THE RENEWAL OF TRUST IN
RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION
Commission of Inquiry into the Quality of
Condominium Construction in British Columbia
Submitted to the Lieutenant-Governor in Council
Government of British Columbia
by Dave Barrett, Commissioner
June 1998


Chapter Three: Plan for Action Continued

APPENDIX FOUR

SUGGESTED DRAFT LEGISLATION

 

BILL XX -- 1998

HOMEOWNER PROTECTION ACT

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:

 

PART I

INTRODUCTORY PROVISIONS

Definitions

1. In this Act:

"bursar" means the person appointed under section 28 as the Bursar;

"chief executive officer" means the person appointed under section 5 as the Chief Executive Officer;

"common property" has the same meaning as in the Condominium Act, but does not include land;

"compulsory certification occupation" means a designated occupation that is specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council under section 8 as a compulsory certification occupation;

"compulsory certification trade" means a designated trade that is specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council under section 8 as a compulsory certification trade;

"director" means the person appointed under section 35 as the Director of Research and Education;

"fund" means the Homeowner Reconstruction Fund established in section 27;

"home warranty" means a warranty covering the construction of a new home or renovation and related damage;

"new home" means a building, or portion of a building, that is newly constructed in British Columbia and intended for residential occupancy, and includes

(a) a self-contained dwelling unit that is

(i) detached, or

(ii) attached to one or more other self-contained dwelling units,

(b) a building having 2 or more self-contained dwelling units under one ownership,

(c) common property, and

(d) a manufactured home as defined in the Manufactured Home Act,

but does not include a building, or a portion of a building, or common property that is exempted by regulation from the definition of a new home;

"office" means the Home Protection Office;

"owner" means a person who

(a) purchases a new home, or

(b) contracts with a residential builder to construct a new home,

and includes

(c) a person who purchases a life interest in the new home,

(d) a strata corporation in respect of the common property,

(e) a cooperative, corporation or society having an ownership interest in a new home, and

(f) a subsequent purchaser of the new home;

"owner builder" means a builder who

(a) builds for personal use on self-owned property,

(b) does not carry on the business of building, and

(c) has not constructed a new home within the past 18 months;

"property manager" means a person with education, training or experience in managing multiple unit residential property;

"registrar" means the person appointed under section 9 as registrar,

"renovation" means a change, addition or alteration to a building or portion of a building in British Columbia intended for residential occupancy whose estimated cost is such amount as may be specified from time to time by regulation;

"residential builder" means a person who engages in, arranges for or manages all or substantially all of the construction of a new home, and includes an owner developer as defined in the Condominium Act,

"residential subcontractor" means a person who engages in, arranges for, or manages to employ the members of one trade during the construction of a new home or the renovation of a home; generally a residential subcontractor will be employed by a residential builder but nothing in this Act or the regulations prevents a residential subcontractor from contracting with an owner;

"vendor" means a person who sells their ownership interest in a new home.

Purpose of the Act

2. The purpose of this Act is

(a) to strengthen consumer protection for buyers of new homes, and

(b) to improve the quality of residential construction.

(c) to carry out research and education concerning residential construction in B.C.

(d) to establish a Homeowner Reconstruction Fund to provide financial assistance to owners.

 

PART 2

HOMEOWNER CONSUMER PROTECTION

Statutory protection

3. (1) a residential builder and vendor of a new home are both deemed to have agreed with the owner, to the extent of labour, materials and design supplied, used or arranged by the residential builder or vendor, that the new home

(a) is reasonably fit for habitation,

(b) has been constructed from materials that are of good quality and reasonably fit for the purpose, and

(c) has been designed and constructed with ordinary competence, skill and care.

(2) Any term of an agreement which purports to waive, exclude, limit or qualify the protection under subsection (1) is of no effect.

(3) The protections under subsection (1) are for the benefit of whoever may be the owner of the new home from time to time until expiration of the period within which an action may be brought for their breach, and such owner is deemed

(a) to have given good consideration for the benefit of the protection, and

(b) to be the only person entitled to recover damages for their breach.

