There was a time, not that long ago, when doing something electronically, or over the Internet, was considered risky business. We used to do our banking in, you guessed it, an actual bank. Now we do it with a point and a click on our laptops, or even our mobile devices.
The use of electronics and digital communication have extended to so many different areas of our lives. Not only do many of us pay our bills online, but we do our shopping over the Internet, and we even enter into employment or business arrangements by e-mailing scanned documents.
An traditional profession
Well, there is another branch of society that is contemplating this leap into the electronic age, and it’s coming from an unlikely source, the legal profession, where tradition and precedent often take precedence over strange new ideas, so to speak.
The Ontario government is looking at measures that would allow for electronic signatures to be sent via email or text for real-estate transactions. So, physical meetings, or snail mail, wouldn’t be necessary any longer to finalize a mortgage or close the sale of real-estate property.
The effort is part of a decade-long process in the province to facilitate electronic commerce. The current provisions being contemplated would amend the Electronic Commerce Act, which was passed in 2013 to remove legal hurdles regarding electronic transactions.
Of course, the major concern with electronic measures, especially those concerning such large transactions as mortgages and real-estate purchases, is security. Specifically, will any new laws ensure the origin and authenticity of signed documents sent electronically?
In addition, some critics are skeptical of the new proposals because they’re not seen as streamlining the process enough. In other words, some transactions would still require the exchange of actual paper, raising the question of the benefit of any electronic exchange in the first place.
Nevertheless, the fact that the government of Canada’s largest province is seriously considering these measures is just further evidence that we’re immersing ourselves deeper and deeper into the digital age.
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