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Proposed Changes to Strengthen Consumer Protection in Ontario

Backgrounder

Proposed Changes to Strengthen Consumer Protection in Ontario

Ontario is strengthening protection for consumers making significant purchases to build a fairer, safer and more informed marketplace. If passed, the Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act would improve standards for buying tickets to events or for travel services, and purchasing or selling real estate, including newly built homes.

New Home Warranty Program Renewal

  • The Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act would, if passed, strengthen confidence in Ontario's new home warranties and protections, ensure the quality of residential construction and enhance consumer protection.
  • The proposed changes include:
    • Separating the provider of the new home warranty program from the new home builders regulator to increase consumer confidence by establishing two administrative authorities -- one to administer the new home warranty program and one to regulate new home builders and vendors.
    • Making the dispute resolution process easier for homeowners if they discover a problem in the construction of their new home.
    • Strengthening the regulation of new home builders and vendors.
    • Giving government power to make rules and set standards.
    • Introducing modern oversight measures to improve accountability and transparency.
  • Ontario is also supporting Tarion Warranty Corporation in introducing new deposit protection measures to better reflect today's home prices and deposit requirements.
  • The proposed legislation is based on recommendations from the Honourable John Douglas Cunningham, Q.C., following his public review, and public and stakeholder feedback.

Real Estate and Business Brokers Act

  • The Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act would, if passed, provide further protections for consumers when conflict of interest scenarios arise in multiple representation situations. This is part of Ontario's Fair Housing Plan.
  • The proposed changes include:
    • Enabling the creation of stronger, clearer regulatory rules for situations where one real estate salesperson, broker or brokerage represents more than one party in a real estate trade.
    • Allowing for heavier fines for Code of Ethics violations by salespersons, brokers and brokerages.
  • Ontario also plans to consult during the regulation development phase on new requirements for consistent, plain language clauses in existing industry forms to make it easier for consumers to understand their rights and responsibilities.
  • This is the first part of a larger review of real estate rules to improve consumer protection and professionalism in the industry, which will continue into 2018.

Travel Industry Act

  • The Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act would, if passed, strengthen protections for consumers buying travel services and reduce burden on travel businesses.
  • The proposed changes include:
    • Enabling the creation of new rules for representation, such as advertising by out of province travel sellers who target Ontarians, and creating new registration requirements for individual travel salespersons.
    • Lessening the burden on travel businesses by creating a new class for travel sellers so that businesses would no longer need to register as both a travel agent and wholesaler.
    • Improving compliance with the rules by enhancing enforcement tools, such as administrative penalties.
  • Should the bill pass, Ontario plans to consult with stakeholders during the regulation development phase on proposed regulation changes, including:
    • Strengthening consumer protection by requiring registered travel sellers to disclose additional information to consumers so they can make informed choices and requiring continuing education for travel salespersons.
    • Lessening the burden on travel businesses, the majority of whom are small businesses, by updating requirements, such as financial reporting and security deposits.
  • The proposed changes to the Travel Industry Act are based on a multi-phased consultation process that included input from the public and travel industry stakeholders.

Ticket Sales Act

  • The Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act would, if passed, help give fans a fair shot at seeing their favourite music, sports or theatrical events.
  • The proposed changes include:
    • Banning the use and sale of ticket-buying software -- also known as ticket bots -- and the sale of tickets that were purchased using bots.
    • Capping the resale price of tickets at 50 per cent above face value.
    • Requiring businesses selling and reselling tickets to disclose key information to consumers.
    • Establishing new enforcement measures to help make sure that ticket selling and reselling businesses are following the rules.
  • These changes would put fans first by preventing excessive markups in the resale market, providing fans with more upfront information and preventing ticket fraud.

Media Contacts

  • Mahreen Dasoo

    Minister of Government and Consumer Services Office

    416-326-1939

  • Sue Carroll

    Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

    416-326-7408

  • Andrew Rudyk

    Attorney General’s Office

    416-326-4019

  • Emilie Smith

    Ministry of the Attorney General

    416-326-2210

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