Ontario Takes Steps to Strengthen Consumer Protection
New Act will promote confidence for those purchasing a home and other products
TORONTO — Earlier this week, the Ontario legislature approved Bill 159, the Rebuilding Consumer Confidence Act. Once in force, it will promote higher quality new home construction and reduce defects and warranty claims, while better protecting consumers from bad actors in the marketplace.
The Act will overhaul Tarion Warranty Corporation and the way it protects new-home buyers with better warranties and more protections than they have had in the past. The Act will include an improved dispute resolution process and help Tarion better protect consumers by helping them get more useful information about home builders and their histories.
“When you get the keys to your new home, you should feel confident that it has been built safely and properly, and that any defects will be taken care of in a timely manner,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. “That is why we are rebuilding the Ontario new home warranty and protection program from the ground up, focusing on consumer protections, transparency, access to information, and governance.”
Bill 159 also includes improvements to administrative authorities, independent organizations like the Real Estate Council of Ontario and the Technical Standards and Safety Authority, that help protect consumers. The Act includes new powers for the government that will ensure administrative authorities can continue acting in the public interest during emergencies.
In addition, Bill 159 will allow for financial penalties under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). The people of Ontario count on the CPA everyday in a wide range of situations, including contract cancelations, door-to-door sales and the value of their reward points.
The Act will also ensure that prices of tickets for Ontario events are listed and charged in Canadian currency.
“The passage of this bill marks our government’s continued commitment to strengthening consumer protection,” said Minister Thompson. “We will continue to work with Tarion Warranty Corporation to better respond to the needs of consumers in Ontario and establish a new builder regulator. We will continue to consult with stakeholders to develop regulations that are necessary and needed for the future.”
- Tarion Warranty Corporation administers the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act which deals with new home warranties, protections, and new home builder and vendor regulation.
- The Auditor General released a Special Audit of Tarion Warranty Corporation in October 2019, that included recommendations to strengthen how Tarion is run.
- The government also improved consumer protection for homebuyers in Bill 145, the Trust in Real Estate Service Act, to modernize the rules for real estate brokerages, brokers and salespersons. It was approved by the legislature in February.