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Accessibility for today and tomorrow

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Accessibility for today and tomorrow

Choosing features that will make your new home livable for the long term

New home buyers come in all shapes, sizes and stages of life. Older people looking to downsize are one of the key demographics for condominiums. These empty-nesters are often in the market for a smaller, more maintenance-free home that is close to transit, entertainment and shopping.

But before making a purchase, individuals or couples who plan to live in their condo into retirement and beyond need to think about future needs. For example, physical limitations that may come as a natural part of aging. By anticipating the physical changes most of us experience later in life, they can look forward to years of comfortable, accessible living in the home of their (new) dreams.

If you, a parent or a grandparent are looking for a condo for retirement living, I can offer a few tips.

Condominiums are mostly stair-free by design but choosing a development that has wider hallways and doorways and a more open floor plan will make it easier to accommodate assistive devices (if needed) like wheelchairs or walkers.

There are also a number of relatively minor but extremely useful modifications that will make your home more livable in the long term.

Opt for door levers over doorknobs. They tend to be much easier to grasp and open.

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Make sure your light switches are the newer rocker panel design. The old toggle switches can be very hard to manage. Even better, if your hands are full you can just use an elbow to flip on the light!

Two-way switches are also a great addition so you can turn on the lights as you enter a room and turn them off again once you’re in bed or at the other end of the room. It’s also important to have light switches at both the top and bottom of a staircase so you’re not tempted to negotiate a set of stairs in the dark.

Make sure there’s enough lighting in bathrooms, stairways, kitchens and outdoor areas.

When it comes to choosing flooring, steer clear of high-gloss, slippery materials such as marble which may come with a higher risk of slipping. Finally, when it comes to bathroom design, consider opting for a walkin shower with an adjustable-height showerhead and handheld unit to give you more bathing flexibility as you become less flexible.

If a builder is installing accessibility features for you, there’s good news: those features are likely to be covered under your one-year warranty for defects in workmanship and materials and unauthorized substitutions. If you have any doubts that something may be covered, or for how long, your builder representative – or Tarion’s customer service department – will be happy to help you find out.

And if you’re worried about coverage for the accessibility features you may need to rely on outside of your front door – in the shared common element areas of your community – there’s good news there too. Since 2015, the Ontario Building Code has required all new multi-unit residential buildings to include accessible and barrier-free features in many of these areas. If an issue does arise with one of your common elements’ accessibility features, it’s likely protected by the new home warranty on common elements, which is backstopped by Tarion. The problem may be warranted for up to one year (if it is related to work and materials or substitutions), or up to two years (if it’s a violation of the Ontario Building Code that affects health and safety). Keep in mind that the warranty covering common elements is separate from the one covering your own unit.

While contemplating your future limitations isn’t as fun as deciding on the colour of your kitchen cupboards, it can help to ensure the long-term enjoyment of your new home.

Howard Bogach is president and CEO of the Tarion Warranty Corp.




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Ask the right questions to help with your condo buying decisions

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Ask the right questions to help with your condo buying decisions

Buying a new condominium can be both exciting and a little scary. The best thing to do is to arm yourself with information so you can be prepared for the decisions that you’ll need to make along the way.

Here are 10 things to consider before you buy:

1) What are you buying?

You’ll need to know the boundaries of the unit, what the common areas include, and whether what’s been promised in the glossy brochures is actually included in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Many unhappy condo buyers have found out too late that the highlights of the sales materials were just wishful thinking – not a formal part of the agreement.

2) What amenities are most important to you?

A fully-equipped gym, rooftop garden, lounge or pool might be the kinds of things that you’re looking for in a condo project, but they will impact not only the purchase price but also your monthly condo fees. The good news is that these features come with their own warranty. The bad news is that they are often some of the last parts of the building to be completed, so they might not be available when you move in.

3) What upgrades make the most sense?

If you’re going to live in your condo for a long time, you might choose different upgrades than if you’re buying it as an investment. You need to be sure that your decor choices and any upgrades are recorded in your purchase agreement. This way, if there are substitutions made, you may have recourse under the warranty.

4) Is your deposit protected?

Under the Condominium Act, deposits and any monies paid for upgrades or extras must be kept in trust and returned to you in full if for some reason the project does not get built. If something happens and the deposit is not re-paid, you can make a claim to Tarion for up to $20,000.

5) Is your view likely to change?

If you’re looking forward to gazing out over a lake or a forest, make sure you (or your lawyer) check with the city planning department to find out what other new developments are proposed for the area near your condo.

