This just sent out by me as I do not believe in licensing but I can see the tax grab as it comes.
An open letter to the Minister of Consumer Services of Ontario
As a Home inspector currently conducting business in Ontario I spent a considerable amount of time and money on education and tools on top of having forty years experience in the building trades prior to performing my first Inspection for a client. I and my firm are committed to the best possible residential inspection I can do for each and every one of my clients. Giving the best service and information is just good business and as independent business people I and many like me wish to continue giving our customers the best service and product we can at as reasonable a price as possible.
Given that, outside of the drama enriched, self serving tv show which would have people believe nearly every home inspection is flawed to the point it will costs many thousands of dollars to fix the missed problems in any home not inspected by Mr Mike Holmes Inspections company, ( Clearly intended to drum up business for his inspection company) there are in fact very few complaints to the ministry regarding home inspections and just as few lawsuits launched . There are so few compared to every other field of endeavor that home inspections ranks at the very bottom of the list of occupations generating lawsuits and complaints every year.
This begs the questions : does licensing protect the consumer who as yet judging from the number of complaints and lawsuits seem largely more upset with even their hairdresser than their home inspector? and who will benefit from licensing home Inspectors.
Yes it is true that licensing has been done in BC. and Alberta and has that lessened the number of complaints there? You have the latest facts at your disposal and the answer is no. Setting a minimum standard, as has been amply proven in many states in the U.S. and now in two of our provinces simply allows someone with minimal training fresh out of a college course and no real experience in the building fields to get a license and present themselves as a qualified home inspector, with your blessing.
I believe that a very telling fact on real qualification for being a home inspector is that by far the preponderance of current inspectors have many years of experience in the building trades and we are far and away the majority of us in an older age group. You can’t legislate age and experience into licensing yet those factors play an important part in being a good inspector. I am reminded of a father in laws saying : too soon we get old, too late we get smart. In home inspection though that plays in the clients favour now. Older experienced inspectors benefit consumers but I would ask if, as has happened where licensing has been imposed elsewhere, what happens when younger people looking for an easy and quick 1 year school course to get through then get out and make money jump in with an official government mandated license although no real experience. There is a vital experience component needed in a good home inspection.
The answer to the question is the Ministry of Consumer Affairs acting to protect the consumer by bringing in licensing of home inspectors must be for the most part no. In fact the ministry fails to protect the consumed by allowing them to believe that all inspectors are alike by being licensed. Taking a short course in a school or company sponsored training program to get the license does not mean they are qualified to give an expert opinion on the many thousands of components used in homes over the last hundred plus years and on the ways in which those components can and do fail.
Frankly If I were a homebuyer that had a major failure in a home after an inspection I would certainly urge my lawyer to add the Ministry to the lawsuit. Setting standards that would allow an 18 year old pass a one or even two year college program then get a license to advise me on the safety of a very expensive and complex structure is not a good way to protect consumers. There is no protection for the consumer in a license. I would also argue that there is only liability looming for the ministry as well.
This bring us to the question of who benefits from licensing then if the consumer really doesn’t, Well as always follow the money, first of course is the schools/ colleges who offer the partially government funded training. As the level of complaints is so low now, more people being put through taxpayer funded programs will not be of benefit but a determent to the consumer as inexperienced but licensed inspectors are sent out into the workforce. But, it will benefit the schools bottom lines whether there is a need for more home inspectors or not. Myself I can’t remember hearing anyone say they couldn’t get a home inspector because of a shortage.
Although very expensive and for the franchise seller a money maker, most franchise training programs like Pillar to Post which require no background and involve all of two weeks training one of which is spent on how to market to real estate agents and run the business are ethically a bad smell for the home inspection industry as it is. Despite franchisers assurances several mock inspections and a help line do not give the necessary experience to properly inspect a home. Any license based on franchise training or the recommendations of franchisers, benefits only the franchiser not the consumer.
Laws that allow inexperienced inspectors to represent themselves as on the same level as any other licensed inspector can only hurt the consumer while enriching the training program sellers. at the cost of the consumer and the taxpayer…
While I would argue that licensing is unnecessary in the first place, given the low number of any complaints, if it should be seen as important to the ministry than instead of a law and licensing system that enriches special interest groups, and puts inexperienced inspectors on the street, I would strongly urge the Ministry look at not just the educational portion of the requirements for a license but an apprenticeship portion as well.
Serving as an apprentice with a qualified practicing inspector would at least give the newly educated inspector a chance to learn and understand some of the great many permutations in equipment and systems found in the great range of homes out there today. With over 150 years of homebuilding available to inspect, the differing ways in which systems and components can fail are nearly endless and good inspectors are learning something every day. Mechanics, electricians, sheetmetal workers and many others serve a number of years as an apprentice or intern prior to licensing as do doctors lawyers engineers and architects. If the ministry truly wishes to protect the public then licensing with just an educational component is not the way to go.
Home inspectors are clearly now doing a good job for the public based on the very low number of complaints and lawsuits. A law allowing inexperienced inspectors into the workforce as licensed would bring more complaints and harm to consumers than good. I believe that experience is the main reason so few complaints are forthcoming as the majority of home inspectors are older trades trained people. If you truly want to protect the consumer, and insist on licensing, then it should be through regulation involving not just an educational component but it should include an apprentice component as well.
Done Right Home Inspection
[FONT="]Certified Master Inspector