(4) Despite subsection (3), if the ownership of the new home changes during the course of an action for breach of any of the protections under subsection (1), the new owner is entitled to be substituted as plaintiff and to enforce all rights that the former owner could have enforced.

(5) An action in respect of protection under subsection (1) must be commenced within 10 years after the date of the first occupancy of the new home or, in respect of common property, the date the first council of the strata corporation is established under the Condominium Act.

(6) Nothing in this section excludes, qualifies or limits any other term, express or implied, or relieves any person of liability to which they would otherwise be subject.

 

PART 3

HOMEOWNER PROTECTION OFFICE

Homeowner Protection Office

4. The Homeowner Protection Office is hereby established.

Appointment of Chief Executive Officer

5. The Lieutenant Governor in Council must appoint a Chief Executive Officer and may determine the Chief Executive Officer's remuneration and the terms and conditions of the appointment.

Powers and duties of the chief executive officer

6. (1) The chief executive officer shall

(a) appoint the registrar, the director and the bursar;

(b) appoint such other officers and hire such other employees as considered necessary, and set the terms of their employment including their remuneration and duties;

(c) supervise the registrar, the director and the bursar;

(d) ensure that the functions of this Act are carried out;

(e) give the minister such advice as may be from time to time requested;

(f) perform other prescribed powers and duties.

(2) If the Lieutenant Governor in Council so orders, the Pension (Public Service) Act applies to the chief executive officer or to employees of the office.

Financial Administration

7. (1) The office must establish and maintain an accounting system satisfactory to the Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations and must, whenever required by that minister, render detailed accounts of its revenues and expenditures for the period or to the day that minister designates.

(2) All books or records of account, documents and other financial records must at all times be open for inspection by the minister or a person designated by the minister.

(3) The Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations may direct the Comptroller General to examine and report to the Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations on any or all of the financial and accounting operations of the office.

(4) The accounts of the commission must, at least once in every year, be audited and reported on by an auditor appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

(5) The office must, within 90 days of the fiscal year end, submit annually to the minister in a form approved by the minister

(a) a report of the commission on its operations for the preceding fiscal year,

(b) a financial statement showing the revenues, expenditures, assets and liabilities of the commission as of the end of the preceding fiscal year, and

(c) the annual report of the auditor of the commission.

(6) The financial statement referred to in subsection (5)(b) must be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

(7) The Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations is the fiscal agent of the office,

(8) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may designate administrative services that the office must obtain from the government or from any government corporation, agency, branch or department or other government organization or entity that is specified in the order making the designation.

Compulsory certification of trades and occupations

8. (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation, specify that

(a) a designated occupation is a compulsory certification occupation and,

(b) a designated trade is a compulsory certification trade.

(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council must, by regulation, define what constitutes a trade or occupation specified under subsection (1).

(3) The office may provide advice to the Lieutenant Governor in Council with respect to specifying a designated trade or a designated occupation under subsection (1).

(4) A person must not work in a compulsory certification trade or a compulsory certification occupation unless that person

(a) is receiving training in that trade or occupation,

(b) holds the credentials in that trade or occupation.

(5) An employer must not employ a person to work in a compulsory certification trade or a compulsory certification occupation if the employer knows, or would reasonably be expected to know, that the person is not permitted to work in that trade or occupation under subsection (4).

 

PART 4

REGISTRAR

Registrar

9. A Registrar shall be appointed by the chief executive officer.

Powers and duties of the registrar

10. (1) The registrar shall:

(a) receive applications for registration from warranty providers, residential builders, residential subcontractors, and property managers and review the applications,

(b) issue certificates of registration to warranty providers, residential builders, residential subcontractors, and property managers who meet the requirements of this Act and the regulations,

(c) suspend or cancel certificates of registration,

(d) maintain registers of warranty providers, residential builders, residential subcontractors, and property managers,

(e) make entries in the registers in accordance with this Act and the regulations, and

(f) keep records, including records of decisions made by the registrar.

