Electronic contracts are lawful, binding, and a constant presence in our lives. At one point, contracts required “wet ink” signatures, or special stamps, or other formalities. In the modern era (or at least, in modern countries), these formalities are dispensed with in favour of ease of doing business. In Ontario, some of these rules are formalized through 23 year old legislation: the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000. Similar laws exist elsewhere to enable online business. And yet, too many people are still signing agreements. Sometimes they sign them using Docusign or similar tools, where they're electronically mimicking the wet ink signature that's not needed. Lawyers sometimes encourage this, often because of a cultural belief in formality that might make people feel better about the whole thing. We can do better.
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