OREA CEO Tim Hudak Statement on Ontario’s Real Estate Offer Process

“Ontarians, especially first-time buyers, are rightly concerned about rising home prices and a shortage of both new listings and new homes. Ontario’s 80,000 REALTORS® share these concerns and want to help create the next generation of Ontario homeowners.
Unfortunately, for too many, the current real estate market is a frustrating game of musical chairs, with more and more people circling a fewer amount of chairs.
The experience can be discouraging: a hopeful buyer competing with dozens of bidders for homes they can barely afford, and repeatedly losing out. They’ve lost sleep wondering whether their own bid is uncompetitive or more than they really need to pay. It’s not surprising some may wonder whether there’s a different way.
There are those who are arguing for the mandatory use of an auction process as a way to reverse rising home prices. The auction could be in person, online or involve all the buyers putting the contents of their offers on the table for all other buyers to see. However, in jurisdictions where auctions are common, prices have actually risen as “auction fever” leads to higher bids.
Ontario Realtors believe that Ontarians deserve a choice when it comes to something so important as their home. A home is our most valuable and precious asset, the place of our fondest memories and where we feel safe. For many, their home is their nest egg for retirement. Potential buyers may not want to share some of their most personal, private information such as a need to sell their own home to finance the purchase of another or how much they can afford for a down payment with a collection of strangers around the table. Government should not force them to do so.
We believe that buyers and sellers should be able to choose if they want to use the traditional offer process or an auction. In fact, we successfully lobbied the Ontario Government to allow for such choice – provided all parties consent – as part of the Trust in Real Estate Services Act (TRESA). The Government will be consulting on the corresponding regulatory change needed to ensure this option becomes a reality.
The current landscape of bidding wars in Ontario’s housing market is emblematic of a much larger issue: there is simply not enough supply to meet demand, leading to multiple offer situations and higher home prices.
Fixing Canada’s housing affordability crisis starts with meaningful action to boost housing supply. More homes and more affordable choices will help frustrated buyers finally get the keys to a new home. Innovative and prudent financing options will help first time buyers with the
initial down payment. The provincial regulator should be given greater authority to suspend or revoke licenses of Realtors who abuse the rules or take advantage of hardworking Canadian families.
All levels of government need to work together and make it easier for first-time buyers to own a home, through increasing housing supply, eliminating unnecessary government red tape, addressing affordability and giving both buyers and sellers a choice in how they engage in the offer process.”

  • Tim Hudak, OREA CEO
    -30-
    For more information, please contact:
    Jean-Adrien Delicano
    Specialist, Media Relations
    JeanAdrienD@orea.com
    416-459-6059

Ontario introduces COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit

Last week, the Provincial Government announced the implementation of a paid sick leave program, the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit.

As the province’s COVID-19 case count reached an all-time high last week, the government took action to ensure that all Ontarians who did not have access to employer-paid sick days would be able to use the benefit to slow the spread among essential workers.

OREA is sharing this information to ensure that Board Leaders can respond to and assist Brokers and Members when it comes to navigating the new program. Below is a summary of the program.

What does the Ontario Benefit cover?

Under the benefit, employers must pay employees their regular pay, or up to a maximum of $200 per employee, per day for up to three days (total). This could be beneficial for employees who are feeling ill and are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test. Following the three days, employees can still apply for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) which offers income support to those who have COVID-19 or are isolating due to exposure. Under this program, employees can receive $450 per week for up to four weeks.

What are the Eligibility Criteria for the Ontario Benefit?

Employers would be required to pay their employees up to $200 per day if they:

  • Are sick or may be sick with COVID-19
  • Have a COVID-19 related mental health issue
  • Are getting tested for COVID-19
  • Are getting vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Are self-isolating
  • Are taking care of a dependent who is sick or self-isolating.

To be eligible for the program, the employer does not require any particular proof from their employee. The program currently only applies to those who fall under the Employment Standards Act and does not cover independent contractors.

The Provincial Government is currently working with the Government of Canada to determine whether they would top up the federal CRSB credit to allow employees to be eligible to receive $1000 per week. We will share more details as they become available.

The Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit is retroactive to April 19, 2021 and will be available until September 25, 2021. For more information, the government has created the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit Information Centre at 1-888-999-2248.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Thank you,

Asha Holland

Policy Specialist, Policy & Public Affairs

OREAThe trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.

