Ont. door-knocker bill sidelined

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Ontario service contractors can breathe the proverbial sigh of relief. A Liberal private members bill that would have banned all private (sales) contracts signed in the home has been pushed aside by the Ontario government, which has introduced its own legislation.

Introduced Nov. 3, the new “Putting Consumers First Act”, Bill 59, while still banning private contracts signed on the doorstep, specifically excludes those where the home or building owner has initiated contact with the contractor, reports the Canadian Water Quality Association (CWQA) which, along with the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada, has been vigorously defending the industry from the previous door-knocker legislation. As well, the new legislation does not specify particular products – HVAC, water heaters and water treatment equipment – as the previous legislation did.

Liberal MPP Yvan Baker sponsored Bill 193, later re-introduced as Bill 14, both of which banned all private contracts signed in a home and would have forced contractors to set up retail locations, giving a huge advantage to the big box home improvement retailers that already have them.

Meetings with Baker by both HRAI and CWQA failed to convince him of the fallacy of this approach. Baker did not return phone calls or e-mails from this magazine, looking for an explanation.

The new legislation will also require that home inspectors be licensed. The industry has long complained that many of these people are not qualified to inspect HVAC and plumbing systems.

The other key component, for the industry, is that the Minister of Government and Consumer Services has promised to work with industry in working out the details of the new legislation.

“The good news is that the Ministry is very eager to have industry involved in the process,” reported Kevin Wong, CWQA executive director.

However, he cautioned that contractors in other provinces need to be wary of similar legislation developing in their provinces as the companies responsible for door-knocker fraud in Ontario seek business elsewhere. CWQA has identified Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as regions of particular concern.

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