Chair’s Message – February 2017
| February 07, 2017
Christine Zwozdesky, Chair
The Government of Alberta created RECA in 1996 to develop and enforce protections for the Alberta public when they use a licensed industry professional. A lot has changed in two decades, and as it has, the industry has stepped up: adopting specialty licensing and education, creating new business models, and embracing new technologies.
This year marks a new chapter for the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA). After 20 years of progressive self-regulation in this Province, and years spent advancing professionalism in real estate, RECA begins executing an exciting new Strategic Plan with an amplified focus on our stakeholders—their needs, their priorities, and enhanced engagement with them.
Past research has demonstrated that consumers have too little awareness of RECA, the protections afforded them under the Real Estate Act, and the high standards in place for industry professionals. I’m excited to work with the newly created Consumer Advisory Committee, made up of Albertans from a variety of backgrounds. The Committee will provide advice to Council on consumer issues, and, with their input, Council will continue to develop its consumer awareness campaign.
Council is also positioning itself to be the “go to” resource for consumer protection education in a real estate, mortgage, property management, or appraisal transaction. We are developing clear and straightforward materials and initiatives to inform the public and to help them make educated and timely decisions related to the real estate industry. Educated consumers are protected consumers, and protected consumers know they can trust and have confidence in the industry professionals RECA regulates.
A strong, knowledgeable industry goes a long way towards protecting consumers, and industry professionals in Alberta can look forward to practical and engaging educational offerings and resources from RECA, including sector-specific re-licensing education, Broker-specific training, and the launch of the most comprehensive commercial real estate pre-licensing course in the country.
Awareness of RECA doesn’t just apply to consumers. Industry professionals themselves must have extensive knowledge of the regulations as they apply to their work, and how they are accountable for maintaining our industry standards. They should know what resources RECA offers them, and understand how a regulated industry advances their interests.
Openness and Transparency
Most importantly, RECA is here to listen, to talk, to learn, and to share—with the industry, with consumers, with industry associations, and with government. Through direct consultation, industry advisory committees, and the 20/20 groups, we want to work with industry to promote professionalism and consumer protection.
In addition to our current outreach work with stakeholder groups, Council recently approved a discussion paper on potential changes to RECA and Council practices, designed to enhance openness and transparency. I look forward to sharing that paper with stakeholders in the coming weeks, and later reviewing the important feedback we receive from those on the front lines of real estate.
It has been my honour to serve with our outgoing Chair, Krista Bolton. She has worked tirelessly on Council as a public member, always keeping the needs of industry and consumers at the heart of her efforts. I extend to Krista my heartfelt thanks for her faithful stewardship and look forward to her continuing counsel and sage advice in the coming year. I also express our sincere thanks to four dedicated Council members: John Farmer, Angela Kolody, Stan Kushner, and Gary Siegle, all of whom completed their term on Council on October 31, 2016. Their outstanding commitment, their passion for our mandate and their principled perspectives were highly valued at the Council table.