REALTORS® on The Hill: RAHB Government Relations

What do you get with you mix REALTORS® from across Canada and Members of Parliament? CREA PAC Days, of course!

The annual political action conference was held in Ottawa from October 15-17, 2017. RAHB representatives – President Lou Piriano, President-elect Jack Loft and Government Relations Committee members Stephanie Pinet and Margaret Reid – met with MPs Philomena Tassi, David Sweet, Bob Bratina and Karina Gould to discuss recommendations to:

  • extend the Home Buyers Plan to help Canadians through significant life changes such as death of a spouse, marital breakdown or accommodation of an elderly family member
  • allow parents to loan RRSP funds to their adult children for the purchase of a home

Next stop for RAHB PAC representatives? OREA will be holding it’s annual PAC conference November 19-21, and REALTORS® will be speaking with local MPPs at Queen’s Park.

Philomena Tassi

Have Your Say: Modernizing REBBA 2002

OREA REBBA Reform

Did you know that OREA is leading the charge to modernize REBBA 2002, and they want to hear from you?

The first phase of the review of REBBA 2002 addressed the Province’s interest in banning double-ending real estate transaction. The Ontario Real Estate Association sent the message to Queen’s Park that REALTORS® are interested in higher standards in the real estate profession and that a complete ban on double-ending would not be productive. OREA’s submission was prepared after consultation with real estate boards and associations across Ontario (RAHB was part of the consultation). Watch for updates on how this plays out legislatively this fall.

In Phase 2, the emphasis will be on re-writing REBBA, and OREA is asking you for your input. This is going to be a complete overhaul of REBBA 2001, and everything is on the table. This is the best chance for you, RAHB and OREA to play a significant role in writing the next, better version of REBBA.

How? Over the next few months, OREA will be posting on its website, REBBAReform.ca, a series of white papers with a number of proposals for what changes should be made to REBBA. You can download the complete white paper, or just read the proposals from it, then provide your feedback directly to OREA. It’s simple, it’s fast, and you’ll keep informed about what is happening.

OREA’s white papers will cover:

August – Enforcement (already posted and ready for your comments!)

September – Continuing Education

October – Entrance Education

November – Code of Ethics

 

Check out the website today, and have your say in the future of real estate!

Multiple representation consultation paper

Recently the Ministry of Government & Consumer Services (MGCS) issued a consultation paper proposing three major changes to the Real Estate & Business Brokers Act:

  1. Establishing a new mandatory designated representation requirement with limited exceptions;
  2. Requiring that mandatory standardized disclosure clauses be used; and
  3. Increasing the maximum fine for Code of Ethics violations from $25,000 to $50,000 for individual salespersons and brokers and $100,000 for brokerages.

The potential measures being considered in this first phase of the review of REBBA 2002 are intended to:

  • Increase consumer confidence by minimizing the conflict of interest involved in multiple representation situations;
  • Make it easier for consumers to better understand the nature of the agreements they are entering; and
  • Strengthen consumer protection by modernizing the penalties for unethical behavior for contraventions of the Code of Ethics.

The consultation is the first phase of the government commitment to review REBBA 2002. The second phase will review all other aspects of the Act and extend into 2018. The focus on multiple representation is in response to negative media coverage (CBC Marketplace) which occurred late in 2016.

RAHB has submitted comments to OREA which is in the process of formulating a response on behalf of Ontario REALTORS®.  This response will be made available to members.


Thank You To Our Sponsor:

Bay Area leaders connect to push the region forward

Bay Area Economic Summit

The Bay Area Economic Summit held Tuesday, June 27, 2017, created in cooperation with a regional advisory committee, focused on four interrelated topics.

1. Innovation Corridor: benefits for Bay Area companies, start-ups, entrepreneurs, institutions1. Innovation Corridor: benefits for Bay Area companies, start-ups, entrepreneurs, institutions and not for profits

2. Regional Goods Movement: the Bay Area play  for improved connectivity

3. Climate Action: economic advantages for the  Bay Area community 4. Smart Intensification: compact development  of employment and residential lands in the Bay Area

4. Smart Intensification: compact development 4. Smart Intensification: compact development  of employment and residential lands in the  Bay Area

 

Marquee speakers included Premier Kathleen Wynne; Tom Jenkins, board chair of OpenText Corporation and a key champion of global competitiveness; and Birgit Matthiesen, a highly respected commentator on Canada-U.S. trade.

The day also included a conversation between McMaster’s Marvin Ryder and David Cheney, Managing Partner of Bedrock Industries and new owner of Stelco as of July 1, 2017.

RAHB President Lou Piriano participated in a panel entitled Effective Intensification of Residential and Industrial Lands in the Bay Area, where he discussed intensification from the REALTOR® perspective.

