Regulators Go East: Canadian Regulators Group Conference Wrap-Up
| May 29, 2012
Real estate regulators from across Canada met in St. John’s, Newfoundland last week as part of the annual Canadian Regulators Group (CRG) Conference.
In attendance were staff from the real estate regulators in Newfoundland and New Brunswick, and staff from Quebec and all provinces West of Quebec. Despite the differences in the type and structure of regulation in each province (some government, some self-regulating, some jointly regulated), many of the issues at the forefront are similar across jurisdictions.
These annual meetings are an excellent opportunity to bring staff together to discuss the issues that are of national importance, and guest speakers are on hand to highlight emerging issues and trends.
Jan Robinson, Registrar and CEO of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, presented on “Fostering Confidence in Regulation Beyond 2012.” While she made a number of good points, perhaps her most important point for regulatory bodies is that public protection has to be thought of first and foremost. A customer service focus is fine, and engagement with stakeholders is critical – but regulators need to remain focused on their mandate. Transparency is critical, but at the end of the day, the public typically does not care about committee work. Rather, the public wants to understand a regulator’s mandate, the challenges and how the regulator is responding to those challenges.
Darrel Pink, Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, presented on “The Revolution in Professional Service Delivery.” As we look at the advent of new business models and new ways of doing business, it becomes even more important to recognize the changing expectations of clients and the huge obstacles that will arise for those who fail to see what is coming. The same can also be said about professional regulation. As business changes for our industry professionals, so too will it change for the regulation of those professionals.
Regulatory staff are also are given the opportunity to attend breakout sessions for their area of responsibility. Education, Compliance and Communications staff all attended a two-hour session with their peers from other jurisdictions to discuss changes and initiatives within their respective areas of responsibility.
The second day of the CRG conference was focused on information sharing between jurisdictions. As part of this year’s conference, attendees discussed labour mobility, electronic agreements and signatures, social media policies, education, language proficiency requirements and collaboration on education initiatives with industry associations and educational institutions.
The digital age has made buying and selling property across provincial borders easier than ever, and more efficient labour mobility and common education and licensing standards across the country are becoming increasingly important issues. We’ve spoken on collaboration many times in the past year, most notably with respect to stakeholders from within Alberta—but CRG is an excellent example of the collaboration that actually takes place across the country.