(2) The registrar may do one or more of the following:

(a) make bylaws or rules, not inconsistent with this Act, and the regulations;

(b) require from warranty providers, residential builders, residential subcontractors, and property managers reports as prescribed by the regulations;

(c) perform other prescribed powers and duties.

Fees

11. (1) The registrar may set and collect fees for the registration, and the renewal of registration of warranty providers, residential builders, residential subcontractors, and property managers.

(2) Money collected by the registrar under subsection (1) must be retained and applied to defray the expenses incurred in carrying out the powers, functions and duties under this Act.

(3) Despite the Financial Administration Act, money collected by the registrar under subsection (1) does not form part of the consolidated revenue fund.

 

PART 5

REGISTRATION OF WARRANTY PROVIDERS

Registration of warranty providers

12. A warranty provider

(a) must make an application to the registrar for registration under this Part, and

(b) may be issued with a certificate of registration if

(i) the registrar is satisfied that the warranty provider meets the qualifications and conditions for registration required by the regulations,

(ii) the warranty provider meets the level of financial solvency required by the regulations, and

(iii) the warranty provider pays any required registration fee.

Refusal, suspension or cancellation of registration of a warranty provider

13. The registrar may refuse to renew, or may suspend or cancel, the registration of a warranty provider

(a) for any reason that would disqualify a warranty provider to register under section 12 if the warranty provider were an applicant for registration,

(b) when considering revocation of registration of warranty provider, the registrar shall take into consideration the history of claims handling by the warranty provider and whether the warranty provider has performed that function in good faith.

(c) if the warranty provider has made a false statement on a material matter in an application for registration, or

(d) if the warranty provider is in breach of a term or condition of registration or commits an offence under this Act or the regulations.

Procedure for refusing, suspending or canceling
the registration of a warranty provider

14. If the registrar refuses to register a warranty provider, or suspends or cancels the registration of a warranty provider, the registrar must

(a) serve notice of the decision to refuse, suspend or cancel, together with written

(b) reasons therefor, on the warranty provider, and

(c) state in the notice that the warranty provider has a right of appeal to the Commercial Appeals Commission.

 

PART 6

HOME WARRANTY PROGRAM

Mandatory home warranty

15. (1) In this section "new home" means a new home, as defined in section 1;

(2) A person other than an owner builder must not build, offer for sale or sell a new home unless the home is covered by a home warranty provided by a person who is registered under this Act to provide home warranties for new homes;

(3) Nothing in this Act or its regulations

(a) affects a manufacturer's warranty on separately manufactured components supplied with or forming a part of a new home including appliance, window, carpet and furnace warranties, or

(b) prevents a person from providing a warranty that is in addition to the home warranty required by this section.

(4) A municipality or regional district, or an authorized official of a municipality or regional district, must not issue a building permit for a proposed new home unless the applicant provides evidence, in a form satisfactory to the municipality or regional district, that

(a) the proposed new home will be covered by a

(b) home warranty, or

(c) the proposed new home is not required to be covered by a home warranty.

(5) Every home warranty must provide cover for loss in relation to materials and labour for a period of not less than 2 years after the commencement date of the warranty.

(6) Every home warranty must provide cover for loss arising from water penetration for a period of not less than 5 years after the commencement date of the warranty.

(7) Every home warranty must provide cover for a loss arising from structural damage for a period of not less than 10 years after the commencement date of the warranty.

(8) For the purposes of determining the period of cover to be provided by a home warranty, the commencement date of a warranty on a new home is the date

(a) on which the new home is substantially complete, or

(b) on which the owner takes possession of the new home, or

(c) of the first strata council meeting

whichever is the later.

(9) If statutory conditions for home warranties are prescribed

(a) the statutory conditions are deemed to be part of every home warranty and must be printed in every home warranty certificate

(b) with the heading "Statutory Conditions", and

(c) subject to subsection (10), no variation or omission of or addition to a statutory condition is binding on the owner.

(10) If, in the opinion of the Registrar, any of this section or the regulations, including any statutory condition, is wholly or partly inappropriate to the requirements of a new home warranty, the Registrar may approve a form of home warranty certificate evidencing a warranty sufficient or appropriate to cover the risks required or proposed to be covered, and the warranty evidenced by the certificate in the form so approved is effective and binding according to its terms even if those terms are inconsistent with, vary, omit or add to any provision or condition of this section or the regulations.

