Toronto

Ontario bill would ban certain door-to-door sales, license home inspectors

Ontario has introduced legislation that would regulate home inspectors, ban certain door-to-door sales and strengthen payday loan rules.

Bill would ban unsolicited door-to-door sales of water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners and water filters

Etobicoke Centre MPP Yvan Baker (centre) introduced a private members bill that would ban door-to-door sales of contracts for water heaters, furnaces and air conditioners. The mother of Lexy Fogel (right) recently fell victim to an aggressive door-to-door seller. Michael Janigan (left) of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre supports the bill. (CBC)

Ontario has introduced legislation that would regulate home inspectors, ban certain door-to-door sales and strengthen
payday loan rules.

The changes would all fall under the Putting Consumers First Act, which the government said is aimed at protecting people in transactions involving common household and financial services.

The bill would ban unsolicited door-to-door sales of water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners and water filters, to protect
against what the government calls "aggressive" and "high-pressure" sales tactics.

All consumer-initiated contracts, such as for roofing or home renovations, would also have a 10-day "cooling-off period" during which consumers can change their minds and cancel the contract without any reason.

Home inspectors would be required to be licensed 

Home inspectors would have to be licensed if the bill passes, and it would create an administrative authority to oversee them, with complaint and enforcement processes, including discipline and appeal committees.

The regulatory body would establish a code of ethics for home inspectors, standardize home inspection reports and contracts, define what must be inspected to ensure consistency, and set out insurance requirements.

Home inspectors are currently the only professionals involved in real estate transactions in Ontario that are not regulated. The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) applauded the introduction of the bill.

"When buying a home, people have a right to expect high professional standards and government oversight of all professionals involved in a real estate transaction," said Tim Hudak, the former Progressive Conservative leader and CEO Designate of OREA.

More enforcement powers to address unlicensed lenders

"High standards and a clear legal framework in the home inspection industry will ensure home buyers and sellers receive reliable, informative and professional advice when making one of the largest decisions of their lives."

The not-for-profit corporation would be funded by licensing fees. 

The bill would also give the registrar of payday loans the ability to restrict high-frequency borrowing, create standards that lenders must consider when determining a borrower's ability to repay and give repeat borrowers an extended payment plan option.

It would also come with more enforcement powers to address unlicensed lenders. And municipalities would be allowed to regulate the number and location of payday lenders.

Debt collection rules would be changed under the bill, making firms that purchase debt for the purpose of collecting it subject to the same rules as collection agencies.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now