Upcoming OREA Standard Forms Webinar – Forms for Brokerage to Brokerage Communication

OREA’s Standard Forms Team is hosting another informative Forms
Webinar on May 26, 2021, at 1:00 p.m., entitled Forms for Brokerage
to Brokerage Communication, led by Cassandra Agnew Walker,
OREA’s Head of Standard Forms and joining her, Hugh Foy, Past
President of the Brantford Real Estate Board, and Past President of
OREA.
This webinar will review eight (8) helpful template OREA Forms for
these situations, including:
Confirming listing brokerage co-operation for information and
commission
Co-brokerage and sharing buyer or seller client services
Disclosures in writing, competing offers, multiple representation,
and remuneration
Ongoing Member and consumer offer communications
Forms for written accountability, do not leave anything to
memory!
Page 2 of 2
May 26, 2021
1:00 PM EST
Save your seat!
Coming Soon
Mark your calendars for these upcoming 2021 Forms Webinars:
Wednesday, June 30, 2021, 1:00 p.m.
entitled, ‘New Member Forms & Clause Must-Knows’
Wednesday, July 28, 2021, 1:00 p.m.
entitled, ‘A Closer Look at Commercial Real Estate’
*All access to Forms Webinars must be made through your Member login only. This
OREA resource is for Member participation.

Update to REALTOR.ca DDF® Data Feeds

The Canadian Real Estate Association is excited to announce as of April 29, all REALTOR.ca DDF® listings will include geocodes in data feeds.  

What does this mean? 
Geocodes allow real estate listings to be automatically and accurately displayed on a map, which is crucial for all real estate websites. 

Previously, REALTOR.ca DDF® was only able to pass the longitude and latitude coordinates for less than 20% of listings from select boards. Because of this, participating members used a separate provider to access geocodes. 

How will your members benefit? 
•    Ability to showcase all properties on a map, without purchasing a geocoding license; 
•    decreased operational costs; 
•    accurate data—listings displayed on a map will all be the same across all REALTOR.ca DDF® sites; and  
•    ability to change where their listing appears on a map for REALTOR.ca and all DDF® sites via member.REALTOR.ca

Contact our Member Experience Centre at support@crea.ca with any questions. You can also review the DDF® programming guide to review all available fields in DDF®.  

Look at what your fellow REALTORS® are doing!

On April 19th, OREA launched Real Heart – an initiative that celebrates the ways in which YOU as Ontario REALTORS® go above and beyond to give back to YOUR communities.

Over the last week, we have been overwhelmed by the positive responses we’ve received from REALTORS® across Ontario in support of this initiative. You are all truly amazing. ❤️

If you haven’t already, be sure to visit http://www.RealHeart.ca to read inspiring stories about REALTORS® giving back in their communities.

there is still SO much more to come…

​​​​​​ Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we continue to share powerful stories of REALTORS® making a difference and helping to build stronger communities across Ontario

The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA

Changes Coming to FINTRAC Regime

As you may be aware, significant changes to Canada’s FINTRAC Regime are scheduled to come into force on June 1, 2021. However, important information related to the updated law has yet to be provided by FINTRAC:

  • First, FINTRAC guidance and reports covering some aspects of the updated law have yet to be published on FINTRAC’s website.
  • Second, a draft package of sector-specific updates and forms has been prepared by CREA and has been with FINTRAC for review for several months. However, FINTRAC recently informed CREA it will require additional time to provide feedback.

In order to give REALTORS® time to familiarize themselves with their new obligations, CREA has posted draft versions of its updated materials on REALTOR Link®. The materials are based on the best available information available to CREA. However, REALTORS® should note:

  • In some places, placeholder text has been inserted to reflect the fact no FINTRAC guidance or forms exists.
  • CREA’s material may change depending on the feedback provided by FINTRAC. 

REALTORS® should exercise caution when reading these draft materials and speak to their legal counsel before modifying their existing business practices.

CREA continues to lobby the federal government to delay the coming into force date of the FINTRAC Regime changes to give REALTORS® additional time to modify their business practices to reflect the updated law.

CREA will post a final sector-specific version of all resources to REALTOR Link®, and host a webinar open to all REALTORS® explaining the changes, after FINTRAC publishes all relevant guidance and CREA receives FINTRAC’s feedback. 

If you have any questions please contact Dil Puar, Director, Government Relations (dpuar@crea.ca), or Simon Parham, Legal Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer (sparham@crea.ca). 