(11) Every home warranty must provide coverage at least equal to the minimum standards set out in regulation and, if a home warranty does not, in any of its provisions, provide coverage at least equal to the prescribed minimum coverage, then the coverage provided in the relevant provisions of the warranty is deemed to be replaced by the appropriate prescribed minimum coverage.

(12) A home warranty must not contain

(a) any term which purports to waive, exclude, limit or qualify the home warranty except as may be permitted by regulation, and

(b) any exclusions from coverage except as permitted by regulation,

and any such term is of no effect.

(13) An owner must not waive or invalidate a home warranty except as may be permitted by the regulations, and any such waiver or invalidation is of no effect.

(14) Despite any express terms in a home warranty to the contrary, a home warranty continues to have effect after completion of the sale and transfer of title to the first owner any subsequent owner, except as may be permitted by the regulations.

(15) A home warranty is enforceable even if there is no privity of contract between the owner and the warranty provider.

(16) If required by the regulations, a municipality or regional district must forward to the registrar the information under subsection (4) provided by applicants for building permits.

 

PART 7

REGISTRATION OF RESIDENTIAL BUILDERS

Registration of residential builders

16. (1) A residential builder

(a) must make application to the registrar for registration under this Part, and

(b) may be issued with a certificate of registration if

(i) the registrar is satisfied that the residential builder meets the qualifications and conditions for registration required by the regulations,

(ii) the residential builder meets the level of financial solvency required by the regulations, and

(iii) the residential builder pays any required registration fee.

(2) A residential builder who is registered under this Part may use the designation "Registered Residential Builder" or the initials "RRB".

(3) No person, other than a residential builder referred to in subsection (1), may

(a) use or display the designation "Registered Residential Builder" or the initials "RRB", or

(b) imply, suggest or hold out in any manner that the person is a residential builder who is registered under this Part.

(4) A certificate of registration issued under this section

(a) must be renewed annually, and

(b) is not transferable except as allowed by the regulations.

(5) A residential builder who is required by this section to register must not be engaged in, arrange for or manage the construction of new homes unless registered.

(6) The Registrar shall compile a list of all residential builders registered under this Part.

(7) The list shall be considered as public record and shall be available to the public upon request for a reasonable charge as determined by the Registrar.

Refusal, suspension or cancellation of registration of a residential builder

17. The registrar may refuse to renew, or may suspend or cancel, the registration of a residential builder

(a) for any reason that would disqualify a

(b) residential builder to register under section 16 if the residential builder were an applicant for registration,

(c) if the residential builder has made a false statement on a material matter in an application for registration, or

(d) if the residential builder is in breach of a term or condition of registration or commits an offence under this Act or the regulations.

Procedure for refusing, suspending or canceling
the registration of a residential builder

18. If the registrar refuses to register a residential builder, or suspends or cancels the registration of a residential builder, the registrar must

(a) serve notice of the decision to refuse, suspend or cancel, together with written reasons therefor, on the residential builder, and

(b) state in the notice that the residential builder has a right of appeal to the Commercial Appeals Commission.

 

PART 7

OWNER BUILDERS

Owner builder not required to register

19. An owner builder is not required to register under this Act.

Home Warranty

20. An owner builder must qualify for a home warranty with a warranty provider for any new home to be built unless the registrar is satisfied that:

(a) there is no intention of selling the new home within the ten year period following substantial completion of the home; or

(b) there are other reasons acceptable to the registrar for exemption from this requirement.

 

PART 8

RESIDENTIAL SUBCONTRACTOR

Registration of residential subcontractors

21. (1) A residential subcontractor

(a) must make application to the registrar for registration under this Part, and

(b) may be issued with a certificate of registration if

(i) the registrar is satisfied that the residential subcontractor meets the qualifications and conditions for registration required by the regulations,

(ii) the residential subcontractor meets the level of financial solvency required by the regulations, and

(iii) the residential subcontractor pays any required registration fee.

