On November 22, Minister Jim Rondeau announced the introduction of a New Home Warranty Act for Manitoba.
The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that all new homes built for sale are covered by a warranty against defects in materials and labour and also against structural defects. All home builders and warranty providers must be registered under the act, and only registered builders will be permitted to build homes for others or for sale.
The legislation will be a result of considerable consultation with consumer groups, housing boards, government staff, architects, engineers, lawyers, builders and warranty providers. It was definitely an exhaustive process, a number of years in the making.
Only two other provinces, Ontario and British Columbia, have mandatory new-home warranty requirements. In Ontario, the warranty program is operated by a Crown corporation. It is quite a coup that Manitoba is taking the initiative to implement warranty legislation here.
New-home warranty legislation is a win-win-win for consumers, builders and the province as a whole. Consumers will be assured that no matter who builds their home, it will come with a warranty program commensurate with all other new home buyers.
While most new homes in Manitoba are built to the highest of standards, if something does go wrong, consumers will have stronger protection to get their homes repaired.
Although the first big hurdle has been cleared, everyone should be aware that there is still much work to do. The bill has been introduced in the legislature. Like all bills, it must go through three readings and committee hearings before receiving Royal Assent.
In addition, passing the Act is only one part of the process. There are a number of regulations that must accompany this Act. Most of these are precise technical specifications that will require careful wording in order to cover every imaginable occurrence.
Fortunately, many of these regulations have been discussed at length already and so the government is not starting from scratch. Industry experts, consumer groups and provincial staff are all focused on seeing this through.
All parties are committed to ensuring that a Made in Manitoba solution is created for the benefit of all Manitobans.
Mike Moore is president of the Manitoba Home Builders' Association.