On June 28, 2013, Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced the appointment of Parliamentary Assistant, MPP Steven Del Duca to lead the first five-year review of Ontario's Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, 2006 (the Ontario Act).

The Ontario Act, which came into force in 2008, statutorily mandates a five-year review of the mortgage broker legislation. It also requires that, as part of the review, the government engage in consultations with the public regarding the operation of the legislation and regulations.

On August 14, 2013, the Ministry of Finance released a Consultation Backgrounder inviting the public to participate in the review process by providing written submissions to Mr. Del Duca by September 16, 2013. It is expected that final recommendations will be submitted by Mr. Del Duca to the Minister by the end of 2013 and that the recommendations will also be made available to the public.

The consultation process provides the public, and particularly participants in the mortgage industry, with the opportunity to recommend changes to the legislation, including changes necessary to modernize the legislation to bring it into line with current mortgage broker practices. Among other things, it also presents commercial mortgage lenders with a unique opportunity to clarify with the government that the Ontario Act only applies to consumer mortgages.

Despite references to consumers in the consultation materials published prior to the enactment of the Ontario Act, and to the government's stated intention that the first five-year review of the Ontario Act will focus on ways to "strengthen the already substantial consumer protection provisions in the act", the Ontario Act does not expressly limit the application of the legislation and regulations to consumer mortgages. As such, commercial mortgage lenders and other stakeholders operating in the commercial mortgage space may want to take this opportunity to confirm that the Ontario Act is fundamentally consumer protection legislation that is intended to protect consumer lenders and consumer borrowers and to recommend that the Ontario Act be revised to make this notion more explicit in the legislation and/or regulations.

Please click here for a link to the Ministry of Finance Consultation on the initial five-year review of the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders, and Administrators Act, 2006.