All licensees are obligated to conduct business in accordance with the requirements of the NHCLA and its regulations, conduct themselves with honesty and integrity, with competence and demonstrate financial responsibility. Every licensee must take all reasonable precautions to ensure that they and their employees and agents comply with the NHCLA, the regulations, and orders made by the statutory director under NHCLA.
Licence Display Requirements
A licence certificate is an important document. Under section 4 of O. Reg. 626/20, builders and vendors are required to prominently display their licence:
At their principal place of business (office address as identified in the application)
On their website, if any
At any premises where business is conducted with the public
Please note that licence certificates will only be provided electronically in PDF format. Those unable to access a licence certificate online and requiring an accommodation should contact the HCRA Licensing and Customer Service Department at email@example.com. An electronic copy of the licence certificate can also be accessed through the Builder Portal account and is available for download.
Notice of Changes
The NHCLA, sections 49 to 52, require all licensees to notify the Registrar of changes to address for service, certain changes in control and in share ownership and of material changes.
Notice of Change of Address Section 49 of the NHCLA provides that licensees must notify the Registrar within 5 days of a change in address. This is the address identified for purposes of service, that is, for receiving communications from the HCRA.
Notice of Change of Control Section 50 of the NHCLA, requires that licensees notify the Registrar promptly if any of the following events occur:
A person ceases to have a controlling interest in a licensee
A person acquires a controlling interest in the licensee
Notice of Issue or Transfer of Shares Section 51 of the NHCLA requires that licensees notify the Registrar within 30 days if any of the following changes occur:
A person acquires ownership of 10% or more of the total number of all shares of the corporation
An increase in shares owned by a person who already owned at least 10% of the total number of all shares in the corporation
Notice of Material Changes Section 52 of the NHCLA requires that licensees promptly notify the Registrar of prescribed material changes. Section 8 of O. Reg. 631/20 specifies that a material change is a change to information provided as part of an application for a licence or for renewal of a licence, including a change to information regarding the business, operations, personnel, assets, liabilities or affairs of the licensee or applicant.
Enrol New Homes with Tarion
Once a licence has been issued and before building or offering to build, or selling or offering to sell a new home, a licensee must ensure compliance with the obligations under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. Confirmation that a new home qualifies for enrolment with Tarion or is actually enrolled with Tarion must be obtained before certain building and selling steps can be taken.
Visit Tarion for detailed information or to begin the enrolment process.
Tarion will notify the HCRA of all new homes that have successfully qualified for enrolment or been enrolled with Tarion as well as any cancellations, suspensions or revocations of qualification for enrolment or revocations of enrolment.
HCRA Regulatory Oversight Fee
Tarion will collect the HCRA Regulatory Oversight Fee of $145 for each home enrolled with Tarion and will submit it directly to the HCRA. The HCRA Regulatory Oversight Fee partially funds the HCRA’s continued regulation and oversight of licensed builders and vendors, managing the complaints process, maintaining the Ontario Builder Directory, and addressing non-compliance, including illegal building activity. This fee is subject to HST.
Guide to Good Conduct for Home Builders and Vendors
The HCRA’s role is to strengthen consumer protection for Ontario’s new home buyers by ensuring that those responsible for the construction and sale of new homes are licensed and are meeting the high standards set out in the NHCLA.
The HCRA has developed A Guide to Good Conduct for Home Builders and Vendors. The purpose of the guide is to help applicants for a licence, and current licensees, understand the HCRA’s approach to assessing the good conduct expected of all new home builders and vendors. Applicants for licence must be able to show that they can reasonably be expected to act in accordance with the law and with honesty and integrity. The guide reviews those expectations and provides examples of potential concerns that may result in the need for further assessment by the HCRA. The assessment will determine if the applicant for a licence or renewal of a licence can reasonably be expected to perform the activities of a home builder or vendor in accordance with the law and with integrity and honesty.
Code of Ethics
Under the NHCLA, the Minister has the regulation-making authority to establish a Code of Ethics. Once established, this will build on the HCRA's good conduct guidance to set out clearer ethical standards that Ontario’s home builders and vendors are required to meet, along with processes for a discipline process and an appeals process, as well as a range of consequences when a licensed new home builder or vendor has violated the Code.
Before granting a licence, the Registrar must believe the applicant can reasonably be expected to comply with the law and act with honesty and integrity, which would include compliance with the Code of Ethics. Once the Code of Ethics comes into force, the HCRA Registrar will consider the Code of Ethics regarding a licensee’s ongoing entitlement to a licence. Failure to comply with the Code may result in the conduct being referred to the HCRA Discipline Committee.
The Guide to Good Conduct will be amended once the Government of Ontario has passed a regulation to create the Code of Ethics.
Ontario Builder Directory
The Ontario Builder Directory (OBD) is a publicly accessible online registry that lists the names and information of all builders and vendors, their current licence status, and the history of any regulatory or enforcement activity. The OBD helps new home buyers confirm they are dealing with a licensed builder or vendor and make informed decisions when selecting a builder.