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In April, the Government of Ontario passed Bill 59, the “Putting Consumers First Act” which, among other things, gave the government new powers to tackle the problem of unethical tactics used in door-to-door solicitation for HVAC sales and rentals.

At that time, HRAI made a submission on behalf of the industry which supported the spirit of the legislation, but expressed concerns about some of its implications. The submission was supported by the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) and the Canadian Water Quality Association (CWQA). HRAI was assured at the time that its concerns would be addressed in the wording of the detailed regulations that would follow the passage of the Act.

In July, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) released a discussion document sharing its proposals for changes to the regulations under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, that will implement restrictions to door-to-door marketing and contracting arising from Bill 59, the Putting Ontario Consumers First Act, 2017. HRAI consulted with contractor members in the province and made a formal submission on August 21st.

In its submission, HRAI once again emphasized its strong opposition to any form of deceptive sales tactics, including the practice of door-to-door (or phone) solicitation, where companies present themselves as something they are not and/or offer urgently needed replacements under false pretences. However, it noted that the regulations, as proposed, might raise almost as many problems as they seek to resolve. HRAI urged caution in regulating any sales process that, by necessity, requires an expert review of existing circumstances in the home (age and functioning of existing equipment, changes in space heating requirements, etc.) and pointed to the fact that thousands of legitimate heating contractors in Ontario fully understand their obligations under the law -- and as a matter of good industry practice -- to treat customers ethically and with respect.

Among HRAI’s fundamental concerns was the need to avoid the possibility that regulations would go beyond the original intent of Bill 59 and might end up harming legitimate businesses across the province, while leaving the intended targets of the legislation untouched.

Among the specific concerns raised by HRAI in its submission was the need to exclude from regulation the sales process that takes place between contractors and their existing customers. For reasons not well-explained, the Ministry included these transactions within the scope of the regulations.

HRAI will continue to monitor the development of these regulations.

Click here for a copy of HRAI’s submission.

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