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Alberta protects homeowners through sting operation

Seven contractors face charges under Alberta’s consumer protection law following undercover investigations in Calgary and Edmonton. 

The individuals were caught in a proactive sting operation as part of the government’s plan to protect Alberta homeowners. Investigators from the consumer programs branch of Service Alberta posed as homeowners and invited contractors to houses in the two cities to negotiate home renovations. 

“Contractors who try to take advantage of honest, hard-working Albertans should be forewarned that this government has strict consumer protection rules and we will enforce them to the full extent of the law.”

- Manmeet S. Bhullar, Minister of Service Alberta

Between August 19 and September 5, 24 contractors – 13 in Edmonton and 11 in Calgary - visited the homes. To date, seven contractors have been charged with 11 counts under the Fair Trading Act. Other enforcement actions, including administrative monetary penalties, may be pending against some of the remaining contractors.

This is a result of the strong and proactive enforcement actions taken by the government this year that has put new administrative penalties in place, raised the maximum court fine, and door-to-door contact in flood-affected communities to ensure homeowners were aware of their rights when hiring contractors.

Unlicensed prepaid contractors expose Alberta consumers to unnecessary risk because they have not posted a security and their contracts may not meet legal requirements.

Requirements for Prepaid Contractors

Under Alberta’s consumer protection law, contractors who look for work, discuss or finalize contracts away from a regular place of business, and take payment before work is completed are required to obtain a prepaid contracting licence. Prepaid contractors must post security and use a written contract that includes an itemized price list, start and completion dates, and a statement of consumers’ cancellation rights.

Under the Building Alberta Plan, our government is investing in families and communities, living within our means, and opening new markets for Alberta's resources to ensure we're able to fund the services Albertans told us matter most to them. We will continue to deliver the responsible change Albertans voted for.

Related information

Search online to see if a prepaid contractor is licensed.

Tips for hiring a home renovator (pdf).

Backgrounder

Contractors charged in sting operation

The following contractors were charged as a result of the sting operation:

Edmonton

  • Kevin Wiebe
    • operating without a prepaid contractor licence.
  • Abel Ramirez Cruz
    • operating without a prepaid contractor licence;
    • using a contract that does not comply with legislated requirements; and,
    • misrepresenting a qualification, approval, status or affiliation.
  • Dale Haggerty
    • operating without a prepaid contractor licence; and,
    • using a contract that does not comply with legislated requirements.
  • Khaled Saleh, Skyland Landscaping Ltd.
    • operating without a prepaid contractor licence; and,
    • using a contract that does not comply with legislated requirements.

Calgary

  • Martin Wojcik
    • operating without a prepaid contractor licence.
  • Buildmaster Services Ltd.
    • operating without a prepaid contractor licence.
  • Mario Antonacci (a.k.a. Andreas Pirelli)
    • operating without a prepaid contractor licence.

Penalties under the Fair Trading Act include a maximum fine of $300,000 or three times the amount obtained in the offence (whichever is greater), and up to two years in jail.


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