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Letter to the Editor: The ORWP is a long-awaited lifeline

The new OREA wellness program, from my viewpoint, is a fabulous and beneficial program that is going to be implemented soon for Ontario realtors. Keep in mind this is my opinion, and although many are opposed, many are still in favour.
 
You see, I haven’t been covered by benefits in over 17 years. That’s 17 years of having to pay for everything at full price. That’s travel insurance, life insurance, dental, vision and more, which I haven’t had since before 2010. I’ve even been declined for certain programs that I have tried to apply for because of a rare blood disorder that most insurance companies don’t cover because it scares them and they know nothing about; and if I was able to get it, the amount I would have had to pay would have been an extreme amount; more than medications, etc., per year.
 
With the ORWP, there are no medical tests or questionnaires required to participate. That in itself is beyond incredible for me.
 
I’ve talked to many others that are covered by spouses, etc. or on other family plans, but I haven’t had that opportunity. Both my fiance and I are self-employed, which is hard to support a family of 5 and the cost of living plus an added astronomical amount towards benefits & coverage. Finally, an answer we have been looking for.
 
Never mind the added bonus of dental and eye care for a small added fee. Both of which I require as an individual.
 
I’ve heard talk of how some think it’s not fair for this program to be mandatory or how realtors shouldn’t be involved with organized real estate and not be members of OREA. But why? Why would you then do a disservice to your clients and not want to have access to the MLS system or be covered by errors or omissions? I know some people are incredibly set off by the lack of an opt-out option and the mandatory amount we must pay.
 
OREA says, “The premium for the Standard Plan will be $659.88 annually per Member and will form part of the OREA dues, bringing the total annual OREA dues to $769.88. For less than $2 a day, 96,000 Members across this province will have the peace of mind of a safety net.”
 
$2 a day, that’s it? To have backing from an insurance company, to have safety and a little reassurance when travelling or getting new glasses. That’s the same price as a large coffee from Tim Hortons.
 
We were all sent the same emails asking for our input regarding what we thought and what we, as TRREB members, were looking for.. stability!
 
Why is it a problem now? Because OREA or TRREB didn’t specifically ask whether you would want this if it was mandatory. Or because your voice wasn’t heard?
 
I voted for our representation for TRREB, and I have attended OREA AGMs in the past. I am involved with knowing and learning more about our industry, and I also watch the virtual meetings online. I got involved and understood what is happening through different task forces within our industry, so I feel I have the right to speak out about this topic.
 
Have you? Have you gotten involved? Read all our emails? Know what’s happening within your own board? If the answer is no, then let me be blunt. I don’t feel that there is an option for you to blame others or get angry over a mandatory benefits program. Do you want a change? Then get involved!
 
I’m seriously excited for the program to start in January. I encourage everyone that’s not as excited to look at it from another point of view.
 
Erin Corcoran
Sales representative
Re/Max Prime Properties
 
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