----- Original Message ----- From:Karen Somerville To:FastReply@nachi.org Sent: Thursday, February 15, 2007 6:05 AM Subject: Tarion/Ontario New Home Warranty - Important - Please read and pass on
*Please forward to your home inspectors in Ontario, Canada
KEY OPPORTUNITY – ACTION NEEDED NOW
Canadians for Properly Built Homes (CPBH) has heard from many owners of
newly built homes in Ontario that they are dissatisfied with the
services of the Tarion Warranty Corporation (previously known as the
Ontario New Home Warranty Program). Tarion is a mandatory program in
Ontario, and all purchasers of newly built homes must pay a fee for
Minister Phillips’ duties include ensuring that there are laws in place
to protect Ontario’s new home buyers. Minister Phillips advised CPBH in
a letter dated Jan. 22, 2007, that he is considering having the mandate
of the Ombudsman of Ontario extended to include Tarion. Currently,
Tarion is an independent, self-governing, arm’s-length organization from
the Ontario government.
Tarion’s Dec. 2005 annual report advises: “Tarion’s mandate is unique
in Canada. No other province or territory so completely transfers
responsibility and liability for management of the home building
industry to an independent organization” (inside front cover).
Many homeowners have advised CPBH that the option of appealing Tarion’s
decisions to the Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT) is not an option that
they are/were interested in pursuing – for a number of reasons. These
reasons include: the relatively low success rates of those who have
taken their cases to the LAT, and the need to retain the services of a
lawyer (with no guarantee of success), given that the builder and Tarion
are usually represented by a lawyer at the LAT.
The Ombudsman of Ontario has recently had a significant impact by
investigating and reporting issues related to MPAC and the Ontario
Lottery Corporation. Changes are now underway in both of these
If you agree that the laws should be changed so that Tarion falls within
the mandate of the Ombudsman of Ontario, this is the time to let your
express your views by writing to Minister Phillips — and copying CPBH
as well as the Ombudsman of Ontario – NOW. The contact information is
Also - please forward this e-mail to:
anyone who has been dissatisfied with the services of Tarion/the
Ontario New Home Warranty Program,
anyone who is considering purchasing a newly built home in Ontario
in the future,
anyone who has views about this matter, regardless of whether they
have personally purchased a newly built home, or plan to in the
and encourage them to consider voicing their views to the Minister -
NOW. All Ontario tax payers and voters need to make themselves heard on
this – NOW – if you/they wish to see this change. The purchase of a
home is the largest purchase most consumers make.
If they want Tarion fixed why not get rid of the BOD, and reformulate its policies. A ombudsman only fights for those that have been wronged, he can’t change the policies and legislation which have led to the ineffectiveness in my opinion.
Seems fruitless when we have just been provided in another thread about the licencing tribunal ruling in favour of the homeowner.
Last week, I wrote to you about the possibility of Minister Gerry Phillips extending
the Ombudsman’s mandate to include Tarion. Many Ontarians have now written to the Minister
supporting this change, and copied CPBH in their correspondence. But we need more people to
write if we are to convince the Minister to take action to better protect consumers.
We are very much hoping that you will write to the Minister - even if you have not
been impacted personally. The purchase of a home is the largest purchase most consumers make,
and there is currently inadequate consumer protection. This opportunity that the Minister is
considering provides an important means to better protect Ontario consumers.
Purchasers at all stages of life – many young people who purchased their first home, through to many
seniors on a fixed income who invested their life savings in a newly built home – have recently
found that they did not have adequate consumer protection for their newly built home,
and they suffered as a result.
You may be interested to know that a prominent Toronto lawyer and Toronto Star journalist,
Bob Aaron, wrote in his column today: “Buyers of new homes in Ontario will benefit considerably
if minister Gerry Phillips expands the ombudsman’s mandate to include oversight of the Tarion
warranty corporation. In my view, he can’t do it soon enough.” The complete column from today’s
Toronto Star is below. (You will note that Bob Aaron also references the work of CPBH in today’s column!)
With a provincial election scheduled for October 2007, the Minister will need to move quickly to make
this important change before the election.
The more letters/emails that the Minister receives supporting this change, the greater the probability
of change. If you agree that the Ombudsman should have responsibility for Tarion, please write to
Minister Phillips NOW and copy CPBH and the Ombudsman. The contact information is below.
CPBH realizes you are busy, but if you could take just a moment to write a quick e-mail or letter, it would
be so appreciated – and would have an impact.
The following is an example of what one person wrote:
“Minister Phillips, I understand you are considering having the mandate of the Ombudsman of
Ontario extended to include Tarion. I strongly support this move.”
Many have worked hard to get this initiative to this point,
but we need to continue the momentum, which is why we are writing to you.
Thank you for considering this request.
Canadians for Properly Built Homes (CPBH)
Our Vision: Healthy, safe, durable, energy efficient residential housing for Canadians.
Warranty does not eliminate client’s rights
Primary purpose of Tarion is to administer Ontario New Home Warranties Plan
February 17, 2007
Bob Aaron, The Toronto Star
In the summer of 1999, Brian Griffin bought a new house to be built by T
& R Brown Construction Ltd. in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
In March and August of the following year after taking possession,
Griffin became unhappy with defects in the house and served notice on
what is now the Tarion warranty program of a breach of warranty under
the legislation. A conciliation was conducted at the house in August,
2000 and some repairs were made. The warranty program did several
re-inspections and then issued a formal report to the owner.