6) Are pets welcome?

Not all condos allow pets, and if a dog or cat is an important part of your family, you’ll need to know what the condominium corporation will allow. You should also be aware that the rules for service animals may be quite different.

7) Can you afford the monthly maintenance fees?

Separate from the cost of your condo, you must pay maintenance fees to share in the cost of maintaining and operating shared amenities and the building itself. Those shared costs usually include window cleaning, snow and garbage removal, landscaping and janitorial service. You’ll need to know what’s included in your maintenance fees and what you’ll be paying separately.

8) Will the building be fully accessible for people with disabilities or other mobility issues?

While some accommodation requirements are now built into the Ontario Building Code, that doesn’t mean the building will be accessible to everyone. If you’re buying the condo for retirement living, you may want to consider your accessibility needs for the future. If you purchase accessibility features for your unit from your builder, these will be covered under the warranty, as long as they’re included in the purchase agreement.

9) Will there be a lot of restrictions on how you can use your unit?

With the popularity of short-term rentals such as AirBnB, some condo communities are trying to put in rules that limit this practice – or disallow it altogether. If you’re hoping to pay your mortgage by renting out your unit, you need to confirm the rules before you buy.

10) Are you going to want to make changes once you move in?

Your unit warranty covers the builder’s work but not any DIY projects or additional renovations you make. Condo boards may also have strict rules against, or at least approval processes for, any customization that you might want to do – from painting your door red to taking down a wall between two rooms.

Like any big purchase, the more you know about buying a condo, the better prepared you’ll be. To learn more about condo warranties and for tips on buying pre-construction condos, visit tarion.com.

Howard Bogach is president and CEO of Tarion Warranty Corp., a private corporation established to protect the rights of new homebuyers and to regulate new home builders.



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A new home worth waiting for

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A new home worth waiting for

Why new home construction may not always go according to plan

One of the hardest parts of buying a new home is the waiting. You sign the purchase agreement and then you wait, and wait, and wait some more. There’s a lot riding on your move-in date – the timing of the sale of your current home or the termination of a lease, packing, scheduling of movers and setting up services like internet and phone. All you want is a 100 per cent guarantee that your home will be ready on a specific date. Is that too much to ask?

Unfortunately, sometimes it can be.

Construction timelines aren’t an exact science and there are many factors that can interfere with the completion of your home.

One of the most common reasons for delay is the weather. It’s out of anyone’s hands and it has a major impact on how fast a new home goes up.

Heavy rains, high winds, thunderstorms, extreme heat – they can all impact site conditions, materials and work schedules.

As our climate becomes increasingly unpredictable, weather delays are likely to become more common.

What else can slow down construction? Earlier this year there were some strikes involving trade unions in the new home building industry. In the past, these types of labour disruptions have had serious impacts on the delivery of new homes. The industry is also experiencing shortages in available trades as many of the current tradespeople are beginning to retire and there aren’t enough young people stepping in to take their places.

There can also be issues with material shortages. Let’s say the builder can’t get enough drywall or there’s manufacturing delays with the furnaces ordered for the development or the hardwood you selected has been discontinued. While these issues might only slow things down by a week or two, the time can add up – especially if it prevents other work, like the electrical or painting, from being completed.

And finally, there can be catastrophic events like fires or floods that might cause setbacks lasting months.

So how do you know when your home is likely to be completed?

When you buy a new home, your builder must include a closing date in your purchase agreement. If a builder is confident as to when the home will be finished, they’ll set a ‘firm’ date, which is something a lot of home buyers will ask for so they can coordinate all the logistics of their move. If a builder isn’t sure exactly when your new home will be finished, they can set a ‘tentative’ date. That gives them the flexibility to delay the completion date several times as long as they follow specific rules.

The important thing to know is that the details about what are referred to as your ‘critical dates’ are spelled out in a document called the Addendum which is attached to every Agreement of Purchase and Sale. It also indicates if and when you’re entitled to legally back out of your agreement if you choose to do so.

And the good news is that the new home warranty provides protection against delayed closing under certain circumstances. So while it may not be possible to prevent all the factors that could impact the final delivery of your home, there is compensation for a number of costs – for example accommodation or storage – that you might incur as a result of a delay.

So after you’ve signed your purchase agreement, keep in touch with your builder to get updates on the progress of your home. And if you’re trying to plan, it also makes sense to give yourself some wiggle room. Just as you wouldn’t schedule a connecting flight 20 minutes after your first flight is supposed to touch down, leave time between the projected completion date of your new home and the closing date of the sale or the end of a lease on your current home.

