CAHPI – OAHI Concerns

Inspector concerns

We have had a few inquires recently about what’s likely to happen when regulation is enforced in Ontario.  Most of these inquiries have come from Inspectors who hold the RHI (Registered Home Inspection) certification.  The major concern has been around what Certifications are likely to be transferred-in as part of the regulation process.

Further concerns seem to be raised about the R.H.I. itself, given the recent open letters between the Presidents of CAHPI and OAHI, this is understandable.

From what we’ve been able to piece together from these documents, a chain of events occurred, starting with the decision of CAHPI-BC to leave CAHPI National, and culminating with a decision by the CAHPI-National board of Directors on May 4th, 2017, to restructure CAHPI-National, from an association of associations, to an association of individual members who will be managed centrally from CAHPI National.

The outcome of the public to-and-for is that both CAHPI-National and OAHI lay claim to the R.H.I. designation, leaving OAHI members in an apparent quandary.

An independent view of the R.H.I.

We believe an accurate position for these members are as follows:

CAHPI National do indeed hold the title to R.H.I. and Registered Home Inspector across Canada by virtue of them owning the copyrights to the trade mark.   In Ontario however, the R.H.I. certification and title Registered Home Inspector is a reserved term under the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors Act.

This act is going to be repealed under the Ontario Home Inspection Act, 2017, but will not be done so until the proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor, which of course has not yet happened.  Under this act, anyone who on the membership register is entitled, in law, to call themselves a Registered home Inspector and use the R.H.I. designation, irrespective of their qualifications.

Until that time, anyone with an OAHI awarded R.H.I., who remains a member of OAHI and practices in Ontario can continue to use the term.  Outside of Ontario, an inspector would need to be a direct member of CAHPI National.  When the Home Inspection Act, 2017 comes into force by proclamation, the reserved title of R.H.I. and Registered Home Inspector revert back to the national copyright holder, CAHPI-National, and members of OAHI, unless they are also members of CAHPI-National will no longer be able to use these terms.

In addition to this, CAHPI-National are now thinking of creating yet another certification, and it appears they will be basing the certification on the National Home Inspector Exam (the NHIE) which in itself is  confusing term as it comes very close to the National Home Inspector (NHI) certification, awarded by the National Home Inspector Certification Council (NHICC).   The difference between these two acronyms, is the NHIE is an exam, delivered out of the U.S. and the NHI is a program run out of Ontario for all Canadian Home Inspectors.

Rather than CAHPI-National simplifying things for the public, it is our view that they have caused even more confusion.  Many OAHI and NHICC certified Inspectors that we’ve spoken to believe, rightly or wrongly, that this is a deliberate attempt to muddy the waters in an attempt to leverage members and provide funds for continued existence of CAHPI.

A single Certification which offers full compliance with the government recommendations.

For inspectors in Ontario, we have offered a solution.   Practicing inspectors with the R.H.I. or NHI designations have an opportunity to fast track into the Canadian-Certified Home Inspector Program.  This fast-track has been available for nearly 2 years now, but it appears it is even more valuable now than ever.  The OntarioACHI CCHI program is the ONLY program that aligns 100% with the recommendations for regulation of the Home Inspection program, and has been since day one. 

While we are grateful for all of the efforts that the OAHI and CAHPI have put into the Home Inspection profession, it is our view that what appears to be infighting between the two, in a very public manner, does nothing for the profession, or the professionals within it.

We feel there is a need for a National organisation, to deal with National, Territorial and International concerns, but that the needs of the local provinces should be supported by local provincial associations.  We do not feel that CAHPI-National has either the infrastructure nor the support to operate as a national inspector association, offering no more than the NHICC or PHPIC does already, and indeed these latest restructuring changes appear to be, in our opinion, watering down the focus they should be having with respect to supporting the Inspectors across Canada.  This was backed up by what appears to be an arbitrary decision to drop the long standing CAHPI Standards of Practice in favour of the seriously flawed CSA-A770 standard.

We also feel for our colleagues in OAHI who have spent much time and effort in getting recognised as a Registered Home Inspector, only to be left in a catch-22 situation.  They can either continue to remain with OAHI, using the standard of practice they are used to and lose the right to the R.H.I. when regulation is enforced in Ontario, or choose to maintain their R.H.I. status by joining CAHPI directly and having to operate to CSA-A770, which may not be adopted by the Ontario Government because of what we perceive as the flaws and loopholes that expose inspectors to unnecessary litigation.

No give-away

This transfer-in is not a shoe-in however.  There is still a requirement for all inspectors, no matter what their designations, to meet the strict requirements of the CCHI.  This is how we ensure it is recognised as a certification to identify Professional Inspectors.  In order to maintain the CCHI you will need to re-certify every two years, maintain E&O Insurance and maintain a clean police background.  

You will need to continue both your professional education and professional development. We see these as two distinct items, the first keeps you up to date with technical skills and the second helps you improve your business acumen.   At OntarioACHI we not only want to be able to show you off as highly skilled inspectors, but we want to ensure you are suitably equipped to run your business for as long as you want.

A professional standard, by the profession, for the profession

In addition, we will be migrating our Standard of Practice to the Canadian Uniform Standard of Professional Home Inspection Practice (CUSPHIP), which is undergoing draft review by your Association as well as the NHICC and has been passed to the government regulators for their review.  We believe this standard, which will be owned and updated by the Home Inspection profession, will be a careful balance to protect both the Consumer and the Home Inspection professional.  The standard is similar in design to the recognised Uniform Standard for the Professional Appraisal Practice, which has been adopted by government legislators and both the banking and legal professions across North America.  Incorporating some of the best parts of the existing standards, including the CSA-A770 and removing any vagueness that could lead to confusion and unnecessary litigation it will remain a living document, which will be augmented as time passes to these ends.

You can view the standard at the Canadian Home Inspector Alliance Page here.