On June 11, the Government of Ontario passed the 2013 provincial budget. Included in the budget is OREA’s proposal to amend the Electronic Commerce Act (ECA), 2000. Once proclaimed, this amendment will give REALTORS® and consumers the confidence to use modern technology that will make transactions more efficient and accessible. Follow the link for OREA’s press release.
Getting the amendment into the budget is a significant accomplishment for OREA and REALTORS®. Every year dozens of organizations lobby the government during pre-budget consultations. This year OREA was one of a very select group of organizations who were successful in their efforts. OREA’s success on electronic signatures speaks to the strong advocacy campaign the association has coordinated over the past year with the help of hard working volunteers from the real estate boards across Ontario.
Of note, the government has included a section along with the amendment that says it will come into force upon proclamation. As a result, electronic agreements of purchase and sale will not benefit from the legal protections of the ECA just yet. This section is meant to give the government time to talk with various stakeholders, including OREA, about any security measures that might be useful to put in place in anticipation of its coming into force.
OREA staff will be working with the government in the coming months to get this important amendment proclaimed into law.
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 thanks 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.
After passing the budget the legislature adjourned for the summer until September 9.