Self-Regulation: Together We Can Do So Much Image

Self-Regulation: Together We Can Do So Much


My first thought when I was invited to participate in the Real Estate Council of Alberta’s (RECA) Symposium on Self-Regulation was what is it? Now before I get into details with that, I would like to present a challenge to you. As you read this blog, erase your current perspective of RECA, any history you have with them and read this with an open mind. Because if you do that, I believe you are going to admire the initiative that RECA has taken with their role in self regulation.

RECA invited more than a hundred industry stakeholders to a Symposium (a big word for “discussion”) to collaborate on defining self-regulation. What impressed me with this concept is that a regulatory body (RECA) actually had a genuine interest in what its various stakeholders had to say.

I expected there would be a selection of practitioners from Alberta including real estate practitioners (like myself), appraisers, mortgage brokers and maybe even home inspectors, but in fact, the room was filled with far more diversity, experience and perspectives. There were representatives from real estate boards and councils from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, there were also representatives from the Alberta Real Estate Association, the Real Estate Insurance Exchange, the University of Alberta, Service Alberta, the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Real Estate Association and representation from appraiser and home inspection associations. For an entire day, we worked together as a group to provide our ideas and opinions to RECA about self-regulation.

What I took away from the one-day event was this:

The humility that was demonstrated by RECA to open themselves up to criticism by various stakeholders spoke volumes to me. This is not a regulatory body that is looking to rule with an iron fist, this is a group of leaders that would prefer to have “buy-in” from us as industry professionals so that the standards that are set by RECA are integrated into our day-to-day operations.

In listening to the various conversations throughout the day, I began to realize that some industry professionals view RECA as “the bad guy.” As an owner of a small, independent, real estate brokerage that started in May 2009, I embraced RECA as an integral part of my business from day one. RECA has been and will continue to be a huge support system to my brokerage as I value and respect the role they play in this industry. What I realized from listening to these various perspectives is that our attitude is going to impact the role that RECA plays in our businesses. We should not have a “we” versus “them” attitude. If we change our attitudes by letting go of any negative history, it will naturally change our perspectives and allow us to keep an open mind to the positive contributions that RECA can have in our businesses.

It was not a requirement of RECA to have our involvement in these discussions; it was a choice they made as a gesture of good faith to us as industry professionals and to continue to be leaders in self-regulation. What I think we sometimes forget is that RECA is bound by legislation and self-regulation is a privilege not a right. Ultimately, it is the consumer that is forcing regulatory responsiveness so we should view our commitment to regulation as a commitment to the consumer.

After a full day discussion on self-regulation, the message is very simple. As industry professionals, if we wake up each morning and commit to governing ourselves in a highly professional manner with accountability for our actions and honesty and transparency in our business practices, we will have captured the essence of self-regulation. Let’s impress the consumer by showing them the true value and effectiveness of self-regulation.

Susan Rochefort
Lime Green Realty Inc.