When all’s said and done, eventually you’ll get where you want to be – your new home – and it will have been worth the wait.

Howard Bogach is president and CEO of the Tarion Warranty Corp.




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When the description of your condo doesn’t match the reality

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When the description of your condo doesn’t match the reality

Like an online dating profile that doesn’t quite match the person across the table, your new condo may not live up to all the hype in the marketing brochure. Maybe the floor space is a little less than expected or your kitchen island isn’t located where you expected it to be.

It can be an unwelcome surprise for new condo owners when the reality doesn’t exactly match the dream.

Dimensions are a common issue — often discovered when you show up with your trusty tape measure to figure out how to get all your furniture into a 600-sq.-ft. unit. To understand why your small condo might seem even smaller, it’s important to understand how floor space calculation works.

Let’s begin with the fact that builders aren’t required to include the square footage of condo units in their materials. It’s only if they voluntarily choose to include the information in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS) that they need to follow certain calculation guidelines. In fact, what you may see in the sales materials is a standard clause along the lines of — “Actual usable floor space may vary from the stated floor area.”

Tarion’s Builder Bulletin 22 is an educational tool for new home builders that lays out the rules for calculating floor space. Floor plan measurements are based from the centre line of the common wall, or in a corner or end suite, to the exterior wall. That’s why your 10-by-12-ft. bedroom might end up with usable space more in the neighbourhood of 9.5 by 11 ft. Keep in mind that floor space may also be partially taken up by structural components or mechanical requirements.

But space might not be the only issue. It’s possible that things won’t necessarily be where they were on the floorplan or be quite as the marketing materials described. There can be many different reasons for this. For example, sometimes the municipality requires design changes or a one of the common element systems needs to be moved.

So, what can you do about it? When purchasing a new condo, read your APS and the feature sheet accompanying it. The marketing materials will give you an idea of what you are purchasing, but it’s nothing more than an “artist’s concept.” The details of what the builder will deliver must all be in the APS.

Your unit is covered by broad warranties but it’s important to understand what is and isn’t covered. When it comes to the size of the unit, for example, Tarion outlines only the approved method for calculating floor area. Warranty coverage doesn’t include floor area discrepancies or miscalculations.

You can expect some variance – up to two per cent is considered reasonable by Tarion. However, if you want recourse if the area is not as promised, you need to address this in your APS. Ensure that any commitments to square footage or other features are made in the APS and have a real estate lawyer familiar with condominium purchases review it. Remember that any promises, drawings or features that are in marketing material or made verbally by sales staff are not a commitment.

If you’re buying a new condo or have just taken occupancy and have questions about floor space calculation guidelines or warranty coverage, visit tarion.com, contact 1.877.9TARION or email customerservice@tarion.com.

HOWARD BOGACH is president and CEO of Tarion Warranty Corp., a private corporation established to protect the rights of new homebuyers and to regulate new home builders.



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Inspecting your new home before it’s your home, the pre-delivery inspection

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Inspecting your new home before it’s your home, the pre-delivery inspection

When you buy a new car, one of the last steps before you drive it off the lot involves the salesperson showing you all the features of your vehicle and how they work. It’s the same with a new home. Before you get the keys, you and your builder will do a Pre-Delivery Inspection or PDI. This is an important step – not only does it familiarize you with your new home but it also helps you protect your warranty rights.

The PDI usually takes place a week or two before closing and involves a formal walk-through of the finished home with your builder. During this inspection, any defects, missing or non-functional items need to be noted on a PDI form. This form serves as a record of the state of the home when it was turned over.

Keep in mind however that this is not a warranty form.

Once you take possession, any issues that your builder has not resolved from your PDI – or any new issues that you’ve identified in your first month of ownership – should be recorded on a 30-Day warranty form and submitted to Tarion.

By far, the most common defects we see reported on the 30-Day forms are what are called ‘fit and finish’ issues. That can include scratches or scuffs on cabinetry or floors, cracked millwork, poorly-applied paint or uneven floor tiles.

