Christine Zwozdesky – Chair, Real Estate Council of Alberta
We want to hear from you on Openness and Transparency
I hope many of you have taken the time to review and respond to the Openness and Transparency Consultation Paper we distributed to stakeholders in late February. This is an important initiative, and we are keen to hear how RECA can better engage with you. Please take a few extra moments to read the Consultation Paper before completing the survey, as the paper provides important context to the proposals Council is considering.
In preparing proposals for the Consultation Paper, Council’s Governance Committee explored the practices of other regulatory bodies and organizations. The research demonstrated tremendous variances in openness and transparency practices between them. In comparing that research with our existing practices, we know that RECA has already embraced more open and transparent approaches to self-regulation, but we’re committed to taking that further as part of our current Strategic Plan.
Council wants transparency that is relevant, accessible, and sustainable, and we are putting forward proposals that promote these standards. That said, we are still open to new ideas from all our stakeholders. I encourage you to share any ideas you have as part of this consultation process.
Strategic Plan Update
We continue to develop and complete initiatives for Year 1 of RECA’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. Over the past three months, RECA has continued our focus on consumer outreach. Staff and Council Members attended consumer trade shows in Edmonton and Calgary, we participated in Fraud Prevention Month alongside law enforcement and other regulatory agencies in Alberta, and we launched a regular column, “Ask Charles,” in community newsletters delivered to 200,000 households in Calgary and Edmonton. If you haven’t had a chance, review our mortgage fraud awareness resources for consumers on RECA’s website, including the Dig Deeper video, which is now playing on televisions in courthouses across the province.
I’m also pleased by the creation of the Alberta Home Buyer’s Guide. This is a self-contained, mobile-friendly microsite that is a one-stop-shop for Alberta consumers interested in buying property. Look for the companion Alberta Home Seller’s Guide in the Fall of 2017.
Council Member Profiles
I am delighted to congratulate Brian Klingspon, the AREA appointee from Edmonton, on his selection as Chair Elect to Council. Brian is also Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee, and Chair of our new Consumer Advisory Committee. The latter group are just beginning their consultations but, under his leadership, are yielding valuable and fascinating insights to our work in consumer protection and advocacy.
I am also pleased to have Rob Telford, the real estate appraisal appointee, re-join Council. As a former Chair of Council, he contributes critical continuity and experiential wisdom to our deliberations, which I know he will bring to bear as Chair of our Legislation Review Committee as well as Chair of the Appraisal Advisory Committee.
Stan Mills, an AREA appointee from Lethbridge, brings many years of real estate savvy and industry knowledge to the Council table. We are also grateful that Stan has accepted an appointment to REIX on behalf of Council, and serves our Hearings Committee. In both instances, he will have a significant opportunity to affect our industry practices with his expertise.
Our firecracker from Okotoks, Bonny Clarke, is a non-AREA industry professional appointed to Council. Bonny currently brings her considerable talents from the mortgage sector to her duties as Chair of our Hearings Committee and she is another dedicated member of our Governance and Legislation Review Committees.
Ramey Demian, a former instructor of licensing education, is an AREA appointee for Commercial Real Estate and chairs the Commercial Real Estate Advisory Committee. Ramey also infuses all his work with a genuine spirit of collaboration and helps Council to build consensus in his roles on our Governance and Legislation Review Committees.
Look for more profiles of your Council members in the next issue of the Regulator.