Political Advocacy

Making sure your voice is heard at Queen’s Park

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Current Issues

Personal real estate corporations (PRECs) will benefit our members and are a top priority policy issue for OREA. Today, PRECs are one step closer to becoming law.

In March 2017, PC MPP Todd Smith reintroduced Bill 104, Tax Fairness for Realtors Act, 2017. The Bill received tri-party support, co-sponsored by Liberal MPP Mike Colle and New Democratic Party MPP Catherine Fife. For the first time in its history, the bill was debated by MPPs at Queen’s Park on March 23, 2017. The bill passed second reading and was sent to the Standing Committee of General Government for public hearings.

Our Tax Fairness for REALTORS® Campaign ran for two weeks to coincide with the introduction and second reading of Bill 104. The campaign consisted of several tactics designed to mobilize REALTORS® by driving them to the RealtorTaxFairness.ca website and getting them to take action by emailing their MPP. Nearly 10,000 REALTORS® emailed their MPPs in support of PRECs.

We will continue our advocacy efforts to support the bill moving through the legislative process.

One of the greatest challenges facing Ontario REALTORS® and the industry is the proposed regulation of MLS® systems through the Home Energy Rating and Disclosure (HER&D) program. We oppose HER&D and are actively lobbying the province to take a different approach to reducing GHG emissions from the residential housing sector.

At the request of the Ministry of Energy, we co-chair a working group to study HER&D. Our advocacy on this matter is guided by four principles:

  • HER&D must not regulate MLS® or “listing services”
  • HER&D cannot unfairly target Realtors
  • Consumers must be protected from unscrupulous energy auditors
  • Realtors cannot be the enforcement arm of HER&D

On behalf of our members, we will continue to advocate for an alternative solution that includes using the $250 million designated for HER&D to enhance retrofit rebates for home owners and home buyers who want to make their home more energy efficient. Creating a voluntary program and enhancing retrofit rebates will result in greater reductions in GHG emissions.

Consumer protection is important to your clients and to your business. Our advocacy in this area has resulted in regulatory changes, including:

  • The Protecting Condominium Owners Act, 2015 (PCOA) received Royal Assent on December 3, 2015.
  • The PCOA amended the Condominium Act, 1998, and enacted the Condominium Management Services Act, 2015 (CMSA) to regulate condominium managers and condominium management providers. PCOA will be implemented in phases with many of the regulatory changes to come into effect on July 1, 2017.

Condominiums represent over half of all new homes built; more than one million Ontarians live in this type of housing. Changes to the act might include steps that could influence affordability and consumer protection, which in turn may influence consumers’ decisions to buy or sell.

We, along with the Toronto Real Estate Board, responded to the first proposed regulation and are currently in the process of responding to two new proposed regulations.

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Accomplishments

More first-time home buyers can now achieve the dream of home ownership. Our advocacy resulted in the province doubling the land transfer tax (LTT) rebate for first-time home buyers from $2,000 to $4,000.

In support of the LTT rebate, we launched a micro-campaign to promote its benefits. The campaign was designed to:

  • Raise awareness of the rebate among consumers and REALTORS® by driving them to the firsthomerebate.ca website
  • Provide consumers with information on how they could qualify for the rebate and how much of a rebate they could qualify for
  • Provide a tool for Realtors to offer to their clients

The social media portion of the campaign was highly effective. Over the course of the campaign, the story generated more than 38,000,000 impressions and 188 news stories. It also generated more than 153,000 impressions on Facebook and more than 19,000 impressions on Twitter. In combination, these tactics drove more than 6,000 visits to the website.

The Don’t Tax My Dream campaign successfully stopped the spread of the municipal land transfer tax. This was a significant result of our advocacy work which benefits you and your clients. Stopping the spread of the tax to other municipalities will save Ontario home buyers an estimated $1 billion and nearly 2,000 transactions annually.

Our 6-week campaign consisted of several tactics designed to mobilize both the public and REALTORS® against the tax, including:

  • Driving them to the donttaxmydream.ca website
  • Getting them to take action by emailing their MPP or posting about the issue on social media.

The campaign launched with front-page coverage on the Toronto Sun. Over the course of the campaign, our story generated more than 50 million impressions and 300 news clips.

An accompanying radio advertising campaign helped to raise awareness about the province’s plan and drive people to take action. The one-week ad was complemented by digital/online advertising targeting key demographics such as home buyers and home owners most likely to take action on the issue.

The social media portion of the campaign was also highly effective, generating more than 161,000 impressions and 26,00 engagements on Facebook (clicks, comments, shares, and likes). On Twitter, there were 117,000 impressions as well as 1,700 engagements, which included retweets, clicks, and favourites.

In combination, these tactics drove more than 106,000 visits to our website and helped generate more than 34,000 letters from Ontarians to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in opposition to the tax.

This was a huge win for Ontario home owners and those who dream of one day owning a home. It’s also a testament to the power of organize real estate when we speak with one voice.

e-signature

An amendment to the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000, was passed in 2015 to permit the use of electronic signatures in the purchase and sale of real estate transactions. This was a result of our advocacy work and makes REALTORS® more efficient while reducing the cost of paper management.

Electronic signatures cut down transaction time, helping ensure that property buyers/sellers know sooner that they have successfully completed a transaction. The technology allows agreements to be filled out on a computer or tablet, changes can be tracked and documents can be transmitted with ease. The technology used to support electronic agreements of purchase and sale is very secure, offering peace of mind to consumers.

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Statement

CEO Tim Hudak comments on Bank of Canada interest rate increase

“A Bank of Canada rate hike will increase the costs of new mortgages and home equity lines of credit. With this increase in interest rates and the recent Ontario Government Fair Housing Plan, governments need to be very cautious about the cumulative impact of intervention in the housing market going forward. ”

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