These are all issues that can – and should – be identified during the PDI. If for example, you report gouges in your hardwood on your 30-Day form but it wasn’t on your PDI form, it may be hard to prove that they existed before you moved in. So here are a few tips to help you with your PDI:

  • Open and close all windows to be sure the latches work, screens are in place and windows slide freely on their tracks.
  • Make sure all doors are painted and that their locks work properly.
  • Look at the walls in each room to make sure there are no nail pops or visible seams. Check out the baseboard and woodwork around the doors to see if there are gaps that still need to be filled with caulking. Do all the light switches work? You should be checking each one. Check outlets with a small lamp or nightlight.
  • Test for squeaky floors as you walk around.
  • Check the bathtubs and sinks to make sure there are no scratches or chips.
  • Take photos of missing or damaged items. These will help with any future warranty claims.
  • If there’s construction debris, tarps or other things obstructing your view of areas of the home, it should be recorded on the form that you weren’t able to inspect that particular area.
  • Take your time, take a good look at everything and don’t let yourself be rushed. This is the time when a builder should be explaining how the appliances work, where you’ll find the water cut-off and how to operate your home’s mechanical and HVAC systems. We recommend that builders spend about one hour per 1,000 square feet on the PDI.

While your PDI is an opportunity to document the state of your home before you move in, once you take possession, your one-year, two-year and seven year warranties kick in. This warranty coverage is outlined in your Homeowner Information Package – something that your builder should provide you with either at the time of your PDI or when you receive the keys to your new home.

If they don’t, you can download a copy from tarion.com. If you have questions about the PDI or how to get the issues you may identify resolved, you can contact Tarion at 1.877.9TARION or email customerservice@tarion.com and our customer service team will be happy to help.

Howard Bogach is president and CEO of the Tarion Warranty Corp.


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Tarion names winners of 2019 Homeowners’ Choice Awards

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Tarion names winners of 2019 Homeowners’ Choice Awards

Tarion web

Tarion Warranty Corp. has named the winners of its annual Homeowners’ Choice Awards for outstanding builders who received the highest ratings from homebuyers across the province. These are the only awards that focus solely on customer service and are based on feedback from homeowners.

The recipients of the 2019 Homeowners’ Choice Awards are:

  • Brookfield Residential – Highrise Category
  • Hayhoe Homes – Large Volume Category
  • Timberland Homes – Medium Volume Category
  • Chris King and Sons Construction Ltd. – Small Volume Category

In 2017, Tarion introduced a new honour – the Ernest Assaly Award – for an Ontario builder that demonstrates a commitment to building quality and innovation, customer service and community involvement. Similar to a lifetime achievement award, a builder can receive this recognition only once.

The recipient of the 2019 Ernest Assaly Award is The Daniels Corporation.

“A new home is a place to make memories,” says Tarion President and CEO Howard Bogach, “and a builder has a big role in determining whether a homeowner’s first memories are positive ones. Thanks to their exemplary customer service, this year’s award recipients not only met – but exceeded – expectations and by so doing set an example for others to follow.”

The Homeowners’ Choice Awards are presented annually based on the results of surveys completed by new homebuyers from across the province. In 2018, Tarion polled 54,518 new-home buyers, asking them about their builder’s performance before, during and after they moved into their new home. More than 11,376 homeowners responded and their feedback determined the recipients for outstanding customer service in the four categories.

The Ernest Assaly Award recognizes the highest level of excellence in Ontario home building while honouring the legacy of Ernest Assaly, a highly respected leader in the residential building industry who was Tarion’s first Chair. Only a select number of Ontario builders met the rigorous criteria required to receive an invitation to make a submission. The recipient of the Ernest Assaly Award is determined by Tarion’s board of directors.

“A well-built home backed by excellent customer service equals a satisfied homeowner,” says Bogach. “Through Tarion’s awards program, these happy homeowners are able to recognize their builders for going the extra mile, and this helps build confidence in the new home building industry as a whole. We congratulate this year’s recipients for their success in creating a positive home-buying experience that their homeowners are happy to share.”

For the full list of Homeowners’ Choice Awards finalists, click here. For the full list of the Ernest Assaly Award finalists, click here.


Consumer Protection: The Homeowners’ Choice Awards



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Today’s modular homes are a whole new world

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Today’s modular homes are a whole new world

In 1908, Sears and Roebuck started selling homes in mailorder kits. You could choose from more than 400 different designs – everything from a cottage-style bungalow to a colonial mansion – and Sears would package and ship the pre-cut and fitted components for you to put it together.

When you hear the term “prefabricated” or ”modular” home, you might think it’s the kind of house that comes in a do-it-yourself kit. In fact, these terms actually refer to the way the home is built.

Most new homes are built from the ground up on the construction site. Modular homes on the other hand are produced in factories in sections or modules that are then transported to the job site and installed on a foundation. Modular homes can look like, and be of equivalent quality, to homes built in the traditional way. The main advantages are that they can be cheaper and may come together faster because various stages of the build can be happening simultaneously off-site.

