Starting in 2018 any company that wants to build a home in Alberta will need to have a license.
The Provincial Government has introduced legislation that would require would be home contractors to register with the government, be cleared by them and purchase a license before they can operate in Alberta.
"I'll bet if you go out on the street right now and you ask regular folks, most would assume that their builders are licensed because you have tradesmen that are ticketed and licensed and you go through the permiting process, so I would bet a lot of people didn't realize that either," said Municipal Affairs Minister Shea Anderson.
The problem arose after the 2011 wildfire that destroyed part of Slave Lake, north of Edmonton. The province heard complaints that buildings were not completed or completed poorly and that residents were dealing with 'fly-by-night' builders who were difficult to work with.
"There's a ton of really, really good builders out there, there is, but you get the odd fly by night that comes in with a numbered company and is there for the wrong reasons," he noted. "That's few and far between but we don't want any of that happening when somebody is making the biggest purchase of their life."
Anderson claims to have the support of the Alberta chapter of the Canadian Home Builders Association so long as the licensing law is fair and equitable for everyone.
If the bill is approved, he expects the first provisional licenses to be issued in November, 2017 although the program won't be fully off the ground until spring of 2018.
"Builders will send in their information, whether it be their work history, their financials," Anderson outlined. "We will have lots of time to go though it, so one we get into the spring we'll have everything in place, we will have worked through any kinks or bugs, hopefully, and we'll have a smooth transition to license everybody."
Similar licenses for home builders already exist in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.