The CCHI and Home Inspector regulation in Ontario


The process for developing proposals regarding regulation of the Home Inspection profession in Ontario has finished it’s first stage.  The proposals document which can be found here made a series of recommendations to go to the public consultation stage, and if seriously unopposed on to the policy review stage.

Of the thirty-five (35) recommendations made to the Ministry of Consumer services, twenty-five (25) were administrative or regulatory in nature and out of the control of any Associations jurisdiction.   The fourteen (10) left deal with the requirements for education, skills, professional background and conduct.  The Canadian Certified Home Inspector Certification program aligns completely with all 10.

These proposals in the published document are numbered 5 through 9, 13 through 15, 17 and 22.

Competencies.

Proposal 5 in the report states “There should be clearly defined competencies for home inspectors in Ontario based on the National Occupational Standard – Professional Home and Property Inspector, as adopted and/or updated by the home inspector regulatory body.”  The current National Occupancy Standard of 2008 which was the last multi-party NOS for Home Inspectors aligns with the OntarioACHI Standards of Practice, and the educational requirements and examinations for the CCHI Certification are aligned to this as well.  In addition the OntarioACHI board have been engaged in multi-party meetings to establish an update to this NOS.   Unlike the 2013 version, developed and published in isolation by the Canadian Association of Home and Property, this new version will take into account all the interested parties to ensure an inclusive consensus produces a more robust NOS and DACUM to move education and continued professional development forward.

Entry to Practice.

The proposals put forward to the regulation process covered several areas in this section.

Proposal 6 states;

“Entry to practice requirements should include:

a)  Passing a proctored written examination that accurately assesses the knowledge and skills of a home inspector; 
b)  Passing a field test; 
c)  Meeting established experience requirements.”

In order to achieve CCHI certification the Inspector has to undergo the same processes.  A full proctored examination of the inspectors understanding of the technical, safety and business processes in inspection must be taken and passed to ensure the requisite knowledge and skills have been attained.
A field test is required and is judged by two separate peers who have already proved their proctoring and peer review skills.  A number of prior inpsection reports are reviewed by the Certification committee and must meet the necessary standards in order to be put forward as acceptable.

Proposal 7 indicates that “There should be multiple pathways to achieving the experience requirements, which should be established by the home inspector regulatory body. “

OntarioACHI already accept the home inspection experience requirements  can be achieved in multiple ways.  The CCHI program of peer review identifies that these skills have not only be achieved but have been retained.

Proposal 8 suggests “There should be no mandatory education requirement to become a home inspector, however applicants may choose to complete formal education“.

The CCHI program accepts that everyone learns in different ways.  If a Home Inspector chooses to gain their education formally through a college course, or via online education from sources such as Carson-Dunlop or InterNACHI that is fine.  The important things are that the Inspector has chosen to educate themselves and can prove they have retained the knowledge of that education by taking and passing the CCHI examination process.

Proposal 9 requires that “There should be a criminal background check completed for all home inspectors.  The home inspector regulatory body would make decisions on whether the results should disqualify a home inspector from practicing.  For licence renewal, home inspectors should be required to report any change in their record.”

The CCHI program requires that same thing.  Serious offenses involving adult physical violence, burglary and  home invasion and fraud would be crimes considered as raising serious risks to clients, realtors and home-owners alike and would be considered in a decision to refuse to award the CCHI certification.

It is the responsibility of the Home Inspector to get the background check for the CCHI.  We see this as identifying the Inspector as being a responsible professional who can be trusted to be truthful.

Professional Development.

Proposal 13 in the reports states that “Professional development should be required to maintain a home inspector licence” and as part of that proposal goes on to state “there should be a variety of professional development topics/courses/activities. Some should be mandatory and others would be optional” and “Professional development credits should be awarded to licensed home inspectors who provide mentorship and test inspection oversight for new home inspectors”.
In order to retain the CCHI a bi-annual re-certification is required.  This is based upon a series of credits that must be achieved by the Inspector holding the CCHI.  As the CCHI program is dependent upon the strict enforcement of the proctored examination and review process, the proctoring and review tasks are considered as worthy of continued professional development credits.

In proposal 14 the report goes on to say “Home inspectors should be required to demonstrate to the home inspector regulatory body that they have fulfilled their professional development requirements.”

As part of OntarioACHI membership, each Inspector member has an account set up in the CPD portal where the inspector and the relevant committees awarding CPD credits can record the ongoing development.  This will allow the inspector to provide and authorised transcript of their development to the regulator in the future.

Informed Consumer Purchasing Decisions

The report provided an indication that Consumers need to be educated with respect to the Home Inspection process and how to select a Home Inspector.  Especially proposal 17 states “Consumers should have access to information and education that promotes consumer awareness and creates clear expectations about what is provided in home inspection services.” and “The home inspector regulatory body, industry associations, and other interested stakeholders should share the responsibilities for educating consumers on what to expect from a home inspection and role of the home inspector.”
As part of the CCHI program, OntarioACHI are drawing up a series of consumer facing documents that provide this information.  We see this as being a requirement when Licensing is introduced, so feel it is our responsible duty to do this now.  It will provide un-biased, honest information to the consumer about Home Inspections, Home Inspector Qualifications as well as the responsibilities of not just the Home Inspector, but the Realtors and the consumers themselves.

Financial Protections

The report to the Ministry of Consumer services in proposal 22 suggests that “Home inspectors must have mandatory insurance including errors and omissions and commercial general liability coverage.”
In order to obtain the CCHI Certification an inspector must prove they have adequate cover for E&O and GL Insurance.  As part of the program, OntarioACHI has established a broker of Record, HUB International of Oakville.  It is a requirement of the CCHI that Inspectors get insurance, and we prefer they get their cover through this broker.  The reasons for this are two fold.  It allows OntarioACHI to ascertain current insurance coverage of the Inspector, but more importantly, because of the Broker of Record agreement it gives OntarioACHI Inspectors a level of discount they cannot achieve anywhere else.  We have manged to do this through a bulk agreement.  In addition to the E&O and GL Insurance coverage, we have also manged to get into the program for OntarioACHI members property cover and a free legal advice service.  Unlike many other insurance programs, the one designed in conjunction with HUB International of Oakville vigorously fights frivolous claims against the inspector. So while adhering to the Regulation proposals requirements to provide financial protections to the consumers in the event of negligence, the program provides financial security for inspectors who are at the mercy of unscrupulous clients.

There are three levels of insurance offered in the program, and we believe that the choice for which one of these levels is a business decision and should be left open to the Inspector.

More information about the discounts and the benefits of the program can be found here

All inquiries regarding this program can be addressed to:
Kim Smith
HUB International Oakville,
2265 Upper Middle Rd E,
Suite #700,
Oakville, Ontario,
L6H 0G5

Tel:  +1 (905) 582-7067
email:  kim.smith@hubinternational.com

Additional alignments

As OntarioACHI had representation on the panel and have since the first meeting been working closely with other inclusive Associations and regulatory bodies we have managed to develop a series of alignments that can be quickly implemented once the regulator announces the expected changes.  This includes requirements to work with the regulator on public complaints handling, discipline in areas that extend beyond the remit of regulation.  We feel that this places OntarioACHI and our Certified members in prime position for being first in line for attaining a license when the regulation comes into effect.