Presentations will soon be posted at www.bayareasummit.ca.

Services Spotlight: From RAHB Government Relations…

RAHB Government Relations

Did you know that RAHB has its fingers on the pulse of what’s going on municipally, provincially and federally through its Government Relations Committee? And that RAHB has built relationships with business organizations to become an influential member of the community?

Your association is very much part of the local and wider communities so that your interests – and those of home buyers and sellers – are considered and protected when decisions are being made.Your association is very much part of the local and wider communities so that your interests – and those of home buyers and sellers – are considered and protected when decisions are being made.

 

Here are just a few of the ways RAHB has been involved in local, provincial and national issues:
  • RAHB’s leadership and Government Relations Committee representatives participate in annual CREA and OREA Political Action Conferences,  where the big event is meeting with local MPs and MPPs to discuss real estate-related issues. These relationships are built further at local visits with  the same representatives.
  • RAHB worked to dissuade Hamilton City Council from adopting landlord licensing and to encourage the city to develop and present a program to encourage landlords to safely create secondary suites through simple, legal means. As this conversation continues at City Hall, RAHB has  a voice at the table to ensure affordable housing is maintained in a safe way.
  • In 2015, RAHB’s Government Relations Committee successfully lobbied City Councillors to discourage them from considering asking for powers to impose  a municipal land transfer tax.
  • RAHB partnered with the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and Hamilton-Halton Home Builders Association in the 2014 civic election. Together, as the Hamilton Business Leaders, the group hosted a Q&A with the mayoralty candidates.
  • Representatives from RAHB are consistently invited to participate on committees, as part  of focus groups and in other forms of stakeholder engagement in Hamilton, Burlington and beyond, allowing members voices to be heard as well and information to flow both ways.
  • RAHB holds membership in all Chambers of Commerce of communities within its boundaries,  and actively participates in Chamber activities in Hamilton and Burlington through sponsorship of events, including most recently, the Bay Area Economic Summit.

Thank you to our sponsor:

Ross and McBride

Call for Public Requests: Urban Hamilton Official Plan Employment Land Conversion Analysis

City of Hamilton Logo

The City of Hamilton is undertaking a Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR) to fulfill the requirements of the provincial Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Through this process, the City is reviewing Employment Land designations within the Urban Hamilton Official Plan. The purpose of this exercise is to identify if there are any Employment Lands that may warrant conversion to a non-employment use. The Growth Plan permits the conversion of Employment Land to non employment uses only through the MCR process.

The City is inviting members of the public to submit requests for sites currently designated “Employment Area” to be considered for possible conversion. This review excludes any lands that fall within the Airport Employment Growth District, which was recently approved in 2015. Only sites in areas that are mixed-use and located along the edges of Employment Areas may be considered for conversion. Additional evaluation criteria will also be applied to each conversion request.

Please include the following information with your submission:

  • Property description (include address and past/current uses); and,
  • Rationale for conversion request (i.e. How does the conversion request satisfy the evaluation criteria?What is the proposed use of the site, if not employment?)

Additional studies/information may be required by City staff. The costs of these studies will be the responsibility of the applicant. There is no guarantee that the submission of a request, or the preparation of the additional studies, will result in staff’s recommendation and /or Council’s decision to convert lands to non-employment uses.

The deadline for submissions is September 15th, 2017.

For more information about submission requirements, evaluation criteria, employment areas, and other questions you may have, please review our project website at: www.hamilton.ca/employmentlandreview

To speak to project staff, or to submit a request, please contact:

Heather Travis, Senior Project Manager, Growth Management Strategy
Policy Planning and Zoning By-law Reform Section,
Planning Division
Planning and Economic Development Department
City of Hamilton, 71 Main St. W, 4th floor, L8R 2K3
Phone: 905.546.2424 x4168
Email: Heather.Travis@hamilton.ca

Catherine Parsons, Planner
Policy Planning and Zoning By-law Reform Section,
Planning Division
Planning and Economic Development Department
City of Hamilton, 71 Main St. W, 4th floor, L8R 2K3
Phone: 905.546.2424 x2634
Email: Catherine.Parsons@hamilton.ca

Government Relations

Call to Action:
Lawyers can… Accountants can… Mortgage brokers can… REALTORS® CAN’T.

It’s time to treat REALTORS® fairly. It’s time to permit Personal Real Estate Corporations in Ontario.

Call to Action
ISSUE
Currently, Ontario real estate salespeople are prevented by the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA), 2002 from incorporating their businesses through a personal real estate corporation (PREC).


