Tarion Launches Initiatives To Improve Consumer Protection For Buyers Of New Homes In Ontario

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New home-buyers getting several new protection initiatives. Image by wolfields from Pixabay

TORONTO – Tarion continues to make progress in addressing recommendations from the Auditor General of Ontario with today’s launch of additional consumer protection initiatives, including: new homeowner education materials, a new Warranty Information Sheet, improvements to the disclosure of builders’ history, and new programs for mediation and risk-based inspections.

“The work we are doing is focused on transparency, fairness, and consumer protection,” said Peter Balasubramanian, President, and CEO of Tarion.

“As we mark one year of hard work following the Auditor General’s report, we are rebuilding consumer trust in Tarion and are confident the changes we are making will help homeowners and create a stronger new home warranty and protection program for all Ontarians.”

The new improvements now in place include:
• A new e-learning hub with plain language modules to help homeowners understand their warranty coverage, rights and responsibilities, and the importance of the Pre-Delivery Inspection;

• A new timely and cost-effective mediation option for homeowners who dispute Tarion’s warranty assessments, using independent mediators;

• A new targeted inspection program aimed at higher risk builders to proactively identify potential deficiencies relating to Ontario’s Building Code prior to occupancy;

• Improvements to the Ontario Builder Directory to include additional helpful information such as defects a builder refused to repair, unpaid money a builder owes to Tarion, and the investigations into a builder’s behaviour that found they lacked honesty and integrity.

• A new requirement for a Warranty Information Sheet to be attached to all purchase agreements to provide clear and helpful warranty information at the time of sale, for all Agreements of Purchase and Sale signed on, or after, February 1, 2021. As consulted on earlier this year, Tarion is also moving forward with an additional consumer protection initiative to change some warranty compensation limits, including:

• Increasing the compensation limit for claims involving hazardous substances (such as mould and radon);

• Increasing the compensation limit for defects relating to condominium common elements (such as parking garages, and exterior cladding); and

• Increasing the compensation limit on septic system issues where homes have a separate system. Of the 25 recommendations directed to Tarion in the Auditor General’s report, 19 have been completed in 2020, with only six remaining to be implemented in 2021. Since receiving the Auditor General’s report, Tarion has strengthened governance, improved customer service, improved the independence of the ombudsperson’s office and created greater transparency, among other measures announced earlier this year.

Tarion has released an updated implementation plan to chart this progress and the organization said it would = continue to provide regular updates on the progress to address all of the Auditor General recommendations.

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