Ontario’s Vaccination Plan and REALTORS®

YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR A VACCINE NOW. HERE IS HOW TO CHECK
 

  1. Local Eligibility: Check the Ontario booking portal for vaccine appointments at covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine to find out the current criteria for the area where you live and, if you qualify, to book an appointment.
  2. If you are 40 and older: you can book appointments at select pharmacies across the province. The link to find your local pharmacy to book an appointment can be found here.
  3. Hot Spot Communities: If you are 18 to 49 and live in a hot spot community, you can get a vaccine through a mobile or pop-up clinic. Click here to find out if your area code is identified as a hot spot community. Mobile and pop-up clinics will be promoted locally by community partners and public health units, starting in Peel and Toronto. You cannot book mobile or pop-up clinics through the provincial booking system right now.

WHAT WE ARE DOING FOR ONTARIO REALTORS®

Throughout the pandemic, our focus has been on keeping you, your clients and Ontario communities safe. We have your back.

To help REALTORS® who are not currently covered by the age or community criteria above, OREA has advocated for REALTORS® to be included on the list of essential workers who will be eligible to get vaccines under Phase Two of the Ontario Vaccination Plan.

OREA has asked the Ontario Government to include real estate professionals under the ‘financial services’ category in the vaccination plan’s second priority group. Bank tellers are currently included in this category.

Earlier phases of the Ontario Vaccination Plan cover health care workers, the elderly, front line essential workers, people who are immunocompromised and others deemed at risk by public health.

We successfully lobbied for REALTORS® to be designated as essential services under the initial regulations related to the COVID-19 crisis. Over the last two months, we have met with senior officials on the Province’s vaccine taskforce and taken steps to educate decision makers about why REALTORS® are essential and cannot work solely from home.

OREA has made the case that some services related to buying and selling a home remain difficult to do virtually as consumers are uncomfortable making such a large financial decision without physically visiting the property in question. In this regard, REALTORS® continue to show properties to clients following guidelines from public health. These activities put them in close contact with many people outside of their home.

While the Province has not made a decision about whether or not to include REALTORS® under the second priority grouping, we are continuing to advocate for the important change and we have been grateful for the support of our local real estate boards in this effort.

We understand that getting a vaccine is a personal decision. For those Members who want a vaccine, we will keep you updated on our efforts. 

Sincerely,

David Oikle
OREA President

MPAC Webinars – May schedule

While many businesses and organizations have slowed during the pandemic to prevent the spread of COVID-19 our Business Development team has found new ways to support the more than 80,000 REALTORS® in Ontario. Your members are invited to join one of our webinars focused on educating REALTORS® on MPAC’s role, how we assess properties, and how our data can help attract new clients and support property sales transactions.

Visit propertyline.ca to learn more

MPAC Assessment 101 and Working with Public Records Webinar This webinar has been customized for TRREB members and provides an overview of how MPAC collects data, measures properties, and instructions on calculating property taxes. Via a live demo, we show REALTORS® how to get the most out of Public Records, search for comparables, save money on reports, and how to access Assessment, Site, Structural, and Sales Data to enhance your business. We also provide a brief overview of our Automated Valuation Model (AVM) products customized for REALTORS®.

Upcoming Assessment 101 and Working with Public Records webinars

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EST

Register now

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ESTRegister now

Factors Affecting Real Property Value

This webinar is a continuation of our MPAC Assessment 101 webinar series. We take a more detailed look at the top 5 factors affecting real property value when using mass appraisal techniques.

Participants will also learn about other property features that can significantly affect property value. These include elements of primary and secondary structures, site details and locational influences. Join us for a more thorough look at MPAC’s valuation process.

Upcoming Factors Affecting Real Property Value webinars

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST

Register now

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

10 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST

Register now

Thursday, May 20, 2021

10 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST

Register now

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ESTRegister now

MPAC Automated Valuation Models (AVM) for REALTORS® This webinar provides an overview of our real-time market value estimates, used for listing presentations, setting the listing price, supporting an offer, or simply as a second unbiased opinion of value.

Upcoming MPAC Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) for REALTORS® webinars

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST

Register now

Monday, May 10, 2021

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST

Register now

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

11 a.m. to 12 p.m. ESTRegister now

Commercial Property Webinar This webinar provides an overview of our methods for valuing commercial and industrial properties. We will also take a detailed view at the data offered in sample reports. Participants will learn about assessment basics as well. Join us for a more thorough look at MPACs Commercial and Industrial data products.

Upcoming Commercial Property webinars

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST

Register now

Thursday, May 27, 2021

10 a.m. to 11 a.m. ESTRegister now

Budget 2021: Homeownership Remains A Priority

This afternoon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland tabled Budget 2021 in the House of Commons, the Liberal government’s first budget in more than two years. As anticipated, Minister Freeland’s first budget included $100 billion of spending on stimulus measures to kickstart the country’s economic recovery and get Canadians back to work, with considerable emphasis on climate change and child-care.

