The Canadian province of Ontario is cracking down on mortgage fraud, introducing changes in its Real Estate and Brokers Act, the Mississauga News reported Wednesday.

Fines for mortgage fraud will increase and a new code of ethics for the mortgage industry with be introduced, among other things, media reports said.

“We know that buying and selling a house are some of the most important decisions people make in their lifetimes,” Gary Phillips, Ontario’s minister of government services, told the Mississauga News. “These changes to the industry will significantly improve protections for consumers.”

The changes include a more than doubling of the fines as part of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, media reports said. A code of ethics will also become part of the law, according to reports.

If someone violates the Real Estate Act in ways that include a faulty mortgage transaction, the fine will jump from $25,000 to $50,000, reports said. If a company violates that act, the fine jumps from $100,000 per company to $250,000, reports said.

Real estate agents and mortgage brokers will have to abide by a new code of ethics, and under the new act, brokerage companies are required to be managed by a licensed broker, according to reports. Both of these measures provide stronger accountability under the law, Phillips told the Mississauga News.

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