ONTARIO LEGISLATION IS DISCRIMINATORY
Other regulated professions, including chartered accountants, lawyers, health professionals, social workers, mortgage brokers, insurance agents, architects and engineers, can all form personal corporations.


OTHER PROVINCES
Since 2008, British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Nova Scotia have all moved to allow real estate salespeople to incorporate.


NO COMPROMISE TO CONSUMER PROTECTION
Real estate salespeople who form personal corporations will continue to be subject to all professional and ethical obligations under REBBA, 2002.


SOLUTION
OREA calls on the Ontario government to amend REBBA, 2002 to permit real estate salespeople to incorporate. Allowing personal real estate corporations will help REALTORS® with their small businesses, level the playing field with other regulated professions and harmonize the practice with other provinces.

MPP Todd Smith has reintroduced Bill 104, the Tax Fairness for Realtors Act, 2017, which is being co-sponsored by MPP Mike Colle and MPP Catherine Fife. The bill, if passed, would allow Ontario REALTORS® to form personal real estate corporations (PRECs).


Tell your MPP to support the Tax Fairness for Realtors Act, 2017.
Take action now: http://www.realtortaxfairness.ca/

Hamilton Economic Development incentive programs

Did you know ….
The City of Hamilton offers a number of financial incentives for property owners, developers and, in some cases, tenants to help offset costs of redevelopment, conversions and other improvements to brownfields, heritage structures, buildings and properties located within particular areas of the city.

The programs available are:

  • Development Charges (offered exclusively in downtown Hamilton)
  • Hamilton Downtown, Barton and Kenilworth Multi-Residential Property Investment Program
  • Barton and Kenilworth Rebate of some planning and building fees
  • Barton/Kenilworth Tax Increment Grant program
  • Barton/Kenilworth Commercial Corridor Building Improvement Grant program
  • Hamilton Tax Increment Grant program
  • Office Tenancy Assistance program
  • Commercial Corridor Housing Loan and Grant program
  • Commercial Property Improvement Grant program
  • Hamilton Heritage Property Grant Program
  • Hamilton Community Heritage Fund Loan program
  • BIA Commercial Property Improvement Grant program

Hamilton also offers several environmental programs under the Environmental Remediation and Site Enhancement (ERASE) Community Improvement Plan.  These programs are designed to encourage and promote brownfield redevelopment.  Most ERASE programs are available throughout the City of Hamilton.

  • ERASE Redevelopment Grant (ERG) program
  • Development Charge Reduction Option
  • ERASE Tax Assistance program
  • ERASE Municipal Acquisition and Partnership program
  • ERASE Study Grant program
  • LEED Grant program
  • Downtown Hamilton/West Harbourfront Remediation Loan program

For complete details about these programs, check out Hamilton Economic Development’s website at www.investinhamilton.ca.

Queens Park:  We came, we saw, we met!

RAHB Government Relations Committee representatives attended OREA’s Political Action Conference in Toronto (November 20-22) and met with area MPPs to discuss issues of importance to REALTORS® and homeowners.

The two issues under discussion were the land transfer rebate for first-time home buyers and the government’s proposed mandatory home energy audits.

  • Ontario REALTORS® lent their support to the proposed increase in the land transfer rebate to first-time home buyers, from $2,000 to $4,000. While OREA originally hoped for a complete rebate for first-time home buyers, the doubling of the rebate is still good news.
  • As part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan, the government proposed the implementation of a Home Energy Rating & Disclosure (HER&D), which mandates “time of listing” energy audits for homes advertised on a “listing service”. The proposal would add another cost to the home selling process and put home owners of old or energy inefficient property at a disadvantage.   In addition, it could cause an unfair burden on low-income home owners who may not be able to afford the improvements recommended by an audit.

OREA’s concerns are that the existing proposal would place an additional regulatory burden on REALTORS® and MLS® Systems, single family home owners would be unfairly targeted and the proposal lacks consumer protection from unregulated energy audit services.

Instead of the mandatory HER&D program, Ontario REALTORS® asked for a return to a program like the voluntary Energy Savings Program, which actually produced results, and regulation for the energy audit industry.

queenspark

RAHB PAC representatives at Queen’s Park:
(l to r) RAHB staff Valerie Webster, Kathy Della-Nebbia (Royal LePage State Realty), Nicolas von Bredow (Royal LePage Macro Realty) and Nikola Bucalo (Coldwell Banker Community Professionals). Missing from the photo
is Lou Piriano (L. Piriano Real Estate Brokerage).

 

 

 

 

 

Government Relations update

LRT Update
Paul Johnson (City of Hamilton) and Jamie Robertson (Metrolinx) presented an update on the Hamilton LRT to RAHB members on Thursday, October 20 at the RAHB office.