Griffin was still not satisfied and filed a further claim listing 33
separate complaints. After the program responded to the complaints,
Griffin launched a formal appeal of the decision. The Licence Appeal
Tribunal scheduled five days for hearing the appeal, but a few days
before the hearing, Griffin abandoned it and decided to sue the builder
and the City of Kawartha Lakes instead.
In November, 2006, Brown and the city asked the court to terminate
Griffin’s lawsuit as “frivolous and vexatious.” They argued that Griffin
could not sue because he was obliged to accept the decision of the
warranty program in place of any right to collect damages in a civil court.
Section 17 of the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act says that every
contract to buy a new home is deemed to contain an agreement to submit
future differences to arbitration. At first blush, it looks like this
provision eliminates the right of any homeowner to sue under the terms
of the contract.
At the court hearing on the application to kill the litigation,
Griffin’s counsel, William F. Kelly, argued that his client’s rights
under the contract with the builder are not eliminated by the provisions
of the warranty program legislation, which is designed to protect the
rights of new homebuyers and not truncate them.
Justice Robert A. Clark dismissed the application to toss out Griffin’s
case without a trial. His view was that the legislation contains no
express prohibition against a lawsuit. As a result, he ruled, the
jurisdiction of the Licence Appeal Tribunal to decide warranty appeals
exists alongside that of the courts, and a homeowner can choose which
route to take.
The builder and the city argued that the issue of whether the builder
had breached any of the statutory warranties had already been decided by
the warranty program, and it would be improper for the owner to litigate
the issue all over again in a courtroom. Justice Clark dismissed this
argument as well.
Notices of appeal have been filed by Brown and the city.
In this column last week, I quoted from a decision of the Ontario
Divisional Court, which ruled last year that the law governing the
Tarion program is “consumer protection legislation and should be given
broad and liberal interpretation.”
This ruling, in the Keith Markey case, was a bold step forward since
neither the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act nor the regulations
passed under it contain any specific statement to that effect. The
legislation itself simply states that the primary purpose of the Tarion
Warranty Corp. is to administer the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan.
Following the ruling of the Divisional Court in the Markey case,
everything that Tarion does will now have to be re-examined in light of
Tarion’s clarified mandate to protect consumers.
Tarion is an independent, self-governing, arm’s-length organization
created by the Ontario government. Its annual report states: “Tarion’s
mandate is unique in Canada. No other province or territory so
completely transfers responsibility and liability for management of the
home building industry to an independent organization.”
Soon that mandate may be subject to further oversight – this time by the
Ombudsman of Ontario.
Karen Somerville is president of Canadians For Properly Built Homes
(CPBH), an Ottawa-based group that speaks for homeowners across the
country. Last month, Government Services Minister Gerry Phillips advised
Somerville that he is considering having the mandate of the ombudsman
extended to include the Tarion warranty program.
That would certainly be good news for people like Brian Griffin and
other buyers of new homes and condominiums in Ontario. Having the
ombudsman investigate a case would no doubt be faster and cheaper than
pursuing a claim for defects in the province’s courtrooms – or even
before the Licence Appeal Tribunal.
Somerville told me that many homeowners have advised CPBH that the
option of appealing Tarion’s decisions to the Licence Appeal Tribunal
(LAT) is not one that they are interested in pursuing – for a number of
These reasons include: the relatively low success rates of those who
have taken their cases to the LAT, and the need to retain the services
of a lawyer (with no guarantee of success), given that the builder and
Tarion are usually represented by a lawyer at the LAT.
My guess is Brian Griffin chose to abandon the tribunal appeal because
he would have had to pay his lawyer for a five-day hearing, and might
not be any further ahead at the end of it.
In recent months, Ontario ombudsman André Marin began investigations
into the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., the Municipal Property
Assessment Corp., and the denial of certain out-of-country benefits by
the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Buyers of new homes in Ontario will benefit considerably if minister
Gerry Phillips expands the ombudsman’s mandate to include oversight of
the Tarion warranty corporation. In my view, he can’t do it soon enough.
Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer. He can be reached by email
at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 416-364-9366 or fax 416-364-3818.
Come on everyone, we know Tarion will definetly help the average Canadian home buyer that has a really bd house. Just go directly to the president of Tarion, Aubrey Leblanc and he will address the situation.
Oh never mind, he now has a plum crony appointment at OAHI.
Aww crappp, just when we thought it would go smoothly
On that note they didn’t even tender the job. Actually I am surprised they got him for the money they did.
To add insult to injury now they have proposed a Special Assessment to pay for his position. OAHI has raised membership fees, charges for multiple web listings, pays for a CAFE monitor that is a puppet of the regime that does absolutely nothing. They want a special assessment for advertising, they want another special assessment for… Where has the money gone that members have been putting in all these years gone? Where has my money gone?
I would attend the AGM but with the number of threats and intimidation tried, I would be sure to take a plain clothes OPP officer with me to ensure my safety. I would really love to ask some very embarrassing questions of the BOD, BOE, Admissions Review and the PR Committee and the DPPC.