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Using Municipal Building Permit Information to Identify Illegal Building

PLEASE NOTE: If designated, on February 1, 2021 the Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA) will assume responsibility for builder and vendor licensing in the province of Ontario. At that time, some of the functions addressed on this page will no longer be handled by Tarion. You can find out more here


Illegal building affects everyone in the new home industry.  Consumers may not find out about the warranty coverage they are entitled to, illegal builders may use sub-standard trades, and homes may not even meet Ontario Building Code standards.

To this end, Tarion and the building industry worked together to persuade the provincial government to make legislative change directing municipalities to share building permit information with Tarion.  This information will assist Tarion's Enforcement Department in identifying and investigating illegal building activity.

The Good Government Act, 2009 and specifically a change to O.Reg. 503/09 was passed in December 2009.  This change has now made it mandatory for municipalities to provide information about building permits and applications to Tarion.  This will apply to any building whose proposed use is classified as a Group C major occupancy and which is not a boarding, lodging or rooming house, or a building containing a hotel.  Information on all permits issued on or after January 1, 2011, regardless of when the permit was applied for, must be sent to Tarion.  Municipalities will have 45 days after a permit has been issued to provide the prescribed information to Tarion.  More information pertaining to the specific legislative requirements can be found on the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing's website .

Tarion has been working very closely with the Ontario Building Officials Association (OBOA), the Large Municipalities Chief Building Officials (LMCBO), and local municipalities to develop a process for exchanging prescribed information that will be as efficient as possible for all parties involved.  This presentation delivered at the LMCBO conference in May 2009, may be helpful in understanding the history and objectives of this new legislation. 

Submitting Building Permit Information to Tarion 

Municipalities will be able to submit information in three ways:  electronically, by fax or by mail.

Electronic submissions - Tarion is developing a software application to allow municipalities to easily upload builder permit information directly to Tarion.  The Municipality Building Permit Submission Overview v.4.0 provides all the information necessary to enable that process, including acceptable file formats and internal software requirements.  The instructional information in this document is highly technical and meant as a guide for the IT staff tasked with constructing the XML or flat file output for electronic transmission to Tarion.

NEW information for IT Staff: Key Websites

Faxed submissions - Fax paper submissions to 1-800-668-7504 with a cover sheet indicating the sender's name and contact information, the number of permits involved, and the total number of pages in the fax.  Permits must include the following information (as per this Sample Building Permit CSV format v.3.0):

  • Street name of location for which the permit is granted
  • Muncipality in which the construction will occur
  • Applicant's first and last name
  • Applicant's address (street number, street name, city, province and postal code)
  • Applicant's answer to the question, "is the proposed construction for a new home as defined in the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act?"
  • Applicant's answer to the question, "is registration required under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act?"
  • The date the permit was signed/submitted

Mailed submissions - Mail paper submissions to: Tarion Warranty Corporation, 5160 Yonge St., 12th Floor, Toronto, ON, M2N 6L9.  Permits must include the same information as listed above in Faxed Submissions.

We will continue to update this section with details regarding software testing and final requirements that will assist municipalities in sharing building permit information with Tarion. If you have additional questions or concerns about this initiative, please contact Tanya Gibson, Director, Compliance & Investigations, at 416-229-3807 or tanya.gibson@tarion.com, or visit Contact Us.

How to Report Illegal Building

If you suspect illegal building may be taking place, or have concerns related to builder conduct, please complete the Compliance and Investigations Complaint Form (PDF download) and send it via email to Tarion's Compliance and Investigations team at investigations@tarion.com. This email address may also be used for inquiries regarding whether a specific home is enrolled and/or eligible for warranty coverage.