Toronto real estate lawyer Lisa Laredo tells Law Times says the Ontario government’s announcement that it will conduct a review of Tarion Warranty Corp. and the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act is a step in the right direction.
Justice J. Douglas Cunningham, a former associate chief justice of the Ontario Superior Court, will head up the review and provide recommendations for improving consumer protection, accountability, transparency, and board governance, Law Times reports.
“The move comes after years of political debate over Tarion’s mandate to collect fees from purchasers and builders of new homes amid criticism that it has kept its internal workings largely secret,” the legal trade publication reports.
The article notes Tarion issues an audited annual financial statement, but the administrator isn’t accountable to the province’s auditor general or ombudsman.
“The alleged lack of transparency has led to frequent calls for reform,” Law Times states.
Laredo, principal of Laredo Law, tells the publication the lack of transparency and accountability is a cause for concern and she welcomes the government review.
She says that when filing a complaint, purchasers first start with the builder, and property managers in the case of buildings such as condos. If they can’t resolve it, the complaint escalates to Tarion.
“But oftentimes, I find with my clients, which is very disheartening, their claims are denied for whatever reason and those reasons are generally insufficient. But you have nowhere to appeal. Even if you go to the appeal board, it’s essentially the same body,” Laredo says in the article.
In a statement, Tarion said it welcomes the review and agrees that it’s time to consider how effective the legislation is in today’s new home and condominium industry.