Unlike British Columbia and Alberta, where home inspectors are required to be licensed, Ontario doesn’t require home inspectors to belong to any professional association, nor is there a licensing body governing their conduct.
This means anyone can call themselves a home inspector. At a minimum, home buyers should check to make sure the home inspector they’re considering hiring is a member of at least one of the following trade associations:
- The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (OAHI)
- The Canadian Association of Home Inspectors (CAHPI)
- The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI)
- Certified Master Inspector Certification Board (CMI)
- The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
Though all of the above associations have strict code of conduct and standards of practice requirements, the fact remains that many so-called home inspectors aren’t members, and even those who are members are only governed by the association and not a licensed body.
In general, the purpose of providing standards of practice is to establish a minimum and uniform standard for private, fee-paid home inspectors who are members of the association.
Home inspections performed to the standards of practice are intended to provide the client with information regarding the condition of the systems and components of the home as inspected.
The Ontario Association of Home Inspectors, established in 1994, has four categories of membership: non-registered, applicant, associate and RHI.
Each category has minimum requirements for education and training (see OAHI’s website for details) that must be met before membership status is granted.
OAHI members also must adhere to strict professional practice and conflict of interest guidelines or risk having their membership revoked.
These guidelines include the inspector’s conduct regarding inspector/client confidentiality, independence, disclosure, solicitation, referral fees and contracts as well as other areas that uphold the integrity and reputation of the profession.
In addition, members must meet minimum education requirements before being permitted to perform any fee-paid inspections.
In an attempt to strengthen consumer protection for Ontario homebuyers and sellers and level the playing field for home inspector businesses, the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services has formed a panel to make recommendations to the government about regulating the industry.
The panel consists of experts, including home inspectors, consumer advocates, educators and related sectors such as real estate, law and insurance. They will examine the following areas: technical, professional, consumer protection and governance.
The panel’s findings will be made available for public and industry comment by late fall and then finalized in a report that will guide the government as it considers legislation for the home inspection industry in this province.
Special to EiEiHome by Rob Parker