I have some important news.
Last week, the Government of Ontario announced the final steps of its Reopening Plan. These steps represent the pathway towards the end of all COVID-19 measures, directives and orders in Ontario including the ones that impact real estate transactions and real estate businesses.
Here’s what you need to know:
Effective March 21st, 2022 Ontario is ending most mask mandates. This includes mask mandates for real estate open houses and businesses. Mask and physical distancing requirements will no-longer be required in real estate brokerages and open houses effective March 21st, 2022. These were the final measures in place which impacted real estate transactions and brokerage.
In addition, real estate brokerages will no longer be required to have safety plans in place and available upon request. In other words, as of March 21st, 2022, Ontario will no longer have any pandemic related rules, orders or directives in place which impact real estate.
The Province is scheduled to lift all remaining COVID-19 orders on April 27th, 2022.
If I host an open house, can I require masks to be worn inside and insist on physical distancing?
Yes. A REALTOR® can insist that any open house they organize will require masking.
REALTORS® should speak candidly with your clients about their comfort levels in visiting homes or opening their home up to potential buyers. Have a very clear dialogue about comfort levels relating to showings and document the requirements in writing for both yourself and your clients. Do your best to accommodate any needs they articulate that are above and beyond the basic public health guidelines.
Can a real estate board and/or brokerage maintain a mask policy if they choose to?
Yes, they can, however, boards & brokerages should be mindful that they cannot discriminate against individuals in the provision of services on grounds protected under human rights legislation.
For example, if a visitor is unable to adhere to your mask policy for a valid medical reason, you would likely need to find some way to accommodate that individual (e.g., conducting a meeting via phone call, meeting virtually or outdoors while physically distanced, or by implementing stricter safety protocols in the office).
Ontario’s policy is shifting to managing COVID-19 for the long term. The risk is not gone completely, and the pandemic is not officially over – yet.
Individuals may continue to opt to wear masks and health officials encourage those who are at high risk to take precautions despite the easing of restrictions.
This email is OREA’s forty-seventh communication to Members on COVID-19 guidance and information. I hope they have been valuable to you and your business.
Throughout this pandemic our team has worked exceptionally hard to maintain real estate as an essential service, maintain access for REALTORS® to support programs, review complex government announcements/regulations and get you the best guidance, advice and information to keep you and your clients safe.
While we have enjoyed that work, I am hopeful it has come to an end. Spring is around the corner, and I look forward to seeing many of you, in-person, soon.
Email us with any questions firstname.lastname@example.org.