By Howard Bogach, CEO, Tarion Warranty Corporation
Published in the Toronto Sun on Friday, April 7, 2017
As you may have read earlier this month, the Ontario government intends to make substantial changes to the regulation of the building industry.
Shortly after the government's announcement on March 28, Tarion began receiving many enquiries from new home owners and builders about how this impacts them and where they can find assistance for warranty questions and issues.
It's important to stress that for the time being it is business as usual at Tarion.
The government's plans are complex, and they will have a significant impact on how Tarion operates in the future. However, it will take some time before these changes come into effect. In the meantime, Tarion remains committed to providing information, resources and answers to homeowners and builders alike on the province's new home warranty.
Tarion is more than just a warranty provider; we have proudly served to protect consumers for more than 40 years. Since Tarion's inception in 1976, we have anticipated and responded to changing markets and consumer needs.
We have increased warranty coverage limits over the years to reflect the rising costs of homes and repairs. We brought in construction performance guidelines to ensure a consistency in construction quality, and we recently introduced new education requirements for new builders to improve qualification standards for builders entering the industry.
We were the first and only province to provide coverage for radon gas remediation and for delayed closings. The seven-year warranty also covers illegally built homes – no other warranty in Canada does that.
Along the way, our staff has won international awards for customer service and our organization has been repeatedly recognized for excellence in corporate governance.
In surveys we send out annually to new home owners and builders, Tarion consistently scores above an 80 per cent approval rating for its customer service. Given that we help administer the warranty to more than 350,000 homes and regulate more than 5,000 builders, I believe that rating is a strong indication of our dedication to customer service and consumer protection.
During my time here at Tarion, I have observed a strong culture of service and innovation. We do not sit still. We watch for emerging issues and come up with solutions before the problems get out of hand. And we respond quickly to unforeseen situations that arise in the industry.
One issue that is front and centre in today's housing marketing is deposit protection coverage for buyers of new homes and condominiums.
Tarion supports changes to deposit coverage limits to better protect consumers against builders who, for one reason or another, are unable to complete building homes. This is especially important now, as house prices continue to escalate in the current hot market.
We are therefore pleased that the government wants to work with Tarion to review deposit protection coverage limits in the coming weeks and months.
The changes the government is proposing will take considerable time to put in place. In the meantime, new home owners and builders should take comfort that it is business as usual. Our staff remain committed to delivering their award-winning customer service.