The real estate bar in Ontario has long expressed concerns a number of concerns around the continued erosion of their economic viability and the burdensome regulatory regime placed on the profession.
In 2013, the County of Carleton Law Association introduced a motion calling on CDLPA (now called the Federation of Ontario Law Associations) to strike a task force or study group to look at the issues impacting the real estate bar in Ontario. Their full resolution, found below, was passed unanimously by FOLA Plenary and since then FOLA, together with the Ontario Bar Association, have created the Real Estate Action Group (REAG) and the Law Society of Upper Canada has responded by creating the Real Estate Liaison Group, which is chaired by a Law Society Bencher (Ross Earnshaw) and includes representatives of LawPRO, FOLA, Ontario Bar Association.
The resolution from the CCLA read as follows:
BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
The County and District Law Presidents Association ask the Law Society of Upper Canada to establish a Task Force, Working Group, or other effective vehicle on Real Estate including the direct participation of LAWPRO, to examine the current state of the real estate bar and practice, and problems faced, with the objective of developing a plan to address those problems in the long-term interest of the public in the Province.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
The County and District Law Presidents Association forward to the Law Society of Upper Canada the following list of issues to be addressed by the Real Estate Task Force, recognizing that this list is not comprehensive and may be expanded as the formal mandate of the Task Force is developed and as the work of the Task Force progresses:
The Real Estate Committee's Report to Plenary from November 2014 is the most recent and comprehensive report of the work of this very busy committee. A link to that report can be found by clicking here.
Relevant presentations to the Real Estate Liaison Group are found linked in this document, but also available here:
A summary of the work of the Real Estate Committee was presented to Plenary in May 2015 and November 2015 and those reports can be accessed here:
The vast majority of residential real estate resale transactions in Ontario close pursuant to OREA Form 100, the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (“APS”), which has been in widespread use since January 1, 1996. The APS is now available to all lawyers under agreement with the Ontario Real Estate Association (“OREA”).
As the rights and obligations of vendors and purchasers are now standard across Ontario under the APS, the Working Group on Lawyers and Real Estate and FOLA decided to review the standard closing documents already being used very successfully in Ottawa, Barrie, Cambridge, Hamilton, Lincoln/Welland and Windsor with a view to creating and promoting standard closing documents for all of Ontario. In drafting them, the Working Group wanted to end the repetitions found in the old forms, and delete any statements, declarations and so on that the vendor is not obligated to give under the terms of the APS. The theory is that vendors, and their lawyers, should not be delivering anything that is not required under the APS, as doing so imports liabilities that are not required by the contract. Any purchaser who wants additional statements, declarations and so on may seek to contract for them at the time the APS is negotiated.
The documents can be found at these links:
1. Vendor’s Closing Certificate
2. Purchaser’s Undertaking & Direction re Title
3. Lawyer’s Direction re Funds
4. Lawyer’s Undertaking
5. Lawyers’ Delayed Closing Escrow Agreement, if required
A USERS GUIDE for the use of these documents can be found at this link.
A "Rationale Document" describing why FOLA and the Working Group undertook to do this is found at this link.
Letters of Support for this initiative from LawPRO and the Director of Titles for the Province can be found at these links.
At the May 2017 Plenary, FOLA unanimously passed a resolution endorsing these Standardized Closing Documents and called on all county & district law associations across Ontario to promote these as much as possible. That resolution can be found at this link.