Tarion and Oakville Working Together to Prevent Illegal Building

Update (October 9, 2018): This page's content has been updated to include Tarion's new process for receiving compliance concerns.

OAKVILLE, ON – Illegal building is a serious underground issue that affects consumers and builders alike. Today, Tarion VP Siloni Waraich and Joe Vaccaro, CEO of the Ontario Home Builders' Association, met with John Tutert, Oakville's Chief Building Official, to discuss illegal building and ongoing efforts to prevent it.

"Illegal builders put homeowners at risk and are a problem in every community in Ontario, including here in Oakville," said Waraich. "Builders who fail to follow the rules are more likely to build homes that don't meet Ontario Building Code standards and buyers typically aren't made aware of the warranty protection they are entitled to."

The meeting coincided with Tarion's Enforcement Team conducting a sweep in Oakville, looking for illegal building.

Under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, anyone in the province of Ontario who plans to build and/or sell a new home must be registered with Tarion and enrol the home. Prior to being granted registration, all prospective home builders are required to successfully complete a technical evaluation based on the Ontario Building Code and undergo a financial viability and business competency analysis.

Since July 1, 2015, Tarion, in partnership with the Ontario Home Builders' Association and the Ontario Building Officials Association, has been running a pilot to prevent illegal building.  Under the pilot program, Tarion assumes responsibility for providing building departments with a letter that either confirms a builder is registered or provides assurance that the home is a bona fide owner-build.

"Illegal builders put homeowners at risk, hurt the reputation of the building industry and harm the economy," said Vaccaro. "This is one of the ways we work together to protect home buyers and builders. It is a priority that concerns everyone in our industry."

Oakville is a participant in the pilot, along with 14 other municipalities across the province.

"We are very proud to be a part of the pilot and of the added protection it gives to Oakville residents," said Tutert. "Our job is to make sure new homes are safe, livable, and built according to the Ontario Building Code. The intent of the pilot is about educating and protecting homeowners.  It is about homeowners understanding what their rights are with respect to warranty coverage."

In the past five years, Tarion's Enforcement Team has opened 83 investigations involving 103 homes in Oakville. This led to 13 convictions resulting in $28,750 in total fines levied by the Courts.

Red Flags

Homeowners should be suspicious of builders who say things like:

  • You don't need a Tarion warranty because I offer my own;
  • I could enrol the home in the warranty program, but it would cost you around $10,000 (home enrolment fees range from $385 - $1500);
  • I built the home for myself but decided to sell it instead;
  • You don't need a warranty if you leave my name off the building permit.

New home buyers can research a builder and confirm the registration of a builder in the Ontario Builder Directory.

If you suspect illegal building may be taking place, or have concerns related to builder conduct, please call Tarion's Compliance and Investigations team, toll-free, at 1-877-982-7466 ext. 3833. This number may also be used for inquiries regarding whether a specific home is enrolled and/or eligible for warranty coverage.

For more information, please contact:

Senior Manager, Corporate Communications at (416) 229-3863 or mediainquiries@tarion.com