The Ontario government last week delivered on previously announced plans to introduce legislation to reform the province’s new home warranties system. Minister of Government and Consumer Services Tracy MacCharles unveiled on Thursday the Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act.
If passed, the proposed legislation would split up responsibility for managing the new home warranty program and regulating new home builders and vendors, and assign these functions to two new administrative authorities. The proposed legislation also contains provisions designed to simplify dispute resolution for consumers who identify construction problems in their new homes.
The reform plans addresses some of the recommendations made by Justice J. Douglas Cunningham following a public review of the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act and Tarion Warranty Corporation, which currently manages the new home warranty program and regulates new home builders and vendors.
“I am pleased to introduce proposed legislation that will provide consumers with the protection they deserve when making significant purchases — like a new home,” said Min. MacCharles. “Building a fair, safe and informed marketplace is a key priority of this government.”
The Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act also contains provisions aimed at combatting code of ethics violations and conflicts of interest on the part of real estate professionals. The proposal includes tougher rules for brokers, brokerages and salespeople representing multiple parties to a transaction and steeper fines for professional misconduct. These may not be the only changes coming to real estate rules, with a broader review intended to improve consumer protection and industry professionalism due to carry into 2018.