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Ask an Expert

Q: How do I make my room look larger with colour?

A: It is all about illusion. Light colours will make your room look bigger and brighter. This is because light and brightly coloured walls are more reflective. Reflecting the natural light fools the eye. Dark colors absorb light, making the room look smaller. Always remember that brighter rooms look bigger and more inviting.



Ask an Expert - Make a room look larger

Transitioning to PST

On April 1, 2013, B.C. will be returning to a provincial sales tax (PST) system.

During the summer of 2011, British Columbians had the opportunity to participate in a province-wide referendum on the harmonized sales tax (HST). On August 26, 2011, Elections BC announced that British Columbians had voted in favour of eliminating the HST and returning to the provincial sales tax (PST) plus federal goods and services tax (GST) system.

Following the referendum results, government committed to make the transition back to the PST/GST system as quickly as responsibly possible. The Provincial Sales Tax Act received royal assent on May 31, 2012 and the PST will be re-implemented on April 1, 2013.

The Ministry of Finance continues to work on developing the regulations, and transitional and consequential amendments to other acts to support the provisions in the legislation introduced on May 14, 2012.

Transitional Rules

The PST transitional rules describe how and when PST applies to transactions that straddle April 1, 2013, when B.C. returns to the PST.


PST outreach to businesses begins in October.  Read about the different outreach services available.


Read about why the PST is coming back, see timelines and more.



A Subway for the Broadway Corridor

Today (27 Nov, 2012) at Council, staff presented an update on the Broadway Subway line, which would provide rapid transit along Vancouver’s Broadway corridor. The corridor has the second most jobs in the Province and is the busiest transit corridor in North America.
Staff made the case on why a subway through the Broadway Corridor (extending out to UBC) is the recommended transit priority for Vancouver. Reasons include:
  • A subway is the only technology that can meet Broadway’s ridership needs
  • A subway could handle 20,000 people per hour, compared to just 7,000 for a streetcar
  • Transit volumes would double on Broadway if rapid transit capacity was added
  • A Streetcar would require 90% of parking spots removed along Broadway, along with turn restrictions at 90% of intersections. It would also be at full capacity on day one of opening.

Investing in a subway for the Broadway Corridor (extending to UBC) would benefit all of the Metro Vancouver region, not just the City of Vancouver. This is because:

  • 50% of trips to UBC and the Broadway Corridor are from outside Vancouver
  •  2,000 transit passengers are passed up at Commercial Broadway station during rush hour
  •  The Broadway Corridor is the second biggest job centre in British Columbia

A Broadway Subway line is city policy and is part of the Transportation 2040 plan, as it is the only way the City can achieve its transportation and greenhouse gas reduction targets. To view the staff presentation, see below or click here:

70% of Young Canadians Want More Financial Information About Purchasing a Home

Ottawa, ON, November 26, 2012 – Consumers have a new tool to help navigate the complexities and financial implications of purchasing a home. Earlier today, The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) launched the Homebuyers’ Road Map. The Road Map is available on my website.

In a recent Nanos Research survey1 for CREA, more than 63% of Canadians indicated a “major need” for more information about the financial details of buying a home. That figure rose to 70% for respondents between the ages of 18 and 29.

“As REALTORS®, we appreciate that young Canadians and first-time homebuyers are craving more information about the financial details required to purchase a home. The purpose of the Homebuyers’ Road Map is to empower consumers with the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions about one of the largest purchases they will ever make,” said Gary Simonsen, CREA’s CEO. “We’re proud to have collaborated with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada to develop this guide.”

Launched to coincide with Financial Literacy Month, the Homebuyers’ Road Map is a guide which will help Canadians better understand the home buying process as well as appreciate the importance of negotiating with lenders and researching government programs.

“Helping Canadians plan for the future, make sound decisions and ensure the financial security of their loved ones are essential in this increasingly complex world,” said Shelly Glover, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance.

