When you renovate your home, renovate ethically
By DAVE WILKESBILD President & CEO
I am a proud Torontonian who is fiercely connected to my neighbourhood. I’ve lived in this great region my entire life and for the past 25 years raised my family in the city’s east end.
We’ve made more than one renovation to our house that added value and made it our home. Like many Torontonians, my neighbourhood is a part of my identity.
In the Greater Toronto Area, we celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of our neighbourhoods. They are what make our region great. We value them and recognize the importance of creating livable communities through their development and revitalization.
Increasingly, GTA homeowners are choosing to stay in their neighbourhoods because, like me, they love them. They are renovating rather than selling and creating the home they want in the area they want to live.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the value of using a RenoMarkrenovator. There are more than 200 RenoMark renovators in the GTA. All of them agree to abide by the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) Code of Ethics and a renovation specific RenoMark Code of Conduct. They understand the value of customer service, provide warranties and continually educate themselves on trends, materials and new regulations.
Unfortunately, the introduction of the HST in 2010 accelerated the growth of an underground economy in the renovation industry. A report released by the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) last November, shows the amount of residential renovation spending through contractors that leaked underground fluctuated between 38 and 40 per cent between 2010 and 2016.
The underground “cash” economy in home renovation and repair poses significant risks, including worker safety liability risks for the homeowner if workers are not covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, no warranties, unfair competition with reputable contractors and loss of tax revenues.
The report suggested that provincial and federal governments lost $16 billion in potential tax revenues through residential renovations undertaken by illicit contractors in Ontario during the same period.
The OHBA has recommended the Ontario government consider introducing a tax rebate that would be an incentive to homeowners to document and report their contractor renovation projects, as well as a home renovation tax credit for energy-efficient upgrades.
BILD has written its own renovation Service Standard of Excellence that was presented to the City of Toronto. It would speed up approvals and make Toronto City Hall more efficient. This would ease consumer frustrations and steer them away from using the underground economy.