“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.”
–Thomas Paine, political thinker/writer; 1737-1809
Although its hard for consumers to contact their MPPs during the run-up to the Ontario election, two enterprising young homeowners got a call-back on June 6th from PC MPP Toby Barrett answering their questions about what his party will do regarding reforms to Tarion.
MPP Barrett was Critic for the Ministry of Consumer Services in the last Legislature, and this is the Ministry which is supposed to have “oversight” over Tarion. Barrett is one of the best-informed MPPs in the PC party on problems new home/condo buyers have had with the warranty programme.
In a short video clip published this week on You Tube, and on the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/maketarionaccountable, homeowner Jeffrey Ferland asks MPP Barrett what the PCs will do to address these problems if his party is elected June 12th, 2014.
“Ministers must be held accountable”, he emphasizes. This is one of the concerns consumers have repeatedly raised – inadequate oversight. The various Ministers of Consumer Services over the years under the Wynne/McGuinty government have focused on “customer service” issues at Tarion, as though that could be of any use at all to someone suffering construction defects in their new home.
MPP Barrett also noted “the government created Tarion, therefore it is accountable for making it work correctly“. The word accountability is key in this current climate of “I’m sorry“, “it wasn’t me”, “it was my predecessor“, “I’ve fixed everything now”. With the backdrop of various Liberal government spending scandals, special audits by the Auditor General of Ontario seem to be the only way to bring sunlight to organizations like Tarion who enjoy a monopoly, collect indirect warranty fees for every home or condo sold in Ontario, and are supposed to act in the public interest. Tarion seems to be an example of an organization crying out for closer scrutiny and meaningful oversight. To leave new home buyers on their own to fight builders for construction defects in court, after Tarion has aligned its interests in getting rid of the claim with the builder’s in walking away from the whole thing, is not in the public interest. Especially if there is no record of the builder’s defects on the licensing authority’s (Tarion’s) record.
Greater scrutiny, transparency, and effective oversight are urgently needed to reform this monopoly, this “Delegated Administrative Authority” of the government of Ontario. It needs to be made accountable to the consumers it was created to protect.
Thank you also MPP Barrett for supporting Bill 190 in the last Legislature which called for the Auditor General of Ontario to investigate Tarion. This is the only credible way to examine how this organization is spending the mandatory fee new home buyers are forced to pay, passed on to them by new home builders.
– Why are so many new home and condo buyers finding out they don’t have the warranty protection they thought they paid for?…
– Why are so many defects under-reported by the licensing authority, Tarion?…
– Why do construction defects continue to proliferate in the new home/condo market in Ontario?…
– Why is the industry which is supposed to be regulated by Tarion dominating policy-making by occupying 8 out of 13 board positions at Tarion?
That’s like setting the rules of the game and being referee as well. A sure way for the building industry to protect its own vested interests.
Tarion seems, in the opinion of many consumers, MPPs, and consumer advocates, to have drifted too far away from its government-mandated mission of “protecting new home buyers.”
Thank you, MPP Barrett, for telling consumers its time now for “REAL ACTION“.
We rely on you and your PC colleagues to bring forward new Bills in the new Legislative Assembly to bring effective and credible oversight to Tarion, starting with a special audit by the Auditor General of Ontario.
Tarion must be brought back its consumer focus, to protect those the legislation was created to help in the first place.