Law firm: Hold your e-horses, Realtors

Norton Rose Canada LLP says proposed amendments to the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000 (Act) are consistent with modern real estate practice, but without detailed requirements to ensure “reliability of signatures," they would lead to a hodge-podge of whatever systems Realtors now use.

“Without appropriate policies and procedures being implemented, there is some risk that e-signatures will be held invalid for insufficient reliability,” writes the firm in a response to a private member's bill now before the Ontario legislature.

The proposed amendment reflects one of four requests from OREA to the provincial government, with others including the creation of a mandatory registry for former marijuana grow-op properties and the greenlight for personal real estate corporations.

OREA says the change would enable real estate professionals to assist the public more efficiently, and would be a “long overdue” modernizing act.

“In response to introduction of the bill, OREA has indicated that Realtors and their clients would access agreements of purchase and sale through a central portal,” Norton Rose writes. “No details have yet been provided by the OREA as to the requirements for acquisition and processing of electronic signatures and documents within this system, nor of the applicable security standards or access and privacy policies.”

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