Joseph Fernandez is the Registrar at the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA). Joseph Fernandez is no stranger to regulating the real estate industry, “I have been with RECA since day one,” says Joseph, who has worked at the Real Estate Council of Alberta since its inception on July 1, 1996.
Prior to joining RECA, Joseph worked as an investigator for the Alberta government conducting investigations under various statutes including the former Mortgage Brokers Regulation Act and Real Estate Agents Licensing Act, the precursors to the current Real Estate Act. Over time he worked as a manager, and when he left government to join RECA, he was the Acting Director of Licensing in Trades and Businesses. “This was in essence a registrar role” Joseph says of the position. “I dealt with licensing policies and issues.”
When RECA was established in 1996, Joseph became responsible for RECA’s Audit and Investigations program, a role he held for 15 years. He has worked in his current role as RECA’s Registrar since December 1, 2011.
His current work as RECA’s Registrar brings his career full circle. “As Registrar, I have three main areas of responsibility,” says Joseph, who oversees the education programs, the licensing process, and Consumer and Information Services.
The first area of Joseph’s responsibility is RECA Education, which includes pre-licensing and re-licensing education, as well as continuous learning. According to Joseph, “we strive to provide innovative, leading-edge education that creates competent professionals who are highly valued and respected by the public.”
Joseph says that developing and administering education programs has been a journey for RECA. He says that, “We do many surveys with new and existing professionals, and their brokers to evaluate the education we offer, and help us continue to improve and progress.”
Joseph adds that, “We are introducing more content and application exercises that will enhance learners’ preparation for future learning in their areas of practice. These enhancements will focus on learners’ capacity to effectively problem solve by enhancing their understanding of the key concepts of their profession. It changes the focus of education from specific situations such as filling out the blanks in certain forms to empowering them to be able to properly navigate new circumstances they may encounter as part of their practice.”
The licensing process is the second area of Joseph’s responsibility, and he says this involves three key aspects. “We try to facilitate a licensing process that is effective, efficient, and intuitive,” Joseph says. “I think the new myRECA system is a great example of this. The new platform has made licensing easier for everybody involved.”
Another aspect of the licensing process is screening for compliance with the entry requirements. “We screen applicants for eligibility, including requirements such as being able to work in Canada, being proficient in English, and ensuring they meet education requirements,” Joseph says.
“A further aspect of the licensing progress is ensuring that anyone entering the industry is of good character,” he adds. “We must ensure that licensing them is in the public’s best interest and that granting them a licence won’t undermine the integrity of the profession.”
The third aspect of Joseph’s responsibility as RECA’s Registrar involves overseeing Consumer and Industry Services. “We are motivated by service excellence as we try to provide timely, comprehensive, and accurate information in a polite and professional way,” Joseph says. “In our discussions with consumers and professionals we try to anticipate issues so the information we provide is rich and thorough.”
With Joseph having such a diverse scope of responsibilities at RECA, it’s no surprise that each workday for him can be different.
“One day I might be reviewing a course, the next I could be assisting Consumer and Industry Staff with an unusual information request,” he says. One thing that remains consistent is the important role the Office of the Registrar plays in elevating the professionalism of Alberta’s industry.
Joseph says that, “we are hoping to raise the professionalism and standing of the industry in the eyes of the public.” He plans to accomplish this “by enhancing pre-licensing and re-licensing education, providing ongoing information and support, and by ensuring that applicants meet the standards of high functioning, highly-ethical professionals.
Joseph adds that he loves his work as the Registrar and enjoys being part of the cohesive and competent team that makes up the Office of the Registrar. He also enjoys the interactions he has with both current and prospective industry professionals. “It’s a pleasure to interact with people in the various professions that RECA regulates, and it is a pleasure to work with those individuals.”