Chair’s Message – February 2018

The real estate industry in Alberta has had the privilege of self-regulation for more than 20 years. With the recent scrutiny of real estate self-regulation in British Columbia and Ontario—and in Alberta in other industries—this is a privilege we need to take more seriously than ever.

The core of the Real Estate Council of Alberta’s (RECA) ability to self-regulate the real estate industry is in its fulfillment of its mandate.

RECA protects Alberta consumers, and provides services that improve the business of industry professionals.

RECA is at the forefront of self-regulation in Canada; we are an example of how strong an industry can be when it’s effectively and efficiently regulated. Of course, RECA also believes in continuous improvement, so in my year as Chair, I want to continue Council’s focus on RECA’s mandate.

Protecting the Public

The Alberta government created a licensed and regulated industry through the Real Estate Council of Alberta’s administration of the Real Estate Act to help ensure Alberta consumers have access to ethical, professional, and competent real estate services. Consumers can trust an industry when there is strong education, high standards, and regulatory accountability.

Our licensed industry members are the guardians of that trust, which they build even before beginning a working relationship with a consumer. They do so through their advertising, their work in the community, and their reputation.

RECA wants to help industry professionals in their relationships with consumers through the development of consumer resources. The key source of consumer feedback and the basis of these consumer resources is the Consumer Advisory Committee, with additional feedback from RECA’s consumer focus groups. We will make sure the information consumers need is easy to find and easy to understand. When all parties understand the role of the real estate professional, and sign a document acknowledging their understanding, there are fewer misunderstandings or conflicts later on.

We continue to work on the design and development of condominium manager regulation. When the Condominium Property Amendment Act comes into effect, RECA will be responsible for educating, licensing, and regulating condominium managers. RECA continues to work behind the scenes on the next stage to ensure we will be ready when the time comes.

As with regulation of the real estate brokerage, mortgage brokerage, real estate appraisal, and property management industries, consumers can trust a regulated condominium management industry. Condominium ownership in Alberta is significant, and consumers who own condominiums or sit on condominium boards need to be able to trust the professionals they hire to manage their condominium corporations. Licensing and regulation will help build that trust.

Services that Enhance the Business of Industry Professionals

The services RECA provides industry professionals keeps them up-to-date in a changing regulatory landscape, and can help better serve consumers.

We just launched the Re-licensing Education Program (REP) course for commercial and property management real estate professionals. We’re excited to offer this as the first re-licensing course specific to commercial and property management real estate practitioners. The course content will help these professionals keep their business in line with legislation and appropriate commercial practices.

RECA knows there are other ways we can provide services to our industry professionals. You’ll see elsewhere in this newsletter that we’re launching a consultation on possible changes to the Rules for mortgage brokers/brokerages. RECA wants to be as good as we can be, and we strive to continuously improve for the betterment of the industry and to better protect consumers.

Consulting on the proposed changes, however, is only part of this initiative. The other part is to ensure that when we’re making – or proposing to make – such changes, we also work with industry members to offer them tools, resources, and information to make any transitions easier. We’re hopeful that mortgage brokerage industry members will see the benefit of providing their feedback as part of this consultation; together, we can strengthen the industry overall and enhance consumer protection.

I encourage you to read more about the consultation in this edition of the Regulator and to take part and make sure you’re voice is heard.

We are also approaching the one-year anniversary of Gary Siegle joining RECA as its Mortgage Broker Practice Advisor. Gary’s decades of experience as a mortgage broker and his years on Council means mortgage brokers and delegates have an excellent resource and service at their disposal.

Gary began his career with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and worked for decades in mortgage brokerage, mortgage insurance, and mortgage broker education. Gary is available to answer broker questions on a without prejudice basis, and he travels around the province making presentations to mortgage brokerage professionals and industry associations.

Appreciation

I would like to thank Council and RECA administration for their hard work and dedication during my time on Council, and look forward to working with everyone productively during my year as Chair.

It was an honour to serve with Christine Zwozdesky, our outgoing Chair. Christine will continue on Council as Past Chair, and I’ll greatly appreciate her experience and advice in my term as Chair.

I would also like to thank Tony Dhaliwal for his service on Council. As the public member appointed by Service Alberta, Tony worked tirelessly to ensure Council heard the public’s voice.
I want to welcome Amina Deiab as Tony’s replacement as public member on Council. Amina’s energy and professionalism are already a great addition at the Council table.

4 thoughts on “Chair’s Message – February 2018

  1. Hello Brian,

    I respectfully disagree with your views on self-regulation. It is my opinion that RAE should not be self-regulated. It lacks the ability for a fair hearing. In a court of law both lawyers must agree on the jury selection. In our system the “jury” consists of our peers/competition, hardly an unbiased Panel. You effectively have GM passing judgement on FORD. To make it worse, the Panel does not even have to give an explanation for their decision. According to our Bylaws, their decision is final and binding. You don’t have the opportunity to appeal the decision. Let me say that again….You don’t have the opportunity to appeal the decision. Does that sound fair to you? It would appear that self-regulation is above the law. Sounds like a kangaroo court to me.

    Ken Zilliox
    Broker
    Logic Realty

    • Good morning, Ken,

      I think you may be confusing RAE with RECA. Perhaps we can clarify things.

      RAE is an industry trade association in Edmonton. RECA is the provincial regulator and licensing body. RECA administers the Real Estate Act on behalf of the provincial government. RAE has rules for their members, and may have their own disciplinary hearings, but they are completely different and separate from RECA’s administration of the Real Estate Act and accompanying Rules.

      RECA is the self-regulatory body for Alberta’s real estate industry.

      RECA disciplinary actions have many of the powers of the Court for the trial of civil actions. Our hearing panels are mostly made up of Council members and industry professionals who have gone through extensive hearing panel training, and some of our hearing panel roster members must be members of the Law Society of Alberta. In RECA Hearing Panel decisions, the panel gives extensive reasoning for their decision, and for any fines or additional discipline imposed. Additionally, our disciplinary decisions can be appealed.

      Brian Klingspon is the current RECA Chair, and his message in this newsletter relates to RECA, its activities, processes, and self-regulation under RECA. I hope this clears things up.

      • Thanks for the explanation and clarification Brian. My apologies, I was talking about RAE. It is good to hear that you can appeal decisons of the RECA Hearing Panel.

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