Effective July 1, 2015 an amendment to the Electronic Commerce Act makes it legal for parties to sign agreements of purchase and sale and other documents that create or transfer an interest in land by way of electronic signatures. 

It is expected that this will make it more convenient and efficient to finalize agreements of purchase and sale than the current method of hard copy signatures that are scanned and then transmitted by fax or email. 

However, the use of electronic signatures is optional and parties can opt to use paper documents if they wish. The legislation further provides that electronic signatures will be effective only if “(a) the electronic signature is reliable for the purpose of identifying the person; and (b) the association of the electronic signature with the relevant electronic document is reliable.” Because of the reliability criteria, some parties may be reluctant, at least initially, to use electronic signatures for all real estate documents.