The hour-long presentation touched on the original plan for the LRT and the current plan, current and future conditions which make the LRT a desirable service, overall transit strategies and the infrastructure renewals required for the construction of the LRT. An informative Q&A session followed.

Best takeaway for REALTORS®? Be aware of the LRT and its proposed route, and advise your clients and customers appropriately about these properties. This presentation is also available under the “files” tab on facebook.com/groups/RAHB members.

Want to know more about the LRT?  Check out the LRT website at Hamilton.ca/LRT for more detailed information and contacts.  You can also view the powerpoint used at the meeting at  (link to  http://rahb.ca/GR/2016/LRTRAHB.pptx)

 

REALTORS® on Parliament Hill
What do you get when you mix REALTORS® from across Canada and Members of Parliament?  You get CREA PAC Days, of course!

The annual political action conference was held in Ottawa from October 22-24, 2016.  RAHB representatives met with MPs David Sweet and Bob Bratina to encourage them to support two initiatives: indexing the Home Buyer’s Plan and allowing Canadians to use the Home Buyer’s Plan for major life changes such as marital breakdown, death of a spouse, job relocation or accommodation for an elderly relative. The initiatives received the support of both MPs. Unfortunately, four area MPs were unable to meet with RAHB representatives in Ottawa; meetings will be set up in their constituency offices.

 

Be part of the action!
Want to get involved in influencing the decision-makers in Ottawa?

CREA’s REALTOR® Action Network is the way to do it!  Stay informed about issues that impact REALTORS®, the real estate profession, and home owners and buyers. Offer your opinions on things that matter to you. Respond to calls to action and make your voice heard in Ottawa.

Sign up now for the REALTOR® Action Network. It’s simple – just go to https://www.votervoice.net/RAN/1/spotlight and register on the REALTOR® Action Network!

 

Queen’s Park, here we come!
The provincial Political Action Conference will be taking place in Toronto from November 22-24.  This is the time for RAHB representatives to meet with provincial MPPs to talk about provincial issues of concern to REALTORS® and home ownership.  Watch for more information in the next issue of REALINFO.

Government Relations Update

A plan for more affordable housing in Hamilton
RAHB Past President Donna Bacher and GR Committee chair Nikola Bucalo re-presented the RAHB/HDAA Safe Sustainable Housing Compliance Program (SSHCP) to the City of Hamilton Rental Housing Subcommittee on September 15, 2016.

The SSHCP was originally presented to the City of Hamilton as an alternative to rental housing licensing.  The Program presents easily-made amendments to Section 19 of the Hamilton Zoning Bylaw which would make it easier for property owners to safely bring their rental accommodation into compliance with zoning bylaws, which would in turn open up more safe, affordable housing in Hamilton.

The Subcommittee has taken the report under advisement.

RAHB representatives will soon be meeting with area Members of Parliament at the upcoming PAC Days in Ottawa!
REALTORS® from all over Canada will meet in Ottawa from October 16-18 to discuss REALTOR® issues with MPs.  RAHB representatives will meet with the six MPs from the greater Hamilton-Burlington area.  Watch for more information about what happened in the next issue of REALINFO!

LRT Update
Plan to come to the RAHB office on October 20, 2016 to hear an update on the proposed Hamilton LRT!

Paul Johnson (Director, LRT Project Coordination, City of Hamilton) and Jamie Robinson (Director, Community Relations & Communications, Metrolinx) will be on hand to update RAHB members on what’s happening to date with Hamilton’s LRT, and to answer members’ questions.

The update will be held from 10:30 a.m. – Noon on Thursday, October 20, 2016.  Register now with Sheila at sheilas@rahb.ca or 905.529.8101 x 234.

Open Houses – Commercial and Mixed Use (CMU) Zones
The City of Hamilton will be holding a series of Statutory Open Houses to discuss the draft Commercial and Mixed Use (CMU) Zones as part of Phase 2 of the Public Engagement process. The Public Open Houses for Wards 5-13 and 15 have been scheduled for:

openhouseschedule

Information on the draft CMU is now available for review online at:  www.hamilton.ca/CMUzoning.

 

Karina Gould in the “bear pit”

Burlington Member of Parliament Karina Gould was the featured guest at Burlington Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee’s event on July 6, 2016.  RAHB was gold sponsor of this event which gave participants an opportunity to speak casually and directly with the MP.  Ms. Gould spoke briefly about Canada’s place on the world stage and various initiatives, then joined Chamber Chair Heidi Cowie in the “bear pit” to answer questions from the audience.

RAHB was represented by President Kim Alvarez and President-Elect Lou Piriano, with other directors and members of the Government Relations Committee.