Good Character Policy
| February 07, 2017
Walter White. Leslie Knope, Tyrion Lannister. All are good characters, but unfortunately, they all don’t necessarily have good character.
What is good character? RECA must answer this question when determining a potential industry professional’s suitability to enter the industry, and when considering possible discipline for current industry professionals.
Why does RECA consider character?
Assessing good character is fundamental to RECA’s role in self-regulation. Industry professionals with good character serve the public interest, promote high ethical standards, and a professional mindset, and protect the reputation and integrity of the industry. These enhance public confidence in the industry and in self-regulation as a concept.
If it’s not broken, don’t fix it
For years, RECA has considered character when issuing licences and administering discipline. As part of Field Law’s Third Party Regulatory Review of RECA in 2016, Field recommended RECA increase the information available to applicants and industry members about how we define good character, and how we apply it to licensing applications and disciplinary matters.
And now, we have.
RECA’s Good Character Policy clarifies how RECA applies and interprets good character. The policy itself has not changed, but it is now available in writing to all potential and current industry professionals so they can better understand how good character might apply to their particular situation, whether it’s their licensing application or a potential disciplinary matter.
How Does RECA Define Good Character?
The Real Estate Act and Rules do not define good character. However, case law in Alberta and the rest of Canada defines good character as moral strength, and includes integrity, candour, empathy, and honesty. Based, in part, on this case law, RECA evaluates the following when assessing an individual’s good character:
Respect for the rule of law. RECA considers convictions under any law of any country when evaluating good character.
Honesty. This not only applies to dealings with the public or with clients, but also with RECA.
Governability. Accepting responsibility and respecting the rules RECA and the Real Estate Act establish are essential parts of the profession. RECA also considers a person’s history of regulation in another profession.
Financial responsibility. RECA considers disregard for trust obligations, taking financial responsibility, and seeking personal interest over financial obligations as serious matters.
Professionalism. Professionalism is a cornerstone of successful self-regulation. A lack of professionalism may demonstrate a lack of good character. Professional behaviour focuses on civility and having respect consumers, colleagues, and RECA.
Demonstrating Good Character
Potential Industry Professionals
When individuals submit a licensing application, they must answer a list of suitability questions concerning any past criminal convictions, charges, investigations, bankruptcies, and regulatory proceedings. Industry professionals answer similar questions when renewing their authorization annually or transferring brokerages. A positive response to any of these questions may be a sign of a character issue, and the Office of the Registrar automatically conducts a more thorough review of any application with such a “yes” answer.
Current Industry Professionals
Industry professionals have a number of situations or events they must report to the Executive Director immediately upon their occurrence (for example, criminal charges). Those notifications cannot wait for the annual renewal period or other licensing application.
When considering potential disciplinary action against an industry professional, RECA considers whether actions or behaviours by the industry professional undermines public confidence in, or integrity of, the industry, or brings the industry into disrepute (sec. 42(g) of the Real Estate Act Rules). Information received during an investigation into a complaint can trigger a review of character. Regardless if the information received is in relation to the complaint, if the information shows the professional may have brought the industry into disrepute, RECA will review good character.
Actions that may result in sanction under sec. 42(g) includes private conduct and activities that do not require a licence. If these activities result in bringing the industry into disrepute, RECA will consider them when determining good character.
RECA understands every situation is different, and RECA considers the specific circumstances surrounding the incident that gave rise to a review of someone’s character, as well as the person’s actions since the incident. RECA places significant weight on cooperation and honesty during its review process, and expects industry professionals and potential industry professionals to accept responsibility for their conduct.
Good character is a cornerstone of the real estate industry since its inception. Ensuring that only those with good character enter and remain in the industry is an integral part of RECA’s mandate to protect the public, and to enhance the business of industry professionals.
To review RECA’s policies on Good Character, click below: