OREA’s 2012 pre-budget submission focused on four recommendations that will improve real estate industry and contribute to Ontario’s economic growth.
OREA urged the Government of Ontario to balance its budget by 2017-18, lift the restriction on electronic signatures for real estate transactions , allow personal real estate corporations and create a mandatory registry for former marijuana grow operation properties.
OREA is concerned about the present economic state of the Province of Ontario. For 2010-11 fiscal year, the province ran a deficit of $14.0 billion. The size of the provincial deficit is projected to reach $16 billion in 2011-12.
When governments borrow heavily on financial markets they drive up interest rates leading to higher mortgage rates and slower economic growth as more and more tax dollars are devoted to servicing the debt. Therefore, Ontario REALTORS® are urging the government to commit to eliminating provincial
debt within the next five years.
In its second recommendation, OREA advised the government to amend the Electronic Commerce Act, 2001 (ECA), which currently prevents REALTORS® from taking
advantage of the benefits of electronic signatures in real property transactions. Modernizing the act is a long overdue reform in today’s technologically advanced society. Specifically,it will enable real estate professionals to assist the public more efficiently.
OREA continues to lobby the province to permit real estate salespeople to form personal real estate incorporations. In other Canadian jurisdictions, such as British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Saskatchewan, real estate professionals are already allowed to incorporate, just like most of the regulated professions in Ontario.
The cost of this change will be minimal. The KPMG research study predicted that if, for example, the gross income of the corporation is $200,000 and 3% of licensed sales agents incorporate, the total tax deferral to Ontario over 10 years would be $102,844,316, and the total tax revenue loss would be $1,350,894. Moreover, permitting personal real estate corporations would not affect consumer protection, as real estate salespeople who form personal corporations will continue to be subject to all obligations under Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA), 2002.
Finally, in its pre-budget submission, OREA stressed the importance of creating a registry of former marijuana grow operation (MGO) properties. At present, there is no mechanism in place to allow REALTORS®, lawyers and other professionals to find out if a property has been designated by a law enforcement authority as marijuana grow operation or clandestine laboratory. It is well-known that properties that were formerly used to manufacture illegal substances can pose a number of health and safety risks to home buyers. Therefore, OREA supports the creation of a MGO registry using the Land Title System, which will mitigate risks to consumers by ensuring that properties used as former MGOs or drug laboratories are disclosed prior to completion of the real estate transaction.
To learn more about OREA’s budget recommendations visit the government relations section of our website.