Ontario Allows Real Estate Documents to Be Signed Electronically
Province Makes It Easier to Buy or Sell a Home
Ontario is making the process of buying or selling a home easier by allowing real estate documents to be signed electronically.
Effective July 1, 2015, changes to the Electronic Commerce Act will make electronic signatures legally equivalent to signatures on paper documents for real estate transactions. Under current rules, when a home or property is sold, dozens of hard copy documents such as offers and agreements of sale, must be signed by hand.
Allowing these transactions to be signed electronically will also make it easier to send documents electronically and save time for anyone buying or selling property, especially when the two parties are separated by distance.
Providing more convenient options for consumers is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic and innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- Similar laws that allow electronic signatures in real estate deals are in place in five other provinces: Quebec, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island.
- Real estate professionals and their clients will still have the choice to use paper documents for transactions.
- In 2014, there were 205,720 real estate transactions in Ontario.
“For anyone buying or selling a home, signing and delivering documents can be a complex and time-consuming process. Modernizing real estate transactions will save Ontario families a lot of time and stress.”
“Homeowners, consumers, and local businesses in Ottawa and right across Ontario will benefit from the progress we are making today. I have been championing the modernization of real estate transactions since 2012 and I am pleased to see my private member's bill reflected in this new legislation. I know this update will create faster, more convenient ways to produce, manage and transmit legal documentation involved in a home or business purchase.”
“The agreement of purchase and sale is one of the most important documents in a real estate transaction. The ability to sign it electronically will make the process of buying or selling more efficient. This is great news for realtors as well as consumers across the province.”