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Electronic Signatures Are Now Valid for Ontario Land Transactions

The Ontario Electronic Commerce Act, 2000 was initially introduced 15 years ago, and was amended in 2013 to theoretically allow for electronic signatures on Agreements of Purchase and Sale and other documents that “create or transfer interest in land”. Although those changes were not put into force at that time, they are now effective as of July 1, 2015.

The wording of the newly-enacted changes stipulates that an electronic signature is effective only if at the time it is made: 1) it is reliable for the purpose of identifying the person using it, and 2) the association between the signature itself, and the relevant electronic document, is also reliable. The use of electronic signatures remains optional, however.

These long-delayed legislative changes finally bring Ontario in-step with several other Canadian provinces that allow for electronic signatures in land-related deals.