“Buying a home involves a number of steps and many buyers need some help in understanding the various options available. In order to make the decision that matches their own circumstances and goals, consumers need some money know-how — which is what financial literacy really is,” added Ursula Menke, Commissioner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). “This guide will help people make the right decision, and adds to the information on mortgages, loans and banking available on our website,”

For more information and to learn all about my Home Finder Service, please contact: Gino Pezzani


Can You Sell Your home By Email?

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal recently considered whether an exchange of emails between a prospective buyer and seller of residential property constituted a binding contract.1The property was listed for sale on Kijiji. After an initial phone call, the buyer and seller negotiated a sale by email. The seller emailed the buyer offering to sell the property for $160,000, providing the buyer assumed the mortgage and paid her legal fees. The buyer emailed agreeing to assume the mortgage, pay the seller’s legal fees and offer $155,000. The buyer also emailed asking if his wife could view the property. The seller emailed back advising the buyer that she would accept his offer. The buyer’s next email suggested he have a purchase and sales agreement drafted and proposed a closing date. Three hours later the seller emailed the buyer advising that after speaking with her partner, she was not prepared to sell the property. The seller was the sole owner of the property.The buyer sought a judicial determination that the email exchange resulted in a binding agreement. The buyer argued that the email exchange constituted a written agreement, contained all the essential contract terms, satisfied the definition of electronic signature under New Brunswick’s Electronic Transactions Act2 (NB ETA), and therefore satisfied that provisions under that province’s Statute of Frauds3 which, like BC’s Law & Equity Act4, provide that no contract for the sale of land is enforceable unless the agreement is in writing and signed by the party charged.

While the case concerned New Brunswick legislation, BC’s legislation is substantially the same.5 The BC Electronic Transactions Act6, like the NB ETA, provides that contracts for the sale of land may be entered into electronically providing the parties agree, and providing the other common law requirements for contract formation are satisfied. Both Acts provide that the legal requirement for a signature is satisfied with an electronic signature and define electronic signature similarly, as information in electronic form that a person has created or adopted in order to sign a document and that is in, attached to or associated with the document.

While the lower court found a binding agreement, the Court of Appeal held otherwise. The higher Court acknowledged that the emails satisfied the written requirement of the Statute of Frauds and commented, without making any conclusion in this case, that it was possible that the method of the seller identifying herself in the emails could satisfy the definition of electronic signature under the NB ETA, and thus the requirements of the Statute of Frauds.

The Court also acknowledged that the email exchange contained the essential elements for a contract: parties, price, property. However, applying the objective standard of the “reasonable bystander”, the Court concluded that the parties lacked the requisite intention to contract, a criterion for contract formation. In reaching its conclusion, the Court considered the fact that neither the buyer nor his wife had viewed the property, the buyer’s reference to a future draft agreement, and the fact that the buyer was unaware of the terms of assuming the mortgage.

The following passage illustrates the Court’s concern with finding enforceable contracts by informal electronic communications, particularly in transactions involving the sale of residential property:

“The notion that a person can sift through a series of emails, identify the 3 P’s, find a signature that satisfies the Electronic Transactions Act and, correlatively, the Statute of Frauds, and then have the court fill in any necessary contractual terms is simply out of step with reasonable expectations of today’s typical consumer. There are still instances where formalities count. The purchase of a home is one of them.”7

The decision is encouraging as the Court recognized that the sale of real property is a sophisticated process, where formality is required and consequently, the expertise of licensees.

Jennifer A. Clee
B.A., LL.B.

1.Druit v. Girouard 2012 NBCA 40.
2.R.S.N.B. 2011, c. 145.
3.R.S.N.B. 1973, c. S-14.
4.R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 253, s. 59.
5.See also Legally Speaking 450: Electronic Signatures (—november-2011-(450))
6.S.B.C. 2001, c. 10.
7.Supra, footnote 1, page 3.