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    The Open Door Blog


Whether you own a new home or condo, are considering buying one, or just love to dream about it, the Open Door blog is here to share stories that can help you protect what is likely the biggest investment of your life.

The Open Door blog is published by Tarion, a non-profit corporation that administers Ontario’s New Home Warranty Plan and registers all new home builders in Ontario. Click here to learn more about us.


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Tarion Talks Podcast: Episode 7, The Homeowners’ Choice Awards
May 31, 2018
Episode 7

Tarion Talks is Tarion's official podcast for new home buyers, owners, builders and for other interested stakeholders. Don't miss an episode - subscribe today at iTunes or Google Play Music. To download an MP3 copy of this episode, click here.

May is an exciting month for Ontario homeowners, as spring cleaning begins and the first signs of life appear in flowerbeds and tree branches. It’s an exhilarating month for Tarion, too, as we get to hand out some of the province’s highest honours recognizing home builder excellence: the Homeowners’ Choice Awards and Ernest Assaly Award.

Why does Tarion present awards to builders?

Buying a home, particularly a brand-new home, can feel like a “leap of faith” – because the home you’re putting a deposit on doesn’t actually exist yet. Luckily, many of Ontario’s new home builders understand those mixed emotions. It is not uncommon for Tarion to hear stories of a registered builder who went above and beyond expectations, creating a memorable and positive experience for the home buyers they work with. Tarion’s home builder awards don’t just recognize excellent service from builders – they also provide an important piece of information for homeowners who are trying to decide on a builder to do business with. That’s why, if you look at a builder’s profile in the Ontario Builder Directory, you’ll be able to see the awards they received from Tarion within the last three years.

The Homeowners’ Choice Awards: Ontario’s Best, As Picked by Homeowners

The Homeowners’ Choice Awards are a special honour because, while they may be presented by Tarion, new homeowners are the judges who pick each year’s recipients. Here’s how it works:

  • Every year, Tarion sends out a survey to new homeowners who have recently taken possession.
  • The survey asks respondents about the customer service experience that they received from their builder – from the sales office through the closing date, and during after-sales support.
  • The results are tallied and this data is used by Tarion to select the Homeowners’ Choice Award recipients.

As in most other industries, home builders tend to encounter different challenges and service opportunities based on their size. For that reason, there is a separate Homeowners’ Choice Award presented in each of the following categories:

  • Small Volume: Builders who build between five and 20 homes per year;
  • Medium Volume: Builders who build between 21 and 100 homes a year;
  • Large Volume: Builders who build more than 100 homes a year;
  • High-Rise: Builders who build more than 100 high-rise units in a year.

The Homeowners’ Choice Awards 2018 recipients were Kolody Homes (Small Volume), Talos Custom Homes Limited (Medium Volume), Hayhoe Homes (Large Volume), and Plazacorp (High-Rise). For this episode of Tarion Talks, we interviewed representatives from each winning builder to get their thoughts on service excellence.

The Ernest Assaly Award: Honouring a Legacy of Leadership

Our newest podcast also talks about a second Tarion award for builders: the Ernest Assaly Award, which was given out for the first time in 2017. Unlike the Homeowners’ Choice Awards, a builder can only win the Ernest Assaly Award once – in that sense, it is a bit like the “Lifetime Achievement” awards presented at the Oscars or the Grammys. The award is named after Ernest Assaly, who was the first Chair of Tarion’s Board of Directors, serving in the role from 1976 to 1988. In addition to his work with Tarion, Assaly was a new home builder, whose company won numerous awards and was considered an industry leader in Ontario. As a way of honouring its namesake’s legacy, the Ernest Assaly Award is only given to builders who can demonstrate an impeccable track record over a number of years. Moreover, applicants for the Award must prove their commitment to the following principles:

  • Workmanship;
  • Employee Development;
  • Social Responsibility;
  • Innovation; and
  • Customer Service.

Because of the award’s exceptional standards, only a small percentage of Ontario’s builders are typically eligible for consideration. For the 2018 award, invitations to apply were sent to just 90 of the more than 5,000 home builders registered with Tarion – talk about an exclusive club! This year’s Ernest Assaly Award recipient, Tridel, received the award personally from Linda Assaly – Ernest’s daughter – who took part in the ceremony for a second straight year.

Looking Ahead to 2019

If you took ownership of a new home after October 1, 2017, or are looking forward to getting your keys between now and September 30, 2018, there’s good news: you’ll be among those invited to help us pick 2019’s Homeowners’ Choice Award winners. Tarion will be sending out the surveys in October, so be sure to keep your eye on your mailbox when autumn arrives.

The goal of this blog is to provide you with general information about the warranty process by sharing real experiences from new homeowners. The blog should not be relied upon as legal advice. For privacy reasons, we will not address or resolve current cases in a public forum, so any comments or questions that are posted on this site that describe individual cases cannot be discussed. If you have a question about your warranty or Tarion generally, we would be pleased to discuss your issue, in the context of your particular circumstances and in confidence. We exercise reasonable care to avoid offensive, illegal or defamatory content from being posted, as well as comments that are intended solely for self-promotion or considered to be spam.