Home Inspection Regulations in Canada

Glen Plummer, a British Columbia man who bought a home in October 2011, ended up paying an extra $50,000 in water leakage repairs even though the seller signed a disclosure statement and the home was inspected.

Home inspection regulations in Canada

This case brought to light an existed problem with home inspections and the need for national inspection standards that need to be regulated by the provinces.

No home inspector regulations in Canada

Besides British Columbia and Alberta, all provinces and territories are self-regulated by various organizations and there are no set nationwide standards that apply.

“At least there is a bar in B.C. and Alberta that someone has to meet. CAHPI [Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors] is pushing for higher bars because we believe they belong high in order to provide adequate consumer protection,” said Blain Swan, president of CAHPI.

Plummer said the home inspector he hired made it clear that they are unable to find defects in the home that are not visible to the naked eye. Essentially, they can’t look for anything that can’t be seen by poking around.

Canadians use home inspectors often

According to industry figures, 77% of Canadians use the services of a home inspector and CAHPI believes that home inspection is one of the fastest growing professions in North America due to consumer awareness, government legislation and increased accountability.

The current cost for a home inspection can vary greatly, but typically hovers around the $400 to $600 mark. CAHPI is currently developing a national program that would raise the standards for competency across Canada, according to Swan.

Home inspectors facing fines

In March 2009, British Columbia became the first province in Canada to order that all home inspectors be licensed.

In 2006, the B.C. Supreme Court ordered a home inspector to pay a couple $200,000 for a faulty inspection on their $1.1 million home.

At the beginning of 2011, Alberta’s Home Inspection Business Regulation put in place new rules that give homebuyers the assurance that the inspector is a qualified professional. Home inspectors even carry errors and omissions insurance, which covers claims against inspectors in the event of a mistake or negligence.

If a home inspector violates the regulation they could be suspended, have their license revoked, and could pay a fine of up to $100,000 and spend up to two years in jail.

For now, some home inspectors are able to get licensed or certified via a three-day course over the internet, and some courses don’t even require that the inspectors be evaluated for performance.

What has your experience with a home inspector been like? Would you do it again? Let us know in the comments below.

7 comments

  1. Katharine Mills says:

    As a correction to the point made by Dave, in fact there are now online home inspection courses that are accredited by CAPHI in British Columbia – those wanting to be a home inspector need to look carefully at the available courses to ensure that they meet the strict requirements in British Columbia.

  2. Rob Hakesley says:

    At the end of the day the public may likely care less about who does what when it comes to qualifying and licensing home inspectors and MORE about HOW to find the BEST home inspector.

    Home inspectors DO NOT require a prerequisite construction background or technical knowledge to qualify for basic training for certification &/or licensing.

    So:

    1. Does the home inspector have a construction background or technical knowledge?

    2. Does the inspector qualify with a trade, degree, builder, remodeling or restoration experience?

    *REMEMBER* The inspector may only have basic certification and licensing training & NO construction background or technical knowledge.

    3. Does the inspector provide an onsite checklist report devoid of photographs?

    *NOTE* A generic report is a one for all homes checklist, without photos that will likely provide minimal liability by stating a further evaluation is required with minimal specific & only more general details.

    4. Is the report from a highly developed software application that provides an abundance of information and photographs along with standard disclaimers and liability waivers?

    *NOTE* Report writing software can prompt the inspector so that “Nothing (from the Standards of Inspection) is missed” thereby walking the basic trained & inexperienced through filling in the report. Some of these reports would be very good for use by an inspector with more than just the basic training. http://ow.ly/bABQF

    Best Regards,

    Rob

  3. Rosy Saadeh says:

    Thanks for your comments Wayne, and thank you for helping to educate the Canadian public about home inspections.

  4. Wayne Christopher RHI. NHI. says:

    CAHPI’s claim “there is a bar in B.C. and Alberta” is somewhat misleading. In 1999 CMHC, through the Construction Sector Council (CSC) and CAHPI launched the Canadian Home Inspector and Building Officials National Initiative. The object was to create a national occupation standard that would be recognized throughout the home inspection industry across the country.

    In 2005 the end result was the National Certification Program that was to be administered by a committee within CAHPI known as the National Certification Authority (NCA). Up until 2010 this program was functioning very well and was totally self-sufficient. It was then that CAHPI abandoned its responsiblility of administration and fell out of favour with CMHC and CSC. Later that same year the administration of the program was passed, by approval of CMHC and CSC, onto the newly formed National Home Inspector Certification Council (NHICC).

    The CAHPI claim is misleading in that their “raising the bar” isn’t uniform across the country and reflects requirements and vigor within each regional association of CAHPI conforming to their specific requirements, nor is their program open to non-member inspectors which was the original intent of the NCP… to be available to any home inspector regardless of/if any affiliation.

    The NHICC is approved by both the BC and Alberta governments as a recognized element of their licensing process. Their mandate is to provide third party certification to any Canadian home inspector, however the onus is on the inspector to provide proof of training and experience. It is not the responsibility of the NHICC to provide training.

    Fianlly, the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors (OAHI) is provincially legislated through Bill pr 158, 1994, to train and qualify their members as RHIs. So to some degree Ontario does have regulation but one must be a member.

  5. Patrick Watson says:

    I am a certified licensed home inspector with the above mentioned, “BCIPI” here in Alberta. All of my credentials were accepted at Service Alberta after some very persistant work. I am extremely proud to be a member of both BCIPI and ASTTBC and excited to offer my service as a member.

  6. Rosy Saadeh says:

    Hi Dave, thank you for setting the record straight. It is much appreciated.

  7. Dave Brice says:

    I would like to correct the information above.
    Firstly, CAHPI was and did not spearhead the licencing of home inspectors in British Columbia. ASTTBC – Applied Science Technicians & Technologists of B.C. pushed for many years for the certification and liicencing of home inspections. Sure, CAHPI made some noise at the sidelines and when ASTTBC was successful, CAHPI took the credit. So, that is wrong. Further, ASTTBC home inspectors are building technicians and certified (CHI and/or CPI), CAHPI are not, they are only registered type inspectors (RHI).

    Secondly, anyone wanting to becoame a home inspector can not be licenced in B.C. after taking a on-line home inspection course. That satement is fully wrong.

    Thirdly, there is no need for a national regulatory body for home inspectors in British Columbia. ASTTBC & BCIPI (British Columbia Institute of Property Inspectors) have a very high standard that in fact are beyond the standards of CHAPI.

    Forthly, there are home inspection regulations in Canada. B.C., Ontario, now Alberta. There are several bodies accross Canada.

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