Monthly Archives: July 2014

Response from the Minister, via his media office:

Mr.LeBlanc, media contact for the Ministry of Consumer Services, posted a comment yesterday on this blog in reply to our request to Tarion to release a transcript of the Annual Public Meeting consumer question-and-answer period. He says we’ve already received that in the Tarion-generated “summary” Tarion posted on-line.

Let’s not quibble about semantics. What we are asking for is a correct and accurate rendition of our questions we asked at this public meeting. Many consumers have stated their questions have been substantially modified, or incomplete in this “summary”. This is not an accurate record of what went on at the APM.  We are asking for an actual verbatim transcript.  Tarion does have this, since they were forced to provide parts of it last year in response to consumer complaints, and since The Toronto Star journalist had recorded the meeting.

We are asking for accurate written documentation, a verbatim transcript, call it what you want, of consumer questions  asked at the Annual Public Meeting on April 25th, 2013 and on April 30th 2014. This is not the “summary” which Tarion has posted on-line.

Interesting also is that an important commitment made by a Tarion senior executive to the audience – which was met with a round of applause – does not seem to appear in Tarion’s “summary”.

We are asking for a fully accurate transcript,  an official written documentation of what questions were asked on the record.  Call it what you want, you now have enough consumers writing to your Ministry to say this Tarion “summary” is inaccurate, not a true record of what they asked at that “public” meeting, nor an accurate account of what was promised or answered in the Q&A period. It would be also important to know which board members signed off on this Tarion “summary” as a true and accurate record of what was said.

Several Ministry public servants were at that meeting: four, as far as we can tell.  Transparency and accountability… here’s an opportunity for this government with “oversight” over Tarion, to prove this is more than just another Liberal re-election slogan.

Stop the word games; its clear what consumers are asking for. Over to Tarion and the Ministry of Consumer Services to provide this: a verbatim transcript, without further “ado about nothing”.


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“Let every eye navigate for itself and trust no agent.” – William Shakespeare

Trust with key stakeholders is very important for a large corporation. Even more so with Tarion, which has a public trust function, a government-granted monopoly, a consumer protection mandate, and a regulatory responsibility over the building industry in Ontario.

Consumers who travel great distances to attend Tarion’s ANNUAL PUBLIC MEETING (APM) each year expect their questions answered, and accurately transcribed for the public record.

It is surprising that Tarion took it upon itself starting in 2013 to publish only a “summary” of consumer questions asked, and a somewhat embellished version of the answers they gave at the time.

Despite criticism in writing that this “summary” did not accurately reflect the questions consumers had asked, Tarion decided to proceed once again in 2014 with their controversial “summary” instead of “minutes”.  Not only this, but at the 2014 APM consumers were told they were not allowed to video or audio record their own questions. Consumer requests for transcripts of the 2013 and 2014 APM Question Periods, have not been answered to date by either Tarion or the Ministry of Consumer Services .

Again this year, consumers have written to Tarion executives and Ministry officials to voice their concerns that this “summary” does not accurately reflect their questions or the answers given by Tarion at the time.

If  Tarion is truly a “consumer protection” organization, as it keeps telling us, and if “the consumer’s interests are paramount” as they tell us, then why wouldn’t they embrace consumer input at this meeting, have it properly recorded for the public record, learn from it, and fix the problems which could make things better in the future? Consumers voicing concerns at this public meeting should not be painted as one-off, tough-luck cases, or perpetual malcontents. Listening carefully to consumer concerns and recording them accurately is the first step to making things better for the very people the warranty was created to protect in the first place – the new home buyer.

In the interests of transparency, fairness, accountability, and good corporate governance, why not publish actual minutes of the meeting, a full transcript of consumer concerns raised?

If the consumer is “paramount” to you Tarion, prove it.  Publish a true transcript of your 2013 and 2014 APM question and answer period.

“When you’re telling the truth, you’ve only got one story”.









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If There Are No Consequences, There’s No Deterrent

At a recent media event, June 20th, Howard Bogach, President and CEO of Tarion rather breezily stated: Virtually all new homes have some kind of defect.” 

And you think that’s no big deal? If you’re spending your life savings on a new home or condo, it sure is. Would you expect to hear from the President of General Motors, for example, that “virtually all” new cars he’ll sell you have “some kind of defect”? You’d chose another manufacturer.

But Mr.Bogach’s comment seems even more surprising since Tarion is the “regulator of the building industry” and the “licensor of builders” in Ontario. So you’d think he’d be concerned about trying to clamp down on those builders he licenses who cause the problems. Seems not. “Because the warranty fund pays for it“, he’s been quoted as saying to consumers who’ve asked.

Our question to Tarion: even if you warrant a defect, shouldn’t the builder still be at all times accountable to the licensing authority? Isn’t there a difference between “warrantability” and “accountability”? A defect might not be warranted because it was discovered after the deadlines, but the builder should still be held accountable for it on his record.

If there’s no accurate record of defects for the future home-buying public to see, if builders don’t have to pay for fixing their shoddy work, why should they stop short-cutting, squeezing sub-trades, or using low quality materials if they can maximize their profits with impunity? If there’s no deterrent to shoddy building, you’ll get… guess what… more  shoddy building. 

What’s the point of a “licensing authority” or “regulator of the building industry” with no bark or bite?

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