Effective July 1, 2015, an amendment to the E-Commerce Act, S.O. 2000, allows parties to use electronic signatures to sign the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and other Real Estate documents that create or transfer an interest in land.
The change to the legislation was simply a repeal of section 31(1)(4) which previously prohibited electronic signatures for documents that created or transferred an interest in land.
Section 11(3) of the Act provides that electronic signatures will be effective for transactions if at the time the electronic signature is made (a) the electronic signature is reliable for the purpose of identifying the person and (b) the association of the electronic signature with the relevant electronic document is reliable.
By simply removing a prohibitive section of an Act, the legislature has failed to provide guidance as to the practical implications of the change. Of particular interest is how banks and other primary lenders will view these changes in real estate transactions.
This amendment could have significant implications for residential and commercial real estate transactions in the future. However, the lack of guidance from the legislature and the courts have created more questions than they have answered. If you would like to discuss any of these questions, or any concerns you may have, please feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not legal advice. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstance.