Today anyone can call themselves a home inspector in Ontario. That is a scary proposition since most consumers depend on the opinion of a home inspector before making one of the biggest purchases of their lives. More than 1,500 home inspectors operate in the province yet there are no mandatory training or technical standards for them to meet.
The results are often a leaky roof, cracked foundation or outdated electrical wiring or plumbing that was missed and which ends up costing unwary consumers thousands of dollars to repair after closing. In extreme situations, consumers have lost their homes. Many inspectors do not carry errors and liability insurance, meaning that if they make a mistake, even if you win a lawsuit, you may recover nothing.
The Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services formed a panel of industry experts to recommend changes to the home inspection industry, which included home inspectors, educators, a realtor, a lawyer, educators, engineers and an insurance broker. The goal is to introduce new regulations within the next 18 months, to permit home inspectors to become licensed.
These changes are long overdue. Your home is the single largest investment that most people will make, and a home inspection conducted by a qualified inspector provides assurance (albeit not a 100% guarantee) that there are no huge, expensive mechanical problems lurking. A licensing program will ensure that the inspector you choose will be properly trained to seek out and identify these problems.