The Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT) is an independent agency established by the Ontario government that, among other things, resolves disputes related to Tarion.
Under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, LAT has the power to change a Tarion warranty decision.
How do I make an appeal?
If you disagree with an assessment in a Conciliation Assessment Report, contact Tarion to request a Decision Letter. The Decision Letter will provide reasons for the warranty assessments that you wish to challenge.
Next, you must file a Notice of Appeal and pay a filing fee to LAT within 30 days from receiving the Decision Letter.
For more information on how to file a Notice of Appeal, visit LAT’s website.
What happens after I file an appeal?
After you file the Notice of Appeal, LAT will schedule a case conference between you, Tarion, and a case conference adjudicator from LAT. The case conference is conducted by conference call, not in person.
The goal of the case conference is to determine the issues in dispute, try and settle some or all of those issues and, if the appeal does not settle, set a hearing date and the procedural steps required before the hearing.
How can I prepare for the case conference?
- Review the Decision Letter to ensure the issues/items under appeal are accurate
- Be prepared to speak briefly to each item in the Decision Letter. What do you think is wrong with the item, why do you disagree with Tarion’s decision, and what solution are you looking for?
- Gather any repair quotes or reports that you might already have for the items in dispute
- Consider how many witnesses you might want to call at the hearing so LAT can estimate the time required for the hearing
- If you wish to engage in a settlement discussion, consider what sort of solution you want, and which items in the Decision Letter are most important to you
What happens at the hearing?
An in-person hearing is like an informal court trial led by an adjudicator assigned by LAT.
The adjudicator begins by giving an introduction, and possibly an overview of the process. You and Tarion will then have a chance to make an opening statement. Your opening statement is typically a non-argumentative overview of the evidence you plan to present.
After opening statements, you and Tarion take turns calling witnesses to give oral testimony and introduce documentary evidence. Witnesses may be questioned up to three times:
- first by the person who called the witness to the hearing;
- second by the other party, who may want to cross-examine the witness; and,
- possibly a third time by the original person for a re-examination.
After witnesses you, followed by Tarion, will make closing statements. This is your opportunity to argue your case to the adjudicator based on the evidence at the hearing and the relevant law. After Tarion’s closing statement, you’ll have an opportunity to reply to Tarion's position.
The adjudicator may ask you or your witnesses questions, and may modify the procedure of the hearing as necessary.
How can I prepare for the hearing?
Three important things to think about before your hearing are:
- Evidence that supports your position, including pictures/videos of defects, your purchase agreement, expert reports, repair quotes, experts with opinions about the defects, and non-experts who have made observations.
- The laws and standards that apply to the warranty items under appeal. This includes previous court or LAT cases with similar issues, warranty coverage set out in the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, the standards set out in the Construction Performance Guidelines, any applicable industry or manufacturer guidelines, and the requirements in the Ontario Building Code.
- How the appeal process will be conducted. Review LAT’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, which are available on its website.
LAT’s website has resources to help you prepare for a hearing on the topics of evidence, disclosure, and witnesses. It will also direct you to www.CanLii.org, a public and free legal research tool that you can use to research previous LAT decisions.
What can I expect from Tarion during the Licence Appeal Tribunal process?
Tarion strives for the highest ethical and professional standards in dispute resolution proceedings. Click here to learn more about our dispute resolution guidelines.