Ontario and Stage Two of its Reopening Plan
Last updated: Thursday June 24, 4:48 P.M.
On Wednesday, June 30th at 12:01 a.m., Ontario will enter Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopening. Step Two of the Roadmap focuses on the resumption of more outdoor activities and limited indoor services with small numbers of people where face coverings are worn, with other restrictions in place.
It is encouraging to see the province further lifting public health measures in certain settings, but it remains critical that all Ontarians continue to follow public health advice.
What does Step Two mean for real estate?
Real Estate Agencies
Step Two explicitly states that “real estate agencies” can be allowed to open so long as they “do not host, provide or support any open house events.”
In addition to that specific condition that a real estate agency not host, provide or support open house events, real estate agencies must comply with general rules applicable to almost all other businesses in Ontario.
Work from home except where necessary
Step Two does not change the obligation, imposed on the person responsible for the real estate agency business, to ensure that only persons whose work requires them to be on-site at the workplace are at the workplace. The regulation still requires a real estate brokerage to ensure everyone else conducts their work remotely.
There remain a number of general rules about how a workplace must be operated. A partial list of those obligations includes:
- Comply with all advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials
- Follow physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting advice, recommendations and instructions from public health officials
- Post signs on self-screening for COVID-19 prior to entering
- Actively screening every person who works or enters the business before they enter
- Ensure masks covering mouth, nose and chin are worn while indoors in accordance with Provincial requirements
- Maintain 2 metres physical distance between persons indoors or separate with plexiglass or impermeable barrier
- If open to members of the public, there are capacity and other requirements
- Have a safety plan in effect to reduce transmission risk of COVID-19
- Cleaning requirements
Further details should be obtained from https://covid-19.ontario.ca/public-health-measures
Property Showings and Open Houses
Step Two does not introduce any changes to the rules governing property showings or open houses.
When it comes to property showings and meetings with clients, REALTORS® should continue to follow all existing public health guidelines, limit in-person business as much as possible, use virtual tools and conduct scheduled showings only. OREA’s Guidance for Safe In-Person Showings is available on OREA’s COVID-19 Information Hub.
Open houses remain prohibited in Step Two. The Province has announced that it is planning on permitting open houses under Step Three. OREA is currently advising the government on open houses and Step Three of the Reopening Plan.
Thank you to all Members who provided input on our recent open house survey. Your feedback will help determine the advice we’ll be bringing forward to the government on the timing of open houses.
Reminders about previously lifted restrictions
The booking of short-term rentals for recreational purposes is permitted in Step Two. Hotels, motels and other short-term rental accommodations remain subject to specific rules on keeping indoor recreational facilities closed.
Non-essential travel between Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec is now permitted as the ban on interprovincial travel was lifted on June 16th.
Residential Evictions Resumed
Eviction orders for all tenancies subject to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) resumed on June 2nd, with the end of the Stay-At-Home Order.
The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) is carrying on most of its business using virtual video conferencing tools. Members who own investment properties or who are supporting clients, can visit the LTB website to learn more.
OREA will continue to keep members informed of the Province’s Reopening Roadmap and any impacts on real estate.
The Roadmap to Reopen is a three-step plan to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures. Ontario may remain in Step Two for a period of approximately 21 days. When it is determined to be safe, the province will promptly move to Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen.
The plan is based on:
- The province-wide vaccination rate
- Improvements in key public health and health care indicators
Members looking for more general information should go to the Ontario Government’s website.
Disclaimer. The information contained in this post is not meant to be relied upon as legal advice by REALTORS®, or others. Members wishing further clarity or advice should seek independent legal advice specific to their circumstances. Due to the quickly changing regulatory environment during the COVID-19 emergency, this document may not be current or accurate by the time it is read.