When it comes to warranty coverage, as a general rule modular homes do qualify – but they have to meet certain criteria.

As a general proposition, Ontario’s statutory warranty coverage applies to homes where the vendor or builder supplies the work and materials for the dwelling. This means either the home is built and sold by a person who owns both the land and the home, or the home is built by someone who contracted with the owner of the land to supply and build the home. If you as owner are purchasing and supplying all the materials or all the modules to build the dwelling, then statutory warranty coverage will not apply. Instead, you will need to rely upon the builder’s contractual warranties, if any, and manufacturers’ warranties for the materials.

Other key requirements for coverage are that the home is not for seasonal or temporary use, the dwelling has not been previously occupied, and that the same person who builds and sells the home must also have supplied the permanent foundation.

Housing where the components are constructed off-site and assembled on-site is popular in other parts of the world and is gaining ground in Canada. Whether you decide this type of modular home is for you or you want to invest in a more traditionally built new home, it’s important to understand warranty coverage and to work with a registered builder. Before signing a contract, be sure to look them up in the Ontario Builder Directory on tarion.com. And if you are looking to invest in a modular home and have questions about warranty coverage, contact Tarion at 1.877.9TARION or email customerservice@tarion.com.

Howard Bogach is president and CEO of the Tarion Warranty Corp.



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Choosing your finishes and upgrades among your key homebuying decisions

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Choosing your finishes and upgrades among your key homebuying decisions

Buying a new home is a huge decision, probably one of the most significant decisions in your life. Deciding which finishes and upgrades will make it the home of your dreams can seem like an overwhelming stream of decisions. What’s important? It depends who you ask.

Cosmetic upgrades

According to many consumer surveys, the most popular upgrades are focused on the way something looks or feels, or how much energy it uses. That’s why a consumer is more likely to ask for radiant heat bathroom floors, glass tiles, butcher block countertops, low flow shower heads or an on-demand water heater. Those are great choices; attractive choices. The problem is, they’re all a bit… cosmetic.

For a different perspective, I went to some experienced Ontario builders and asked what they’d include on a list of upgrades if they were buying a new home from someone else. The answers were surprising.

There was no mention of butcher block countertops or glass tiles. But builders do think about features you might not, such as ensuring there are no blind corners in the kitchen cupboards (so the lids from your plastic containers can’t sneak off there to hide.)

Builders would opt for energy efficient fixtures like low flow shower heads but there was also plenty of enthusiasm for less visible features, like metal framing. They’re also in favour of drywall arches, boxing as well as any backing at trusses be done with metal framing for strength and durability.

As for the basement, builders who are buying houses are thinking less about laminate flooring styles, and more about adding fibre mesh reinforced basement floor concrete, since it will reduce the potential for cracks and curling later.

Outside, if your house and your neighbour’s house are built less than three metres apart, many builders would skip the strip of grass between the houses and opt for stone side yards. Without sunshine, you’re never going to have much more than three blades of grass and six weeds anyway, so it makes sense to keep it low maintenance.

‘Invisible’ upgrades

What it comes down to is this: Builders know a house that’s built with those “invisible” upgrades is far less likely to face costly structural repairs down the road.

If you’re buying a new home and thinking about upgrades that are worth the investment, talk to your builder about all the options that might be available. Stronger infrastructure elements are an investment that will keep you and your family happy and safe in your home for many years to come.

Howard Bogach is president and CEO of the Tarion Warranty Corp.



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Tarion introduces new information gathering process

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Tarion introduces new information gathering process

Condominium developments come in all shapes and sizes. Some are built brand-new from the ground up while others may incorporate part of an existing foundation or other pre-existing elements. There are rules around how much of an existing structure can be used for the building to still qualify as a new build, and therefore be eligible for warranty coverage provided under Tarion Warranty Corp.

Some builders may proceed with a construction project without enrolling it with Tarion, believing that a pre-existing foundation means their units are not eligible for warranty coverage. Depending upon the situation, this may be a wrong assumption and purchasers of these units could be missing out on the warranty protection they’re entitled to.

As the regulator of the new home building industry, Tarion investigates potential cases of illegal building. And illegal building includes situations in which new construction projects – condominiums or freehold homes – are not enrolled with Tarion.

Last year, we had a case that involved a condo development in cottage country that was built on an old factory foundation. Our Compliance & Investigations team determined that the existing foundation was too small for the project not to be considered a new build. Thanks to our investigation, the project was subsequently enrolled and the unit owners were able to have the peace of mind that their investment now had warranty protection.

