An Alberta contractor said the Yukon Hospital Corporation should have stepped in when he complained about not being paid for work on the Dawson City and Watson Lake hospitals.

Pat McGaffey said that when his workers showed up, the hospital sites were not ready for drywall so they couldn't fulfill their contract.

"The site wasn't ready, we weren't getting answers," said McGaffey.


The Yukon Hospital Corporation said last month that the two new hospitals in Watson Lake and Dawson City will not be finished on time. (CBC)

McGaffey said the site was disorganized. He said the contractor, Dowlands, referred him to the Yukon Hospital Corporation for answers.

"Not getting answers from the Yukon Hospital Corporation was their excuse," he said. "It's just stuff that drags on and on and on," he said.

McGaffey said he contacted the hospital corporation in May 2012, but didn't get a reply.

The hospital corporation said it was prohibited by contracts and could not have stepped in. Craig Tuton, who chairs the Yukon Hospital Corporation Board of Trustees, said it would have been improper to get involved.

"Anything that happens with any of the sub-trades and Dowlands — if we were to step in and deal with it, we would breach our agreement with Dowlands, so it has nothing to do with us," said Tuton.

McGaffey doesn't agree with that argument.

"That's not how the process works," he said. "The contractor is representing the owner and anytime there is a dispute it is brought to the attention of the owner. At that point they must step in. They [the hospital corporation] can't just sit on their hands and say it's their [the contractor's] problem."

McGaffey adds he was hoping the government would force an arbitration in the case. He said he is now filing a lawsuit against Dowlands and the bonding agency.

The NDP said disputes like this one are one reason the hospital projects are late and over budget.