REALTORS® applaud passage of electronic signature amendment

Amendment part of 2013 Ontario Budget

TORONTO, June 12, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) applauds the passage of the 2013 provincial budget that contains provisions which will bring electronic real estate agreements of purchase and sale one step closer to reality in Ontario.

The budget bill includes an important amendment to the Electronic Commerce Act (ECA), 2000, extending the legal protections of the ECA to include electronic real estate agreements of purchase and sale. Currently, Ontario REALTORS® are reluctant to use electronic agreements due to their exclusion from the Act.

"This amendment means that REALTORS® and consumers will soon have the confidence to use technology that improves the speed, efficiency and reliability of real estate transactions," said Phil Dorner, a Windsor area REALTOR® and president of OREA.

"This is great news for REALTORS® as well as consumers across the province."

Electronic agreements of purchase and sale improve transaction efficiency by reducing the time required to complete a deal.

"At present, agreements of purchase and sale are often faxed, scanned and emailed numerous times over the course of a transaction," said Dorner.  "This process can be cumbersome and by the time the final version is signed, the agreement can be difficult to read. The technology allows agreements to be filled out on a computer or tablet, changes can be tracked and documents can be transmitted with ease."

It is important to note that the government has included a section along with OREA's proposed amendment that says it will come into force upon proclamation. This section is meant to allow the government time to speak with various stakeholders, including OREA, about certain matters pertaining to the amendment, such as security measures, in anticipation of the amendment coming into force.

"We look forward to working with the government to get this important change proclaimed into law," said Dorner. "Electronic agreements of purchase and sale are commonly used in jurisdictions across the United States and it's about time Ontarians have access to them."

Inspiration for the amendment comes from a private member's bill introduced jointly by Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith and Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi (now Minister of Labour) in May 2012.

"OREA would like to thank Minister Naqvi, MPP Smith and Attorney General John Gerretsen for championing this issue on behalf of REALTORS® and consumers. OREA would also like to thank Minister Sousa and Premier Wynne for including this important amendment in the 2013 Ontario Budget."

About the Ontario Real Estate Association: The Ontario Real Estate Association represents over 56,000 brokers and salespeople who are members of the 41 real estate boards throughout the province. OREA serves its REALTOR® members through a wide variety of professional publications, educational programs, advocacy, and other services. www.OREA.com

SOURCE: Ontario Real Estate Association

For further information:

Matthew Thornton
Assistant Director, Government Relations
416-385-6624
mthornton@orea.com

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