BRC Developments In...
September 27, 2021
Prompt Payment Legislation: The Impact on the Alberta Construction Industry
While the Alberta Builders’ Lien Act has been in force and essentially unchanged for several decades, it will soon evolve with the enactment of the Prompt Payment and Construction Lien Act. This new legislation will introduce significant changes ...
September 2021 - 3 min read
Registering Builders’ Liens: When Does the Clock Start Ticking?
The Builders’ Lien Act (“BLA”) sets out deadlines for registering builders’ liens. However, determining if a lien has been registered out of time can be tricky. Whether the work performed by a contractor or subcontract...
May 2021 - 3 min read
Builders’ Liens: Where does the Lien Line Lie?
The line between what work gives rise to a valid builders’ lien, and that which doesn’t, can be blurry. The recent decision of YoungEnergyServe Inc. v LR Ltd, LR Processing Partnership, 2021 ABQB 101, has set out a framework for determining...
May 2021 - 4 min read
Constructing the Right Adjudication System for Alberta
How construction adjudication is developing across other Canadian provinces and what Alberta can expect.Later in 2021, Alberta will be implementing changes to the Builders’ Lien Act, including renaming it as the Prompt Payment and Constructi...
April 2021
Canadian Treatment of Construction and Builders Liens On Crown Lands
Author: Anthony Burden
January 2021
Field Law Announces Five New Partners
The Firm welcomes Anthony Burden, Jason Kully, Lisa Statt Foy, Britt Tetz, and Matthew Turzansky to its partnership.Field Law is pleased to welcome Anthony Burden, Jason Kully, Lisa Statt Foy, Britt Tetz, and Matthew Turzansky as partners of the Firm. ...
October 2020 - 3 min read
Prompt Payment in Alberta: One Big Step Closer
On October 21, 2020, Bill 37: Builders’ Lien (Prompt Payment) Amendment Act, 2020 passed First Reading in the Alberta Legislature. Bill 37 would introduce significant changes to the Alberta Builders’ Lien Act, particularly by introducing st...
April 2020
Uncertain Surety: Expiration of a Limitation Against a Principal is not a Defence to a Bond Claim
Sometimes failing to arbitrate a dispute with a binding arbitration provision can be fatal to a claim under a construction contract, particularly if the limitation period to commence the arbitration has expired.  But, in the ca...
January 2020 - 3 min read
Who You Gonna Call (As a Witness)?
Construction disputes (as with any matters in litigation) rarely make it to trial. Matters typically settle or are resolved on a summary basis through written evidence alone. But if a matter proceeds to trial, where evidence via live wit...
October 2019 - 2 min read
Think Leaving Equipment On Site Extends Your Lien Period? Think Again.
Builders’ liens provide unpaid contractors and subcontractors on a construction project the ability to secure a debt claim against a piece of land. While courts have acknowledged that the purpose of builders’ liens is to prov...
September 2019
Doing Work on a Provincial Project? Protect Yourself with a Public Works Act Claim
The Public Works Act (“PWA”) is a helpful, rarely litigated piece of legislation for unpaid subcontractors. By submitting a PWA claim to the Provincial Government, a subcontractor has the ability to seek compensation outside ...
July 2019
Fairness is in the Eye of the Beholder in the Tender Process
The tender process has long been a staple of the construction industry. Variations of that process, via requests for proposals (“RFPs”), requests for quotations (“RFQs”) or other similar processes have also been d...

Builder's Lien Precedent

Our client was the general contractor for two school construction projects in Alberta. Several builders’ liens were registered by various sub-contractors, creating additional expense for our client. The schools in question were designated as “municipal reserve” lands, which impacts what use can be made of the lands on sale.

Previous case law indicated that such lands could not be subject to forced sale and therefore builders’ liens on those lands were unenforceable.

Anthony advised his client not to make the payments on these liens. Instead, he recommended arguing that all builders’ liens registered on both projects were invalid - setting a precedent for future work. Several liens were withdrawn by consent as a result of our approach.

During this process, three lienholders disputed our interpretation, and a contested Court application was held to determine if these liens were valid. The Court accepted our interpretation of the law and held that the builders’ liens, in this case, were invalid.

The Court decision provided certainty to our client for this project and in the future that any lands designated as “municipal reserve” cannot be validly liened.

Slip and Fall Defence

The insurer for a local municipality approached Field lawyer, Anthony Burden to aggressively defend a negligence claim and contest liability.

Within two weeks of having the file Anthony successfully opposed a previously scheduled Application, and took steps to apply for summary dismissal of the claim. By applying for summary dismissal as soon as possible and questioning the Plaintiff on undertakings, Anthony was able to obtain helpful evidence on quantum moving forward. The co-plaintiff abandoned its claim prior to the Application. The Application for summary dismissal was initially dismissed, with leave granted to re-apply with fuller evidence. On the second Application, the claim was summarily dismissed in its entirety.

Anthony helped his client gain a better idea of the strength of both parties’ evidence, providing the knowledge needed to confidently defend the claim.

Osgoode Hall Law School, 2016, Certificate in Construction Law
University of Alberta, 2013, Juris Doctor
University of Alberta, 2010, Bachelor of Arts, Mathematics, With Distinction