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On December 9th, HRAI Director of Programs and Relations Martin Luymes met with key staff at the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to discuss details of Bill 59, the Putting Ontario Consumers First Act. As noted in e-Insight on November 16th, this bill is significantly improved from previous private members bills that tied to address the problem of door-to-door HVAC sales.  It focuses on all installed products, not just HVAC products, and distinguishes between unsolicited sales vs. those initiated by homeowners. 

HRAI, along with CIPH and CWQA, posed a number of questions about the implications of the bill.  Some of these concern the perception that the legislation might constrain the ability of HVAC contractors to sell solutions beyond the purpose of an initial sales call (i.e. when other problems are identified).  There is also concern that the bill will not address phone solicitation tactics employed by certain companies as a way of getting an appointment in the home (effectively side-stepping the need for selling at the door).

These concerns were acknowledged by Ministry staff, who stated that resolution of such detail will have to await the writing of regulations.  The Act gives the government the power to legislate in this area; specific details can only be worked out through regulations.  The Ministry committed to consult extensively with HRAI and members both through the all-party committee process that precedes third reading and in the development of regulations that will follow passage of the bill.  Ministry staff also agreed with HRAI that the act and regulations will be meaningless in the absence of extensive consumer education on their rights and protections. 

Based on an assessment that the bill appropriately targets the real problem of door-to-door sales, and the assurances of consultation on the details of implementation, HRAI will not oppose the bill when it goes to committee and into third reading. 

For more information, contact Martin Luymes at 1-800-267-2231 ext. 235 or email mluymes@hrai.ca.