The Government of Ontario’s Emergency Order suspending statutory limitation periods and procedural timelines is coming to an end as of September 14, 2020. These suspensions have similarly affected the procedural timelines under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act (“ONHWPA”).
In recognition of the effects of COVID-19, Tarion suspended builders’ timelines to conduct repairs on March 16, 2020. However, as of July 13, 2020, Tarion provided 45 days’ notice to all builders to remobilize trades, supplies and staff to prepare for full reinstatement of timelines by August 27, 2020. Accordingly, Tarion’s timelines were only suspended from March 16, 2020 to August 27, 2020, several weeks less than the suspension of statutory limitations and court procedural timelines.
Therefore, if any of the timelines for a builder were suspended as a result of the Province of Ontario’s Emergency Order, those timelines resumed as of August 27, 2020 as per Tarion’s Reinstatement of Repair Periods notice dated July 6, 2020. For example, if a builder repair timeline was suspended at day 21 on March 16, 2020, it resumed at day 22 on August 27, 2020. Any builder repair periods that started after March 16, 2020 were suspended and recommenced on August 27, 2020.
Tarion has also responded to the health concerns of homeowners in light of COVID-19 and is now providing parties the option of virtual inspections and conciliations (depending on the type of issues). If a homeowner wishes to proceed with a conciliation via virtual inspection, a builder will receive seven days notice and a list of the items to be included in the conciliation. Following the virtual conciliation, Tarion will provide a Warranty Assessment Report to both the homeowner and the builder. The builder will have 30 days to complete the repairs.
Furthermore, if a homeowner is not comfortable allowing builder repairs to commence due to health concerns relating to COVID-19, it is recommended that the parties contact Tarion to facilitate a resolution.
If a homeowner elected to effect non-emergency repairs from an outside contractor during the suspension period, they will not be compensated by Tarion.
All conciliation fees have been waived by Tarion until the end of 2020 as a result of COVID-19 and in recognition of the financial impact it has had on some homeowners.
For further information on the suspension and resumption of Tarion timelines and Tarion’s responses to COVID-19, we recommend you review Tarion’s website.