The Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) has posted a new bulletin on the use of electronic signatures during a real estate transaction.
The bulletin provides an overview of how the Electronic Commerce Act (ECA), 2000 governs the types of electronic documents a registrant may encounter during a transaction.
Specifically, the bulletin notes:
Registrants who do wish to take advantage of the provisions of the ECA must ensure compliance with the procedures and mechanics as outlined in the legislation (i.e., what types of agreements it applies to, ensuring the electronic documents are unalterable and stored adequately, etc.).
Ultimately it will be the courts that determine the applicability or exclusion of APS and like agreements under the provisions of the ECA. Until such time as sufficient legal precedence has been established, registrants are advised to act prudently and seek legal advice.
OREA is currently working with the Ontario Attorney General to amend the ECA to delete the existing exception of the real property transactions from the application of the Act. This would allow real estate registrants to use electronic forms for the purchase and sale of real property in Ontario.