“This budget is about finishing the fight against COVID-19. It’s about healing the wounds left by the COVID-19 recession,” said the Minister. “It’s about creating more jobs and prosperity for Canadians in the days—and decades—to come.” 

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) was pleased to see wage and rent support programs extended, as we’ve been in ongoing discussions with government on this matter since the emergence of COVID-19 to ensure real estate professionals are able to access these programs. We’ve also had meaningful conversations about the unique challenges facing REALTORS® and the potentially devastating outcomes of any interruptions to their day-to-day business.

REALTORS® can also be proud of their advocacy work over the course of a very challenging year. Budget 2021 included several big-ticket items for homeowners across Canada:

  • Despite ongoing rumours, there was no change to the capital gains tax exemption on the sale of primary residences. CREA has consistently spoken publicly against any suggestion Canadians should be taxed on the equity in their homes and had received assurances ahead of today’s budget no such measure would be implemented.
  • To build on the energy-efficient improvement grants and free EnerGuide energy assessments announced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, Budget 2021 proposes $4.4 billion for homeowners to make deep home retrofits through interest-free loans worth up to $40,000. Examples of deep retrofits include:
    • Replacing oil furnaces or low-efficiency systems with a high efficiency furnace, air source heat pump, or geothermal heat pump.
    • Better wall or basement insulation and/or wall or roof panels.
    • Installing a high-efficiency water heater or on-site renewable energy like solar panels
    • Replacing drafty windows and doors.
  • Conditions for the GST New Housing Rebate, which entitles home buyers to recover 36% of the GST paid on the purchase of a new home priced up to $350,000, are being relaxed. It would now be available if the new home is acquired for use as the primary place of residence of any one of the purchasers or a relation of any one of the purchasers.
  • As per CREA’s recommendations, the government will allocate $2.1 million over two years to support the implementation of a publicly accessible corporate beneficial ownership registry by 2025.
  • To tackle the issue of housing supply, Budget 2021 proposes to advance and reallocate $1.3 billion through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund and the Rental Construction Financing Initiative, including for the conversion of vacant commercial property into housing.
  • As part of REALTORS Care® Week 2020, more than 300 of our members signed a letter to Minister Ahmed Hussen, Minister for Families, Children and Social Development encouraging him to promptly fulfill government commitments to end homelessness, and government has responded by announcing $2.5 billion for affordable housing through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
  • The federal government has committed to engaging with the Government of Quebec to determine what additional federal contribution is required to help Quebec residents address structural problems as a result of the presence of the mineral pyrrhotite in their homes’ foundations. Details will be provided in the next Fall Economic Statement.
  • The Universal Broadband Fund will receive an additional $1 billion to support a more rapid rollout of broadband projects in collaboration with provinces and territories and other partners, resulting in thousands more Canadians and small businesses with faster, more reliable internet connections.
  • $63.8 million will also be allocated to Natural Resources Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Public Safety Canada to work with provinces and territories to complete flood maps for higher-risk areas. REALTORS® will benefit from a more accurate understanding of flood risk in their communities.

“With the tabling of Budget 2021, the government has made clear that homeownership remains a priority,” said CREA Chair Cliff Stevenson. “Measures implemented since Budget 2019, from the expansion of the Home Buyers’ Plan to new home energy efficiency grants, are the direct result of effective advocacy from the REALTOR® community.”

Budget 2021 also announces the government’s intention to implement a national, annual 1% tax on the value of non-resident, non-Canadian owned residential real estate that is considered to be vacant or underused, effective January 1, 2022. While CREA welcomes a discussion on measures seeking to increase housing supply, we’ve engaged with government to discuss perceived effectiveness, dual-taxation, and the effect of a national measure on smaller communities, such as in cottage/cabin country, whose economic stability is dependent on foreign ownership. 

In response to CREA’s advocacy, government will release a consultation paper to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to comment on the parameters of the proposed tax, including on whether special rules should be established for small tourism and resort communities. We will participate in the consultation.

“CREA welcomes government’s commitment to housing affordability for Canadians through their support for homeownership,” said CREA CEO Michael Bourque. “We now look forward to continuing our work with key decision makers to address the most critical issue facing housing in Canada: creating more supply.”

Budget 2021 will be debated and then subject to a confidence vote. The Liberals will need to secure support from at least one opposition party to avoid triggering an election.