The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) applauds the Ontario government for amending the Electronic Commerce Act (ECA), 2000 as part of the 2013 Ontario Budget. The amendment will delete an exemption of electronic agreements of purchase and sale from the Act and grant the agreements legal protection. Currently, Ontario REALTORS® are reluctant to use electronic agreements of purchase and sale because they are exempt from the legal protections of the ECA.
“This is great news for REALTORS® as well as consumers across the province,” said Phil Dorner, OREA President. “If passed, the amendment means that REALTORS® and consumers will have the confidence to use efficient and accessible modern day technology during one of the most important parts of a real estate transaction.”
Inspiration for the amendment comes from the 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. The bill later died on the order paper as a result of the October prorogation, but was reintroduced earlier this spring by Mr. Smith and passed second reading with overwhelming support of all three parties.
“OREA would like to thank Minister Sousa and Premier Wynne for including this important amendment in the 2013 Ontario Budget,” said Mr. Dorner. “OREA would also like to thank Mr. Smith. He first championed this issue on behalf of REALTORS® and consumers.”
Electronic agreements of purchase and sale will improve transaction efficiency by reducing the time required to complete a deal. REALTORS® and consumers will no longer need to fax, scan or email documents back and forth.
“Agreements of purchase and sale can be amended, initialled, faxed, scanned and emailed numerous times over a transaction and often, by the time, the final version is created, the agreements can be difficult to read,” said Mr. Dorner. “Electronic handling of the agreement where consumers amend and sign using their computers or tablets will eliminate this cumbersome process.”