Tarion Program Review – Interim Progress Report Released

As you may recall from our previous posts on the subject, the Tarion Warranty Program is under review. The Honourable Justice Douglas Cunningham was appointed in 2015 by Ontario’s Minister of Government and Consumer Services to review Tarion’s process and warranty coverage.

Jim Davidson offered comments to Justice Cunningham, and has been honoured to participate as part of a “focus group” providing feedback to Justice Cunningham respecting Tarion.

Justice Cunningham has now released his Interim Progress Report, which outlines the key concerns that he is exploring. The report can be found here.

In the interim report, Justice Cunningham has listed his key questions as follows:

  • What model would best deliver consumer protection? Can Tarion effectively perform each of the roles of regulator, warranty provider, adjudicator and rule maker?
  • Is there a way to resolve warranty disputes more effectively and expeditiously?
  • How can Tarion best ensure that consumers are educated about the new home buying process and the warranty program?
  • What is the appropriate warranty/deposit coverage and duration?
  • How should Tarion regulate builders and vendors in order to drive quality in the home building sector and protection for consumers?
  • What should be the composition and skill sets of the Tarion Board of Directors, and how should members be selected to best meet Tarion’s mandate under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act and its fiduciary obligations?
  • What additional measures, if any, could be implemented to improve accountability, transparency and oversight?

Justice Cunningham has indicated that these questions will be the focus of his ultimate report. He is currently inviting input from the general public, which may be submitted by email to: TarionReview@ontario.ca. Input must be submitted by October 14, 2016.

To read more about the review, see our previous blog post Tarion is Under Review.

And if you have further questions about the Tarion Warranty Program or the review process, contact our Condominium Law Group.

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How to Participate in the Tarion Review Process

As mentioned in my previous blog post, Ontario recently initiated a review of Tarion Warranty Corporation. I was honoured to be invited to participate as a member of a “focus group” to provide feedback about Tarion to the Honourable Justice Cunningham, who is undertaking the review.

Details about the province’s review of Tarion can be found at the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services website here.

Note, in particular, that public consultations have now been scheduled, for anyone who may be interested in participating in the review process. For instance, meetings have been scheduled to take place in Ottawa and Kingston, as follows:

Ottawa

Location:        Ramada Ottawa on the Rideau

2259 Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa, ON K2E 6Z8

Room: Riverview

Date:               Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Times:             2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Industry/Organization consultation)

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Public consultation)

Kingston

Location:         Holiday Inn Express &Suites

33 Benson Street, Kingston, ON K7K 5W2

Room: Loyalist

Date:                Monday, May 2, 2016

Times:             2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Industry/Organization consultation)

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Public consultation)

The province’s website includes the following notes:

Please RSVP before the session of your choice by emailing TarionReview@ontario.ca. Please put ‘RSVP’ and the city of your choice in the subject line.

Space may be limited so please register a minimum of 5 business days prior to the session date to secure a spot.”

As described on the website, you can also provide feedback by email, if that is your preference.

If you’re interested in offering feedback or other commentary about Tarion, this is your opportunity!

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Tarion is Under Review

As many of our readers may know, Ontario recently initiated a review of Tarion Warranty Corporation. Tarion is the non-profit corporation created under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act to oversee warranties and other matters related to new home construction and sales in Ontario.

Detail about the province’s review of Tarion can be found at the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services website here. Below is an extract from their site:

We have initiated an independent review of the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act and the Tarion Warranty Corporation.

The Honourable J. Douglas Cunningham, QC has been appointed as a special advisor to review protections for owners of new homes and identify opportunities to improve consumer protection.

His final report will provide recommendations on how to improve consumer protection, accountability, transparency and board governance to help protect consumers buying new homes in Ontario.”

I offered written comments to Justice Cunningham, and was honoured when he invited me to participate as a member of a “focus group” to provide feedback about Tarion that might assist in the review process.

Members of the focus group were asked a number of questions about Tarion, including:

  • What is your understanding of Tarion’s role and purpose? Do you have any suggestions on what role Tarion should have?
  • What do you see as the strengths of the Ontario New Home Warranty Plan Act (ONHWPA)? What do you see as weaknesses or deficiencies?
  • What warranty coverage and consumer protections do you believe should be provided to new home owners? What are the current gaps in coverage, and how can these gaps be improved?
  • What are some common concerns for new home owners? What do you think gives rise to these concerns? Who should be responsible for responding to these concerns?
  • What concerns are best addressed by organizations other than Tarion?
  • What does Tarion currently do well? What improvements would you recommend (including consumer protection, accountability, board governance and/or warranty coverage itself)?

I was very pleased to provide written responses, and I look forward to eventually seeing Justice Cunningham’s report once he has completed his review.

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CCI Eastern Ontario Chapter’s ‘The ABCs of Tarion’ seminar!

This not-to-be-missed seminar is taking place on February 24th at the Hellenic Community Centre! Hosted by the CCI Eastern Ontario Chapter, this seminar will break down the mechanics of the claim process, and will assist you to better understand the warranties available under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, the Tarion claim process, and your role in that process. Our very own Christy Allen will also be a guest speaker at this event.

Space is limited and reservations are a must!

  • February 24, 2016
  • Hellenic Community Centre (1315 Prince of Wales Drive)
  • 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
  • FREE for CCI Eastern Ontario Members
    • $50 + HST for non-members

To view the event agenda or to register for this event, click here.

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