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Sunday, February 07, 2016
Saskatchewan Justice

Under The Woodmen's Lien Act, any person performing labour in connection with logs or timber has a lien on them and on all lumber manufactured from them for the amount due for the labour.

The lien on the logs, timber or lumber is a first lien or charge and has precedence over all other claims except claims of the Crown.

"Labour" includes cutting, skidding, felling, hauling, scaling, rossing, banking, driving, running, rafting or booming logs or timber, and any work done by cooks, blacksmiths, artisans and others usually employed in connection with labour on the logs or timber.

For a woodmen's lien to continue, the labourer must file a statement of claim in the office of the local registrar at the nearest Court of Queen's Bench. The statement must set out:

  • the nature of the debt, demand or claim;
  • the amount due to the claimant as near as may be determined, over and above any legal set-off or counterclaim; and
  • a description of the logs or timber or lumber for or against which the lien is claimed.

Claims for work done from October to March must be filed by April 30th, and claims from April to September must be filed within 30 days after the last day of work done.

The lien remains in effect even if the logs or timber or lumber are mortgaged, sold or transferred so long as the lien is claimed during the proper time period. If Court proceedings are taken to enforce a lien but no lien is found to exist the judgement may be based on any amount found due, as in an ordinary case.

Any person or persons having a lien may enforce the lien by filing a copy of the statement of claim and an affidavit with the Court within 30 days after the statement of claim was filed. When the documents are filed, the local registrar issues a writ of attachment, directing a sheriff to seize the logs or timber or lumber in sufficient quantity to satisfy the unpaid wages.

If additional claims are made, or the amount of the claim is increased, or a sufficient seizure has not been made, a second or subsequent seizure may be made.

A copy of the writ is served on the owner of the logs or timber or lumber or the person liable for payment of the debt (the defendant). Any person served with a writ may dispute the claim by filing a notice or statement of defence with the Court within 20 days after service of the writ.

The defendant may pay the amount claimed at any time after the service of the writ up to the 20-day objection period. If the claim is disputed within the time period, a judge of the Court will hold an inquiry to settle the dispute by either directing that the lien be discharged or by making an order awarding costs.

If payment of the claim is not disputed and if payment is defaulted (i.e., not made within 10 days), the logs or timber or lumber will be sold by the sheriff within 20 days unless the judge directs that additional publicity be given to the sale. The amount realized from the sale, after deducting the sheriff's expenses, is paid into Court. On the application of the parties found to be entitled, the judge shall make an order for the local registrar to pay the parties.

If the amount realized from the sale is not sufficient to pay the claims in full and costs, the judge shall apportion the amount pro rata among the different claimants.

At any stage of the proceedings and on the application of any party, the judge may order that that person be added as a party to the proceedings.

Any number of lienholders may join in proceedings.

The Act does not prevent any person from seeking any other remedy under other statutes to recover an amount due in respect of their labour.

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