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Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act

Backgrounder

Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

The Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act will help build a fairer, safer and more informed marketplace with stronger rules for buying event tickets and travel services, and purchasing, leasing or selling real estate, including newly built homes.

New Home Warranty Program Renewal

  • The changes include:
    • Separating the provider of the new home warranty program from the new home builders regulator to increase consumer confidence by enabling the establishment of two administrative authorities -- one to administer the new home warranty program and the other 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 the authority to make rules and set standards.
    • Introducing modern oversight measures to improve accountability and transparency.
    • Extend deposit protection to include other payments, which include those made for upgrades and extras.
  • This legislation is based on recommendations from The Honourable John Douglas Cunningham, following his public review, and public and stakeholder feedback.
  • Ontario is also supporting the Tarion Warranty Corporation in introducing new deposit protection measures to better reflect today's home prices and deposit requirements.

Real Estate and Business Brokers Act

  • The Act will give further protections to consumers when conflict of interest scenarios arise in multiple representation situations. This is part of Ontario's Fair Housing Plan.
  • The changes include:
    • Enabling the creation of stronger, clearer rules for situations where one real estate salesperson, broker or brokerage represents more than one party in a real estate trade.
    • Increasing the maximum fines for salespersons and brokers to $50,000, and to $100,000 for brokerages. The previous maximum fine was $25,000 across-the-board.
  • This is the first phase of a two-phased review of real estate rules that will improve consumer protection and professionalism in the industry, which will continue into 2018.

Travel Industry Act

  • The Act will strengthen protections for consumers buying travel services and reduce burden on businesses involved in the sale of travel services.
  • The changes include:
    • Enabling the creation of new rules for representations, such as advertising, by out of province travel sellers who target Ontarians.
    • Creating a registration requirement for individual travel salespersons.
    • Lessening the burden on travel businesses by creating a registration class of travel seller so that the businesses will no longer need to register as both a travel agent and travel wholesaler.
    • Improving compliance with the rules by enhancing enforcement tools, such as administrative penalties and compliance orders.
  • Ontario plans to consult with stakeholders during the regulation development process on proposed regulatory changes to further strengthen consumer protection, including:
    • 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 which are small businesses, by updating requirements such as financial reporting and security deposits.
  • The changes to the Travel Industry Act are based on a multi-phased consultation process that included input from the public and travel industry experts.

Ticket Sales Act

  • The Act will enact a new law, the Ticket Sales Act, to help give fans a fair shot at seeing their favourite music, sports or theatrical events.
  • The new rules 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 new rules will put fans first by preventing excessive markups in the resale market, providing fans with more upfront information and preventing ticket fraud.

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