July 23rd, 2021
The Honourable Ross Romano
Minister of Government and Consumer Services
777 Bay St, Toronto
ON, M7A 2J3
Dear Minister Romano,
We thank you for reaching out to the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) in anticipation of this fall’s Red Tape Reduction legislation.
It is vital to preface that the majority of OHBA members are small family run businesses who have strong roots and connections to their local communities. OHBA is supportive of many of your government’s initiatives to make it easier, simpler and most cost effective to start up, maintain and grow a business in this province. OHBA is also supportive of important processes and structures that keep employees, home buyers and all Ontarians throughout the building process safe. It however also be noted that there is a considerable amount of red tape and burdensome regulation that dramatically slows and throws up barriers to the development process.
Minister, as you know, many Ontarians are finding it more and more difficult to find an affordable place they can call home, where they can live, work and play. In fact, the Greater Golden Horseshoe is projected to grow by almost 4 million people by the year 2046. To accommodate this anticipated population growth in the province we have the challenge and collective responsibility to build one million homes of all types for #homebelievers across Ontario, over the next decade to meet this increase in housing demand. This is a significant challenge, but one that our sector is prepared to take on. However, red tape and regulatory barriers create uncertainty on achieving these targets. Therefore, it is critical that burdensome red tape be eliminated in order to allow for accelerated housing delivery of all kinds to the market.
Below, OHBA has identified several key areas of red tape which we feel would be ideal for the fall legislation.
Eliminating the Need for Wet Signatures at Land Registry Offices
The Provincial Government has been steadfast in its commitment to support small businesses while reducing antiquated and burdensome red tape and regulations that get in the way of innovation and competitiveness. Furthermore, the Provincial Government has also committed to digitizing government services through both the Ontario Onwards: Action Plan and by leveraging the resources of the Ontario Digital Service.
The Teraview system is the online digital resource for accessing the Government of Ontario’s land records database, and is used by lawyers, paralegals, title searchers, title insurers, financial institutions,
and government. Almost all documents to purchase land can be signed digitally in the Teraview system by registered users with the Ontario Land Registry Office (LRO). However, the LRO still requires hardcopy submissions with “wet signatures” completed in ink, of the principal condominium creation documents, such as the condominium declaration and the condominium plan. This “wet signature” requirement amounts to red tape given that virtually all other land management records and documents can be signed and submitted digitally.
OHBA proposes that eliminating this need for wet signatures would bring the Teraview system in line with the province’s digital government services and red tape reduction objectives, while eliminating a frustrating and antiquated requirement.
Easements being Excluded from Condominium Declarations
Numerous developers in the GTA have noted recently that the Land Registry Office (LRO) is refusing to permit easements created under section 20(2)(b) of the Condominium Act from being included in declarations. OHBA sees no legitimate right for the LRO to override a clear statutory right and their refusal can catch developers off guard and in a precarious position if they’ve planned on utilizing this section of the Act, only to find out at condominium registration stage that it will not be permitted by the LRO.
OHBA proposes that the Ministry provide clarity and consistency of section 20(2)(b) of the Condominium Act through the Land Registry Office.
Thank you for your consideration of these red tape reduction issues present in our home building sector. OHBA looks forward to seeing the red tape reduction legislation brought forward in the fall.
CEO, Ontario Home Builders’ Association