The Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act (the Act) requires that all vendors and builders conduct themselves in accordance with the law and with honesty and integrity. For ease of reference, we describe this as dishonest builder conduct.
Tarion takes all matters of dishonest builder conduct seriously and we will, as appropriate, investigate any complaints brought to our attention.
Once a complaint is received, Tarion will review the concern to determine if it falls under the scope of dishonest builder conduct under the Act. Examples of behaviour that may constitute a dishonest builder conduct issue include (but are not limited to):
- Allegations of illegal actions such as theft or fraud;
- Threatening and/or intimidating behaviour;
- Intentionally misleading advertising.
Some concerns are outside the scope of what is considered dishonest builder conduct, including but not limited to:
- A disagreement regarding whether an item is covered under warranty;
- A poor or deteriorating relationship with the builder;
- Concerns regarding customer service.
How to make a Complaint about Dishonest Builder Conduct
If you would like to make a complaint about dishonest builder conduct, please call 1-877-982-7466, ext. 3833 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. A trained staff member from Tarion’s Compliance and Investigations team will work with you to gather all relevant information including the builder’s name, registration number (if available), a description of the behaviour you are concerned about, and any other information you feel is relevant to the complaint.
What happens next
The information will be reviewed by Tarion, and you will be notified whether the matter falls within the scope of dishonest builder conduct and whether it will be referred to an investigation.
During the investigation, Tarion will also contact the builder. Tarion cannot investigate a complaint without notifying the builder and gathering information from them as well.
Once Tarion begins an investigation, we cannot provide you with further information on the status of the complaint or outcomes of the investigation because of privacy and confidentiality restrictions.
There are a number of possible outcomes of a dishonest builder conduct investigation, based on the nature of the complaint and the facts gathered throughout the investigation. Potential actions may include:
- Placing terms and conditions on a builder’s registration - e.g. limiting number of homes that can be built each year or requiring a builder to post higher security amounts to Tarion;
- Requiring a builder and their staff to undergo relevant mandatory training or education; and
- Issuing a notice of proposal to revoke a builder’s registration.
If a registration is revoked or if a builder appeals Tarion’s proposal to revoke their registration, this will be referenced in the builder’s search results on the Ontario Builder Directory. Other actions Tarion may take as terms and conditions of the builder’s registration will not be publicly disclosed. While we realize this can be frustrating for complainants, Tarion must balance our consumer protection mandate with legal and privacy obligations.
Tarion publishes the number of honesty and integrity files opened, resolved and unresolved in our annual report.
If Tarion reviews a complaint and determines it will not result in a full investigation, Tarion retains this information and can refer back to it if additional complaints are received in the future.