Investigations like these often begin with tips from homeowners, municipal building departments or builders themselves.

In the past, we used a hotline where callers could leave voicemails with tips and, if desired, these tips could be anonymous. Unfortunately, we couldn’t act on some of the leads because there simply wasn’t enough information provided. To initiate an investigation, our team needs details such the address of the home or condo development, stage of construction, name of the vendor or builder involved and so on.

To improve our customer service, Tarion is introducing a new process to help ensure we are able to gather all the details we need to open an investigation. Callers will be able to talk to a trained member of the Compliance & Investigations team via a dedicated number. By asking a few simple questions, our staff can collect the information Tarion needs to begin investigating the concern. Callers who don’t want to provide their names will still be able to remain anonymous.

But illegal building leads aren’t the only reason to give our team a call. Compliance & Investigations also deals with other compliance related issues, such as concerns about builder conduct.

We want consumers to have the peace of mind that their homes are being built by someone they can trust and to know that their investment is protected. If you have a concern about your builder or about possible illegal building activity in your area, I encourage you to call toll-free 1.877.982.7466 x3833. You can also email investigations@tarion.com.

HOWARD BOGACH is president and CEO of Tarion Warranty Corp., a private corporation established to protect the rights of new homebuyers and to regulate new home builders. Tarion.com


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Home reno

Home construction and renovation the largest contributor to Canada’s underground economy

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Home construction and renovation the largest contributor to Canada’s underground economy

Home reno

Looking to custom-build a home or do your dream renovation – and save a few bucks by using unlicensed contractors? One, you’re not alone. And two, it could be a huge, costly mistake. Indeed, residential construction is by far the largest contributor to Canada’s underground economy, according to Statistics Canada. In 2016, this sector was responsible for 26.6 per cent – or $13.7 billion – of this activity, compared to 13.5 per cent for the retail trade, and 12.1 per cent for accommodation and food services.

The underground economy is defined as consisting of market-based economic activities, whether legal or illegal, that escape measurement because of their hidden, illegal or informal nature.

And the numbers are huge – totaling $51.6 billion in Canada for 2016, or 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product, and up 3.5 per cent from 2015.

The underground economy in Canada is even outperforming the total economy – increasing 3.5 per cent from 2015 to 2016, compared to the 2.0 per cent growth in total economy GDP.

Underground economy by province and territory

Ontario was responsible for the largest contribution in 2016 – $19.7 billion, compared to $11.9 million in Quebec, $7.6 billion in BC and $5.8 billion in Alberta.


As a percentage of GDP

PEI 3.1
Quebec 3.0
BC 2.9
Manitoba 2.6
Nova Scotia 2.6
Yukon 2.6
New Brunswick 2.5
Ontario 2.5
Saskatchewan 2.5
Nfld. 2.1
Alberta 1.9
NWT 1.1
Nunavut 0.8


Why you should care

Why should you care about this issue?

On a more global scale, underground economic activity means taxes are not collected – topay for programs and services such as healthcare, education, parks, child benefits, Old Age Security and Employment Insurance.

More directly for you, however, is that an “under the table” home reno or custom-build puts you at risk. Not only do you have limited recourse if the project is not done to your liking, or is over time and budget, but you could also could be liable if a worker is injured on-site during a home renovation or if you unknowingly purchase damaged goods or shoddy service with no receipt.

Always get a contract or receipt

Cash deals with no paperwork may mean a business isn’t paying its taxes. You may be liable if something goes wrong.

RenoMark protection

In the Greater Toronto Area, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) helps homeowners make informed decisions about renovation projects through a program called RenoMark. The program was established in 2001 and is now delivered in partnership with the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) and local home builders’ associations across Canada.

RenoMark identifies professional contractors who have agreed to abide by a renovation-specific Code of Conduct. The Renovators Mark of Excellence makes it easy for homeowners to identify participating professional renovators who have agreed to provide a superior level of service.

Get it in writing

Make sure to get the details of any reno project in writing and signed by both you and your contractor. RenoMark Renovators provide a two-year warranty.

Do your research

Ask for at least three references and always check them

By dealing with reputable businesses that follow the rules, you’re also helping workers. Honest businesses follow health, safety and other employment standards.

The Canadian Home Builder’s Association also offers free and unbiased information on how to hire a contractor the smart and safe way, at getitinwriting.ca


Getting Started with Home Renovation

Reno Expert: Good Help Wanted

What you need to consider before renovating your home



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