(2) No person, other than a residential subcontractor referred to in subsection (1), may imply, suggest or hold out in any manner that the person is a residential subcontractor who is registered under this Part.

(3) A certificate of registration issued under this section

(a) must be renewed annually, and

(b) is not transferable except as allowed by the regulations.

(4) A subcontractor who is required by this section to register shall not act as a subcontractor unless registered.

(5) The Registrar shall compile a list of all residential subcontractors registered under this Part.

(6) The list shall be considered as public record and shall be available to the public upon request for a reasonable charge as determined by the Registrar.

Refusal, suspension or cancellation of registration of a residential subcontractor

22. The registrar may refuse to renew, or may suspend or cancel, the registration of a residential subcontractor

(a) for any reason that would disqualify a residential subcontractor to register under section 21 if the residential

(b) subcontractor were an applicant for registration,

(c) if the residential subcontractor has made a false statement on a material matter in an application for registration, or

(d) If the residential subcontractor is in breach of a term or condition of registration or commits an offence under this Act or the regulations.

Procedure for refusing, suspending or canceling
the registration of a residential subcontractor

23. If the registrar refuses to register a residential subcontractor, or suspends or cancels the registration of a residential subcontractor, the registrar must

(a) serve notice of the decision to refuse, suspend or cancel, together with written reasons therefor, on the residential subcontractor, and

(b) state in the notice that the residential subcontractor has a right of appeal to the Commercial Appeals Commission.

 

PART 9

REGISTRATION OF PROPERTY MANAGERS

Registration of property managers

24. (1) A property manager

(a) must make an application to the registrar for registration under this Part, and

(b) may be issued with a certificate of

(c) registration if

(i) the registrar is satisfied that the property manager meets the qualifications and conditions for registration required by the regulations,

(ii) the property manager pays any required registration fee.

(2) No person, other than a property manager referred to in subsection (1), may imply, suggest or hold out in any manner that the person is a property manager who is registered under this Part.

(3) A certificate of registration issued under this section

(a) must be renewed annually, and

(b) is not transferable except as allowed by the regulations.

(4) A property manager required to be registered under this section shall not act as a property manager unless he is registered or engaged in exempt activities as defined in the regulations.

(5) The registrar shall compile a list of all property managers registered under this Part.

(6) The list shall be considered as public record and shall be available to the public upon request for a reasonable charge as determined by the Registrar.

Refusal, suspension or cancellation of registration of a property manager

25. The registrar may refuse to renew, or may suspend or cancel, the registration of a property manager

(a) for any reason that would disqualify a property manager to registration under section 24 if the property manager were an applicant for registration,

(b) if the property manager has made a false statement on a material matter in an application for registration, or

(c) If the property manager is in breach of a term or condition of registration or commits an offence under this Act or the regulations.

Procedure for refusing, suspending or canceling the registration of a property manager

26. If the registrar refuses to register a property manager, or suspends or cancels the registration of a property manager, the registrar must

(a) serve notice of the decision to refuse, suspend or cancel, together with written reasons therefor, on the property manager, and

(b) state in the notice that the property manager has a right of appeal to the Commercial Appeals Commission.

 

PART 10

HOMEOWNER RECONSTRUCTION FUND

Establishment of fund

27. The Homeowner Reconstruction Fund is hereby established for the purpose of providing financial assistance to owners.

Appointment of Bursar

28. A Bursar shall be appointed by the Chief Executive Officer.

Administration of fund

29. The fund shall be administered by the bursar.

Characteristics of the fund

30. The fund

(a) is the property of the office,

(b) must be accounted for separately from other funds of the office, and

(c) is not subject to any process of seizure or attachment by any creditor of the office.

Payments

31. (1) The bursar may authorize payment out of the fund for any of the following purposes

(a) to administer the fund,

(b) to investigate claims against by the fund,

(c) for any other matter relating to the protection and maintenance of the fund.

(2) The bursar may make such loans or grants to owners as may be specified in the regulations.

