COVID-19 Q&A (March 27, 2020)
Q: Do I have to stop trading?
A: No, however, licensees are strongly encouraged to avoid trading activities that require personal contact with consumers and licensees. If it is absolutely necessary to have face-to-face meetings, follow the social-distancing guidelines set out by the provincial government.
It is important to discuss COVID-19 with your clients and customers. If you are concerned about exposing yourself to COVID-19, communicate this with your clients and try to find social-distancing solutions. Do not provide advice that is outside of your area of expertise. Remember, and remind your clients that you are a real estate professional, not a public health expert. Direct your clients to government resources for information on COVID-19, and allow them to make their own decisions.
Q: Can I deposit trust funds electronically?
A: Yes, per the audit program “each deposit to a brokerage trust account must be supported by documentation by a trust deposit record that identifies the date, the payee and the transaction…” (p. 14). This means as long as the record from the financial institution provides the date, the payee, and amount, this is compliant. The broker can add transaction information on the record. There are no restrictions on how deposits can occur as long as these components are identified on the record. Brokers can deposit trust funds directly from the buyer via email money transfer, taking a picture of trust cheque to direct deposit to the trust account, wire transfer, etc.
Q: Can I disburse directly from the trust account?
A: Yes, per the audit program “each disbursement from a brokerage’s trust account must be supported by documentation from the financial institution that identifies the date, the payee, the financial institution processing date and the transaction…” (p. 15). This means as long as the record from the financial institution provides the date, the payee, amount, that is compliant. The broker can add the transaction identification to the record. There are no restrictions as long as those components are identified. Meaning, brokers can disburse trust funds to another brokerage’s trust account, lawyer’s trust account agreed buyer or seller via electronic means. Some examples are EFT’s, email money transfer, Exact Deposit.
Q: Can I mail documents to the Commission?
A: Yes, our mail is being forwarded to staff remotely, although we recommend you send an email to the respective department.
Q: Can I drop off documents to our office or send a fax to the Commission?
A: No, our office is closed. No one is at our office to accept documents or monitor faxes. Please email the respective department.