The political affairs conference held recently in Toronto was a great success, with the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) drawing REALTORS® from across the province to learn more about efforts to help you do business better.
Held in late November, the political affairs conference (PAC) attracted about 200 members, who heard first-hand about OREA’s advocacy efforts and victories in 2016 on a number of fronts. Advocacy is a key service that the association provides to you, serving as your voice at Queen’s Park on issues that matter to you. The association strives to create a legislative and regulatory environment favourable to REALTORS® and real estate.
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The event was hosted by OREA President Ray Ferris (pictured above), a REALTOR® from Port Rowan, Ontario, and Government Relations Committee Chair Valerie Miles of Bancroft, and featuring OREA’s new Chief Executive Officer, Tim Hudak, who served for 21 years at Queen’s Park before joining the association recently. The PAC event focused on a variety of issues and highlighted OREA’s successes on various issues:
“We’re pleased to showcase the difference that REALTORS® can make in affecting public policy and government decisions,” said Ferris. “It’s important for our members to understand the value that OREA brings to them in ways that really matter, and PAC is an opportunity to illustrate that – we make it easier for them to do business on a day-to-day basis across the province.”
The event celebrated various government relations successes for OREA:
- New legislation has been proposed to regulate the home inspection industry. This is a big victory for OREA’s advocacy efforts and, if passed, the new laws will help protect consumers against unscrupulous or unqualified home inspectors. OREA has been working for years to address this issue and served on an advisory panel to the government.
- First-time home buyers will get a financial break on the purchase of their new property, according to a recent government announcement, and due to OREA’s lobbying efforts. The province announced it will double the land transfer tax rebate for first time buyers from $2,000 to $4,000. This tax break will help more young families achieve their dream of home ownership and is the result of OREA’s efforts to reduce closing costs to help people buy their first home
- The provincial government has recently confirmed that it would not allow a Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) to be levied in cities or towns beyond Toronto. This is more evidence of what was perhaps the most successful government relations initiative in the OREA’s history. The Don’t Tax My Dream campaign called on the government to protect affordable home ownership with a mass advocacy campaign including a media relations blitz, radio ads, grassroots advocacy and a consumer website and video. For more details, visit www.Don’tTaxMyDream.ca.
“We’re pleased to showcase the difference that REALTORS® can make"
Many ongoing political issues were discussed at PAC, and OREA representatives vowed to continue to lobby the government on a number of fronts, including a call to oppose mandatory home energy audits and to continue to advocate for personal real estate corporations. Plans were also announced for upcoming government relations initiatives. Keep watching for details on the OREA website, The REALTOR® EDGE newsletter and social media venues.
Exciting sessions and speakers were among the highlights of the conference. The event offers REALTORS® an opportunity to meet with their local Members of Provincial Parliament (MPP) at Queen’s Park to discuss issues and present the REALTOR® point of view on various political issues.
As well, PAC features a number of prominent guests, including political representatives from all three parties at Queen’s Park. From the governing Liberals, Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, addressed the delegates. Conference participants also heard from Patrick Brown, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, and Catherine Fife of the New Democratic Party, MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo.
A panel discussion on the B.C. foreign home buyer tax featured Jason Mercer of the Toronto Real Estate Board, Joe Vaccaro of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, and Scott Russell of the British Columbia Real Estate Association. Representatives from the Real Estate Council of Ontario, the industry regulator, provided an update to the audience, including CEO Kate Murray, Registrar Joe Richer and RECO Chair Mike Cusano.
Politics in Ontario and elsewhere were the focus of various discussions. The recent U.S. election campaign and results were discussed by Gerry Allen from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR®) in the United States. Pollster Nik Nanos of Nanos Research provided a fresh viewpoint on public opinion of Ontario politics, as did a Queen’s Park media panel. That panel featured political journalists Robert Benzie of the Toronto Star, Paul Bliss of CTV News and Alan Carter of Global News.
Later that same day, a political pundit panel offered viewpoints from various national political and campaign strategists, including Warren Kinsella, Kathleen Monk and Chad Rogers. Paul Begala, a political analyst for CNN, offered his analysis and comment on the U.S. presidential race.
See more information on the issues being tackled by OREA's Government Relations team.
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