Grants or loans to the fund

32. The fund may receive grants or loans from the Government of Canada, the British Columbia Government, any public or private corporation or any individual.

Assessments

33. (1) The minister may determine annually assessments to be levied against registered residential builders for the purpose of the fund,

(2) The minister may specify the time for payment of the assessments.

(3) Failure to pay the assessments in the amounts and at the times specified by the minister may cause the registrar to cancel the licence of a registered residential builder.

 

PART 11

RESEARCH AND EDUCATION DIVISION

Establishment of Division

34. The Chief Executive Officer shall establish a Research and Education Division.

Appointment of Director

35. The Chief Executive Officer shall appoint a Director of Research and Education.

Management of centre

36. The director shall manage the division.

Purpose of the division

37. The purpose of the division shall be

(a) to establish and maintain expertise in building science especially as it applies to British Columbia and the British Columbia Building Code,

(b) to advise on necessary and appropriate amendments to the British Columbia Building Code,

(c) to advise the City of Vancouver on necessary and appropriate amendments to the City of Vancouver Building By-laws.

(d) to provide advice and assistance to those charged with the responsibility of preparing periodic revisions of the National Building Code,

(e) to conduct research into cost effective building techniques, processes and materials appropriate for use in British Columbia,

(f) to co-operate with other organizations to establish what constitutes the best practice for building and retrofitting housing in British Columbia,

(g) to support consumer education.

Advisory council

38. (1) There is established a council to be known as the Provincial Advisory Council consisting of members appointed by the chief executive officer.

(2) The Provincial Advisory Council appointed under subsection (1) must be composed of representatives of the residential construction industry, including representatives of owners, architects, engineers and local government.

(3) The chief executive officer may designate one of the members as chair of the Provincial Advisory Council and another member as vice chair.

(4) The chief executive officer may, at any time receive an appointment made under subsection (1) or a designation made under subsection (3).

 

PART 12

DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Mediation

39. (1) The parties shall attempt to resolve all disputes arising out of or in connection with residential construction involving the owner of a property, including disputes between owners and warranty providers, by mediated negotiation with the assistance of a neutral mediator, subject to the provisions in the following paragraph,

(2) Nothing in the foregoing paragraph shall limit the right of the owner of the property to apply to a Court of competent jurisdiction for resolution of the dispute.

(3) Any party to the dispute may request that a mediator be appointed by the British Columbia Commercial Arbitration Centre.

(4) All mediations shall be conducted pursuant to the Rules for the Mediation of Residential Construction Disputes.

Arbitration

40. If the dispute cannot be settled within 30 days after the mediator has been appointed, or such other period agreed by the parties, the dispute shall be referred to and finally resolved by arbitration administered by the British Columbia International Commercial Arbitration Centre, pursuant to its Expedited Rules for the Arbitration of Residential construction Disputes.

 

PART 14

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Injunction

41. (1) On application of the chief executive officer or registrar, and on being satisfied that there is reason to believe that the Act or regulations is or will be contravened, the Supreme Court may grant an injunction restraining a person from the contravention.

(2) At any time before the court disposes of the injunction proceeding, it may grant an interim injunction.

Regulations

42. (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make the following regulations:

(a) prescribing powers and duties of the chief executive officer in addition to those set out in section 6 and the registrar in addition to those set out in section 9,

(b) prescribing categories of warranty providers, residential builders, residential subcontractors, and property managers who must register under this Act, and may provide differently for different categories of residential builders, warranty providers, residential subcontractors, and property managers;

(c) prescribing classes of new homes for the purposes of section 15 and may provide differently for different classes of new homes;

(d) exempting

(i) categories of persons from a requirement of this Act, and may provide differently for different categories of persons, or

(ii) different regions of British Columbia from the application of all or any portion of this Act and the regulations.

