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Advocacy campaign wins second prestigious award

July-August 2016

Advocacy campaign wins second prestigious award

CPRS AwardThe Ontario Real Estate Association has won a national award from the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) for its advocacy campaign to stop the spread of the municipal land transfer tax beyond Toronto.

The campaign, “Say No to Another Home Owner Tax: Don’t Tax My Dream”, won a bronze award in the Canadian government relations campaign of the year category at the awards gala of CPRS and Global Alliance (GA) on May 31. This is the second award won by OREA for this campaign. A month earlier, the association won a gold award from the Toronto chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society.

The recent award recognizes campaigns that change public opinion or influence government policy using public affairs. The event, which celebrates the best of Canadian and international communications, was part of the World Public Relations Forum, held at Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle.

“We’re delighted to win this award and even more thrilled with the success of the campaign,” said Ray Ferris, president of OREA. “Our efforts really raised the profile of this issue and, in stopping the tax from spreading, helped protect the future and affordability of home ownership in Ontario. It has made a huge difference to home owners and REALTORS® right across the province.”

The goal of the campaign was to convince the provincial government to stop the spread of the municipal land transfer tax (MLTT) to cities beyond Toronto and to raise awareness about the implications of another tax. The provincial government had indicated that it would consider giving all Ontario municipalities the authority to levy the tax, which adds thousands of dollars to the cost of home buying.

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The campaign sparked what was perhaps the biggest government relations success in OREA’s history. A consumer website, video, news media blitz, radio ads, social media, grassroots advocacy and a call to action were all part of the campaign. These initiatives dramatically increased awareness of the MLTT in the public eye.

All of these efforts culminated in December 2015, when the provincial government announced that it would not expand the MLTT beyond Toronto, which is great news for Ontario home buyers. OREA volunteers and staff worked with Counsel Public Affairs Inc. and Ryan Edwards Communications on the campaign.

“It’s an honour to win this prestigious national award,” Ferris said. “This award-winning campaign highlights the strength of the REALTOR® voice at Queen’s Park in stopping the spread of the MLTT. It’s also great news for Ontario home owners and those who dream of owning a home one day.” 

“I want to recognize and applaud the efforts of OREA volunteers and staff for all of the time and effort they’ve put into this campaign,” he said. “The response to this campaign has been tremendous.”

For more details on the advocacy campaign, visit or Government Relations on the OREA website.

PHOTO CAPTION: Accepting a national CPRS award in the Government Relations Campaign of the Year category are, left to right: OREA Past President Patricia Verge, President Ray Ferris, OREA Director Valerie Miles, and President-Elect Ettore Cardarelli. Photo courtesy of Canadian Press and CPRS National. 

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Ray Ferris

I wouldn’t have become president of OREA if it wasn’t for the top-notch training developed by OREA’s Centre for Leadership Development.

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