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Advocacy campaign wins prestigious award

June 2016

Advocacy campaign wins prestigious award

PR Award An advocacy campaign organized by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) to stop the spread of the municipal land transfer tax beyond Toronto has won a prestigious public relations award.

The campaign, "Say No to Another Home Owner Tax: Don't Tax My Dream" has won a gold ACE Award from the Toronto chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society. The ACE (Achieving Communications Excellence) Awards have been celebrating Toronto's talented and innovative public relations community for more than 20 years.

The award was announced May 4 at an industry ceremony and gala awards dinner at the Arcadian Court, located in the Hudson Bay Company's flagship Toronto location on Queen Street. The campaign was recognized with a gold award and was named the Government Relations/Public Affairs Campaign of the Year.

The goal of the campaign was to convince the provincial government not to allow the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) to be levied by cities beyond Toronto and to raise awareness of the implications of another tax. The provincial government had been indicating 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 success of a government relations initiative in OREA's history. The campaign featured a consumer website and video, a news media blitz, radio ads, social media, grassroots advocacy and a call to action. All of these efforts dramatically increased awareness of the MLTT in the public eye.

The mass advocacy campaign was launched over the past year. All of the efforts culminated in December 2015, when the provincial government announced publicly that it would not permit the expansion of the MLTT beyond Toronto, which was great news for home buyers across the province and a distinct victory for the lobbying and advocacy efforts of OREA. Staff at OREA worked with the government relations and public relations agency of Counsel Public Affairs Inc. and the marketing agency of Ryan Edwards Communications on the campaign.

"This award belongs to Ontario home buyers, who will keep over one billion dollars in their pockets annually as a result of the campaign," says Ray Ferris, OREA president.  "And this award wouldn't have been possible without the hard work, dedication and commitment of OREA staff and the agencies who assembled and executed the Don't Tax My Dream campaign on a very aggressive schedule. The honour and privilege of accepting this award was complemented even further when attendees at the dinner approach me and thanked us for saving them thousands of dollars on their next home purchase."

For more information on the ACE Awards or the Toronto chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society, visit the Canadian Public Relations Society and click on "Awards". For more details on the advocacy campaign, visit OREA's Government Relations section or www.DontTaxMyDream.ca.

Story by Mary Ann Gratton

Pictured above: Award winning campaign: Pictured with a gold award for the "Say No to Another Home Owner Tax: Don't Tax My Dream" campaign are (left to right): OREA director Valerie Miles; President Ray Ferris; Past President Patricia Verge; and President-Elect Ettore Cardarelli. Photo courtesy of CPRS Toronto and Canadian Press Images.

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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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