Minister's regulations

43. The minister may make regulations as follows:

(a) exempting a building, or portion of a building, or common property from the definition of new home in section 1;

(b) prescribing the form and content of reports required from warranty providers, residential builders, residential subcontractors, and property managers;

(c) prescribing the qualifications and conditions for registration of warranty providers, residential builders, residential subcontractors, and property managers, and may provide different qualifications and conditions for different categories of residential builders, warranty providers, residential subcontractors, and property managers;

(d) prescribing the level of financial solvency for registration required by warranty providers, residential builders, and residential subcontractors;

(e) prescribing the form and manner of making an application for registration;

(f) respecting the transfer of a certificate of registration;

(g) prescribing conditions that may be imposed on the registration of a warranty provider, residential builder, residential subcontractors, and property managers for the purposes of this Act;

(h) respecting the issuance, duration, expiration, renewal, suspension and cancellation of certificates of registration;

(i) respecting documentation that must be provided to a municipality or regional district by an applicant for a building permit;

(j) requiring municipalities and regional districts to collect fees and assessments from applicants for building permits and forward the funds to the office;

(k) requiring municipalities and regional districts to forward to the registrar information provided by applicants for building permits;

(l) requiring that owners of homes which are not required by section 20 to have home warranties provide, during the period that the home warranty would be in force were it required, a disclosure notice or alternate security, or both, on the resale of the home, and may specify the form and content of a disclosure notice and the terms, conditions, kind and amount of security.

(m) defining the conditions under which property managers are exempt from regulation.

(n) prescribing the manner in which complaints by owners against warranty providers, residential builders, residential subcontractors, and property managers, shall be administered;

(o) prescribing the manner by which complaints by owners against warranty providers, residential builders, residential subcontractors, and property managers may be made public;

(p) defining, for the purpose of this Act or the regulations, any word or expression not defined in this Act.

(q) defining which owners shall be entitled to financial assistance from the fund,

(r) specifying the amounts of financial assistance to be provided

(s) determining whether the financial assistance shall be in the form of grants, loans or a combination of grants and loans,

(t) specifying the procedure to be followed by owners seeking financial assistance from the fund,

(u) specifying the terms and conditions upon which owners may receive financial assistance,

(v) such other matters, as in the opinion of the Minister, will assist in the operation of the fund.

(w) providing that the contravention of a regulation made under this section is an offence;

Offence and penalty

44. (1) Every person who

(a) knowingly furnishes false information in any application under this Act or in any statement or return required to be furnished under this Act or the regulations, or

(b) contravenes any requirements of this Act or the regulations

commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or to both.

(2) If a corporation commits an offence under subsection (1), every director, officer or other person who authorized, permitted or acquiesced in the offence commits the offence personally and is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or to both.

(3) Despite subsection (1), if a corporation is convicted of an offence under subsection (1), the maximum penalty that may be imposed on the corporation is $100,000.

(4) Section 5 of the Offence Act does not apply to this Act.

Compensation to consumer

45. (1) In addition to a penalty imposed under section 44, a court that convicts a defendant of an offence under this Act may at the time of the penalty is imposed order the defendant to pay to the owner as compensation for pecuniary loss suffered by the owner as a result of the commission of the offence an amount not greater than the monetary jurisdiction specified in the Small Claims Act.

(2) An application for an order under subsection (1) may be made by an owner or by the Crown prosecutor on the request and on behalf of the owner unless the owner has commenced a civil action against the defendant in respect of the same transaction.

(3) If the defendant does not comply with an order made under subsection (1) within 30 days or within the time ordered by the court, whichever is later, the owner may, by filing the order with the registrar of the Provincial Court hearing matters under the Small Claims Act in or near the place where the conviction was entered, enter judgment in that court.

(4) A judgment entered into the Provincial Court under subsection (3) is enforceable against the defendant in the same manner as if it were a judgment rendered in that court in civil proceedings.

Transitional

46. The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable for meeting or removing any difficulty arising out of the coming into force of this Act or any provision of it, and for preserving and giving effect to the rights of persons arising prior to the coming into force of this Act or any provision of it, and the regulations may be made to apply generally or to a particular case or class of cases.

 

Consequential Amendments

 

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

47. Schedule 3 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 165, is amended by adding the following:

Homeowner Protection Office

Commencement

48. This Act comes into force by regulation or the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

 

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