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June 22, 2018

Ipsos Survey – Toronto is the worst city in Canada for renovations with a contractor

According to a Reno-Assistance survey conducted by Ipsos across CanadaToronto is the city where people encounter the most problems with renovation contractors in comparison to MontrealVancouverCalgary and national data.

Key survey findings indicate the following:

  • Toronto is where it is most difficult to find a trustworthy renovation contractor in Canada: 78% find it difficult and 25% find it very difficult.
  • Toronto is the city where homeowners have a higher probability of encountering more than one major problem with a contractor on a single project, such as stolen deposits, poor finishing, sloppy work needing to be redone or theft of belongings.
  • Toronto is the Canadian city where people are most likely to have their deposits stolen (9% of our sample).
  • Toronto is the city where people are most likely to get unforeseen extras billed to them (27%).Toronto is the place where people are most likely to wait for a contractor who doesn’t show up without advanced notification (14%).
  • Toronto is the city where people are most likely to need work redone due to sloppiness (22%).

Overall, 63% of Torontonians experienced problems on their most recent project with a contractor. That number jumps to 79% for projects greater than $20,000 carried out in the last 3 years, meaning that if one begins such a project, there’s a 3 in 4 chance they’ll face a potentially damaging financial issue.  

All these problems arise despite honesty being the leading selection criteria when choosing a renovation contractor. People surveyed said that out of a selection of important purchases, renovations would be the one they spend the most time thinking about before committing to.

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Despite Torontonians making more verifications than the rest of the country on their contractors, the fact remains that too few make the necessary verifications. More than two-thirds of respondents do not verify that the company they are working with legally exists, has proper insurance, a valid licence, a clean legal history, no criminal record, and so on.

More than 4 in 5 people do not make any verification whatsoever regarding the financial health of their contractor before entrusting them with projects sometimes worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Confidence levels are low all-around

When we pore over the aforementioned data, it comes as no surprise that confidence levels towards renovation contractors are low, but the same can also be said about other renovation/building professionals. While the lowest trust we found in our survey was toward stonemasons (at 27%), interior designers, roofers and general contractors came in with trust levels of 31%, 32% and 33%, respectively. Architects did not fare much better at 38%.

Reno-Assistance to the rescue

Reno-Assistance was founded by Eric Perigny following a string of dreadful renovation experiences over the course of which he lost thousands of dollars and countless hours dealing with bad contractors. Wanting to help people avoid such nightmarish events, he created Reno-Assistance in 2010. Since then, the company has assisted over 64,000 homeowners and business owners on their renovation projects.


These are some of the key findings of an Ipsos survey conducted on behalf of Reno-Assistance between May 18th and June 6th, 2018. For this survey, a sample of 1,742 Canadian homeowners were interviewed online. Weighting was then applied to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflected that of the adult population (according to Census data). The accuracy of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the survey is accurate within +/- 2.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20,. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage and measurement errors.

About Reno-Assistance

Reno-Assistance offers turnkey solutions to help homeowners carry out successful renovations with the best contractors. After their initial call, clients are assigned an experienced renovation advisor who assists them throughout their renovation project. They provide advice and information, help clients avoid common mistakes, handpick up to three of the best suited 360° verified contractors for the specific project, coordinate appointments, and send a verification report containing a Contractor Confidence Index, legal background check, financial status, past customer survey results and additional information for each contractor. Finally, they help clients understand quotes so they can make a sound decision. There’s no fee or charge to receive up to 3 quotes from verified contractors and to be assisted by a renovation advisor. Reno-Assistance began verifying contractors in Ontario in early 2017 and is now offering its services in the Greater Toronto Area.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry. With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management. Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.