Home Inspection Act 2017
ASK THE INSPECTOR COLUMN FOR APRIL 27, 2017
Back in 1999, I sat in a room in Quebec and listened to the folks from CMHC as they laid out their plans for a National Home Inspection Licensing Program. It was a draft proposal and, after reading it, I remember thinking, “it’s about damn time!” Fast forward to 2017, when only two other provinces have been licensed and that excellent CMHC document is now managed by the National Home Inspection Certification Council (NHICC), whose certification is called NHI (National Home Inspector). This because CMHC walked away in disgust and frustration over the infighting that took place with associations in most every province where attempts were made to bring it in. In those presently licensed provinces, Alberta and British Columbia, the NHICC certification is recognized, as is the RHI designation. Unfortunately, as I see it, both these provinces got blind-sided by the InterNACHI internet home inspection association and have had to make some costly corrections. This is something that I hope, and from what I know, that Ontario will not fall prey to.
On April 10th the Ontario legislature gave third and final reading to the Ontario Home Inspection Act 2017. It received royal accent on April 13, 2017. The next step is to take this act and develop a Designated Administrative Authority (DAA). This type of authority is commonly used for government acts to ensure an independent administration that has some overview by the ministry responsible for its operation. The DAA concept is presently the operating structure for such provincial regulatory bodies like the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) and the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA).
I had the pleasure on April 19th of talking to two of Minister of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) team, as to how this process is now handled. Mahreen Dasoo, Communications Advisor to Minister MacCharles, was in on the conversation, as was the senior policy adviser for making this DAA into a regulatory body. The present plan is to have this Act in effect by January, 2019. Building a DAA is a long process. A representative board of individuals who understand the industry, along with other professionals, has to form first. They then proceed with the actual governance inside the DAA and the necessary regulatory operations.
Back in 2013, a panel of professionals from all sectors of this industry, home inspection associations, the insurance industry, real estate and representatives from the ESA and TSSA, developed an excellent document called, “A closer look-Home Inspection in Ontario.” This document will form the ground work for the actual DAA regulations and standards that will then govern home inspectors.
The MGCS needed the act in place before they could begin the “heavy lifting,” so to speak. To quote the comment from the Senior Advisor on the teleconference, they are very excited to get this to the point where the Lieutenant Governor can proclaim the date for enacting this legislation into a functioning Authority.
The days of the “buy a flashlight and you are a Home Inspector” are now dated. The next 18 months will pass quickly and, at some point, once the license process is announced, every home buyer in the province can have some comfort in selecting a home inspector. The license is proposed to be an LHI (Licensed Home Inspector) designation and those with that designation will be allowed to practice. The LHI that walks through the door to guide you in the purchase of your new residence will have the background and education, along with proper insurance, to advise you on the single largest purchase most people make in a life time.
So what do we do until that time? I will quote a section from the act:
“entitlement to license: 4) on application in accordance with the regulations, an applicant for a license shall be deemed to be entitled to the license, if, as of a prescribed date, he or she is a member of, or holder of a prescribed class of license from, a prescribed organization, association or other entity, and is in good standing.”
Right now in Ontario, there are only two associations that offer third party confirmation of education and background investigation. They are The National Home Inspection Certification Council, designation NHI and The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors, designation RHI.
Implementation of proper professional insurance that must be carried by the individual home inspector is also part of the new Act. Based upon information I have from the insurance companies that provide this coverage in Ontario, less than a third of home inspectors in this province are insured, currently. Most NHI’s and RHI’s carry proper insurance. If in doubt, ask. I am sure they will confirm for you.
It has been a long, often frustrating, battle to see this legislation come to completion. Special “Thanks” to the folks at the Whig Standard, Kim Popovich to whom I file this every week, Whig News Editor Jan Murphy and Editor-in-Chief Steve Serviss. All of these responsible Whig team members have stood by me for years as I have pressed this issue. They gave me the opportunity to tell the “real” story and supported my every step. While the press is going through tough times, it’s still a recognized, respected medium to tell the whole story and for that I am eternally grateful to be allowed to write this weekly column, now in my 16th year!
Cam Allen L.I.W. NHI ACI can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or comments.