Ontario Strengthening Protections for Buyers and Owners of New Homes
June 23, 2021
SAULT STE. MARIE — The Ontario government is further strengthening protections for buyers and owners of new homes by introducing a new Code of Ethics for builders and vendors of new homes, clarifications to the simplified warranty and protections claims process for defects in new homes, and a mediation process for homeowners who dispute a warranty claim assessment. These changes come into effect on July 1, 2021 and will support a standard of work and professionalism that reflects the best of Ontario’s homebuilding industry. Announced today by Ross Romano, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, the new Code of Ethics – under the New Home Construction Licensing Act, 2017 – will require licensed builders and vendors of new homes to operate in a professional manner with honesty, integrity, financial responsibility, and without intimidation or coercion. It also provides the Home Construction Regulatory Authority with a new discipline committee and an appeals committee process to hold bad actors accountable. “Since taking on overdue changes to this important sector, our number one goal has been to protect homeowners and support ethical practices and top-notch service by homebuilders and vendors,” said Minister Romano. “We all benefit when we raise the bar for quality new home construction in Ontario and make it easier for buyers and owners to get what they paid for. Our government is proud to be reaching the next milestone in this journey on July 1st.” Enhancements are also being made to Tarion’s dispute resolution and new home warranty and protection claims processes to:
support a simplified claims process that is easier for consumers
improve transparency by requiring Tarion to provide claimants with expert opinions when it issues a warranty assessment report
enable homeowners who dispute Tarion’s assessment of their warranty claim to request that Tarion participate in mediation
These steps build on other consumer protection improvements including the Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act, 2020 and the designation of the Home Construction Regulatory Authority as the regulator responsible for builders and vendors of new homes. They are part of Ontario’s ongoing overhaul of the Ontario new home warranty and protection program and also address the Auditor General of Ontario’s recommendations in the 2019 Special Audit of the Tarion Warranty Corporation.
Additional protections for consumers also came into effect on April 1, 2021, under the New Home Construction Licensing Act, 2017 including the expansion of publicly-available information about licensed new home builders and vendors on the Ontario Builder Directory.
As of April 1, 2021, the New Home Ombuds (ombudsperson) has a stronger focus on helping consumers and provides greater accountability and oversight of Tarion.
On February 1, 2021, the Home Construction Regulatory Authority was designated as Ontario’s regulator of builders and vendors of new homes. Tarion continues to administer Ontario’s new home warranty and protection program.
The Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act, 2020 promotes higher quality new home construction, which reduces defects and new home warranty and protection claims, while better protecting consumers from bad actors in the marketplace.