May 29, 2008
Canadian Federal Government about to impose on your privacy!
Did you know that the Canadian Federal Government is almost ready to impose a new law which is part of FINTRAC, which will require all Realtors in Canada to keep records and copies of clients' drivers licenses or passports? The scary part is I just heard about it and the government wants to slide this through before the Canadian public has a chance to scream over this infringement of privacy.
As I understand it the government by law (with jail and fines if not done by Realtors) will require Canadian RealtorsÒ to take and make copies of all buyers and sellers their drivers license and or passport prior to any Real Estate transaction and then must be keep on file with the RealtorsÒ broker for 7 years (What happened to the privacy laws just enacted?). The governments' argument is they are trying to stop money laundering by organized crime. Will that sounds honorable...Not!
Most real estate brokers and agents no longer handle cash for deposits. It is mostly cheques, certified or money orders. I had asked why it is RealtorsÒ and not Lawyers that have to do this. I guess the Lawyers got out of it because they promised not to handle more that $7000 in cash. Well we in most cases do not handle cash as noted above at all.
What happens if someone breaks into an office or hacks a hard drive and now has access to all this personal info? Once the law passes, you bet it will be the fault of the Realtor and their broker and off to jail or fines we go.
The other underhanded part is the Canadian government has said nothing to the public about this and wants us RealtorsÒ to pitch the bad news and make us out to be the bad guys.
I guess the CREA (Canadian Real Estate Association) is and has been fighting this law behind the seen for some time but this law is about to be passed some time in June 2008 (next month).
I cannot imagine as a Canadian citizen having copies of my license or passport in filing cabinets or hard drives throughout Canada as I buy and sell real estate in my lifetime. Can you?
My main point to this rant is to get anyone else that thinks this is wrong to call, email, and write his or her Member of Parliament or MLA and have this stopped. Go to your local press, as I do not think they even know about this. The more of use that do will put pressure and law makers to stop and think (we hope).
Dean Birks (Canadian Citizen and RealtorÒ)