Ontario passed legislation today that will strengthen consumer protection by introducing new rules for home inspections, door-to-door sales and payday loans.
The Putting Consumers First Act will:
Make it possible to ban unsolicited, door-to-door sales on prescribed household appliances such as water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners and water filters.
Strengthen consumer financial protections through new rules for alternative financial services such as payday loans, including extended repayment periods and more time between loans, as well expanded rules against unfair debt collection practices.
Regulate the home inspection industry through mandatory licensing and proper qualifications for home inspectors, as well as minimum standards for contracts, home inspection reports, disclosures and the performance of home inspections.
Home inspectors are one of the only professionals involved in a real estate transaction that are not currently provincially regulated.
The proposed legislation to regulate home inspectors was based on 35 recommendations made by a 16-member expert panel, which were supported by both industry and consumers.
Door-to-door sales have been among the top complaints received by the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. Recently, the number of complaints about furnaces and air conditioners has surpassed those received for water heater rentals since the new rules for water heater door-to-door contracts came into effect April 1, 2015.
The government will seek public input to determine the types of household products that would be restricted in door-to-door contracting.
Ontario has over 800 payday lenders and loan brokers.
The maximum cost of borrowing for a payday loan was lowered from $21 per $100 borrowed to $18 per $100 borrowed as of January 1, 2017. It will be further lowered to $15 per $100 borrowed as of January 1, 2018.