Licensing Ontario home inspectors

Licensinghome inspectors in Ontario; the final leg

For the past three weeks this column has covered how the Home Inspection business in Canada has evolved, from its infancy in the early 80’s to today.
I briefly detailed how the seven “associations” in Ontario evolved, all with their own in-house “certifications” and standards. Further detail was included on the CMHC program,
which, had it been adopted by these associations, would have brought a level of home inspection that is missing today.]
Some parts are present, though and the NHICC program is there vival of this program. It does not, however, mandate proper insurances.
In fact, none of these groups require it, nor is there consistency in the actual inspection methods.
In October of 2012, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) released its first announcement that this industry was finally coming under some form of legislation.
Following that, in December of 2013, the province released anexcellent report called “A Closer Look: Qualifying Ontario’s Home Inspectors.”
A panel made up of 16 professionals, chose for their industry involvement, including representation from ESA, TSSA, the Real Estate profession,
professional insurance providers and a couple of consumer advocates, worked for nearly six months on this report.
Fast forward to November of 2016 at which time the province tabled legislation to govern this industry. In April of this year this legislation,
known as the Home Inspections Act (HIA) passed final reading.While this brought high expectations in regard to licensing happening quickly,
in fact this was only the first step in a long process to bringa Designated Administrative Authority (DAA) into place to actually govern the home inspectors of Ontario.
Realizing that not much was likely to happen over the summer, I waited until September to request information from the MGCS as to the status ofthis DAA and the progress they are making.
I started with a question and answer “back and forth” with Mai Nguyen, a policy adviser in Minister Tracy MacCharles office and
ended up with a tele-conference with five of the senior advisors from the Policy and Governance Branch of the MGCS.
My initial questions to Ms. Nguyen gave an outline as to how theoverall process to arriving at a DAA is done.
They intend to proceed forward, laying the groundwork for anot-for-profit corporation to prepare for designation in 2018.
This DAA requires first directors to incorporate, a process thatthe MGCS will assist in.
Once this is established, they will create by-laws andthere will be a further board selection
. They project this to be completed in 2019.
While the answers I got from Ms. Mguyen gave me an outline, itdid not fill in the actual process.
The meeting with the other advisors, led by Senior Policy Advisor Kate Green filled in the rest of the information requested.
It is their intention to open a province wide on-line and by mail registry, which will give anyone and everyone in Ontario one last chance
to have their say on how they perceive a licensed home inspector should function.
The expectation is to have this functional shortly. They alsointend to post draft regulations on the Licenced Home Inspector (LHI) proposals.
There will be a time line for responding to this registry and,once it closes,
the MGCS Policy and Governance Branch will review the comments received and begin the final implementation of the DAA.
We discussed the other factors that make up the actual governance that each and every home inspector will operate within.
They acknowledged that the 2013 board document will be used as guidance in their process.
A code of ethics will be established through consultation, using other industry code of ethics for reference,
as they have access to a large file of different ethics standards, including the recent condominium changes.
All of these references, as they advised me, will be reviewed and a “made in Ontario” code of ethics will be created.
One of the more contentious issues that I am aware of is the service contract that the home buying public will be asked to read and sign before an inspection proceeds.
As with the code of ethics, the ministry intends to create a made in Ontario contract to reflect the consultation information
they have received and the recommendations from the 2013 board.In fact, chapter four of the 2013 document goes into considerable detail for both the code of ethics
and the standardization of the service contract.
Chapter two of that same document is taken up completely with the Technical standards and, again, the policy branch will be referring tothis,
along with the CSA-770 standard that was developed and introduced last March. It is fully recognized that the home buying public needto see uniform content,
quality and consistency in home inspections.
Again, the policybranch will be creating this standard for use in Ontario.
The final area of discussion was professional insurance for home inspectors.
There is no defined level or amount of coverage outlined in the2013 document.
This is yet another area of consultation with the insuranceproviders, including input from the interested parties, home inspectors and the public.
I came away from the tele-conference with a slightly better understanding of what it takes to set up a DAA. The disappointing fact is In regard to the time this process takes.
While I can see they don’t want to go through what happened in British Columbia, where they spent onsiderable time and money upgrading the irinitial process,
it looks like it will be another 2 to 3 years before every home inspector in Ontario will be licensed.
Cam Allen L.I.W. NHI ACI can be reached at alltechconsultinggroup@gmail.comfor questions or comments.