Chair’s Message – November 2017
| November 02, 2017
Christine Zwozdesky, Chair
In my final message as Chair, I’d like to begin by thanking my fellow Council members for their hard work, honest opinions, and tireless efforts towards making our industry as professional and strong as possible. Self-regulation does not work unless the stewards entrusted with its care are fully committed to consumer protection.
I would like to say a special thank you and congratulations to Brian Klingspon and Bonny Clarke, who are taking on the roles of Chair and Chair-Elect, respectively, for the next year. I look forward to working closely with both of you, and with all of Council, in my role as Past Chair.
Strategic Plan: Year 1
My term as Chair was the first year of RECA’s 2016-2020 stakeholder-focused strategic plan. An important part of that plan is stakeholder communication and openness and transparency, and I strongly believe Council took this focus to heart with our work this year.
Openness and Transparency
One of the most notable initiatives this year was RECA’s consultation on and progress with respect to openness and transparency. Many of you took the time to let us know what you think, and your thoughts are reflected in the policy decisions Council made at its July 2017 meeting. As we move into 2018, you’ll see Council meeting agendas and minutes posted online, we’ll explore options for hosting an online Annual General Meeting, we’ll post Notices of Hearings and Hearing dates, and we’ll remove restrictions on the publication of disciplinary action.
Work on openness and transparency will continue throughout the life of the strategic plan, and beyond.
I’m also pleased to say that RECA completed nearly all of the 33 recommendations made by Field Law in their Third-Party Regulatory Review of RECA processes. One of the most exciting things to come out of these recommendations is a plain-language summary of Part 2 of the Real Estate Act Rules. These summaries are on RECA’s website, and are a great way for consumers to understand the standards of conduct expected of a licensed industry professional. I’m also pleased with the publication of RECA’s Good Character Policies. Publication of these policies provides licence applicants and industry professionals with information on what RECA expects of them in terms of character, and how their character can affect the licensing or conduct decision.
Continuing with its focus on stakeholder needs, RECA significantly expanded its presence with consumers this year.
RECA started the year with the creation of the Consumer Advisory Committee. Through that committee, a diverse group of Alberta consumers comes together to let Council know directly how RECA’s awareness campaigns are working, what experiences they’ve had working with industry professionals, and some of the consumer-related issues RECA should address going forward. The committee met twice in 2016–2017, and will continue to meet in the coming year.
In 2016–2017, RECA also launched comprehensive, mobile-friendly websites www.homebuyersguidealberta.ca and www.homesellersguidealberta.ca, published Ask Charles columns in community newsletters across the province, and experienced significant increase in consumer traffic to RECA’s website because of our digital ad campaign.
I was pleased to continue RECA’s valuable partnerships with post-secondary institutions this year. In the past year, RECA entered a Memorandum of Understanding with MacEwan University, under which they will use RECA’s courses to develop their minor program in property management. RECA also renewed its existing MOU with Olds College, who offer RECA’s Property Valuation course as part of their Land and Environment Program. RECA remains open to exploring further partnerships with educational institutions to create maximum access for potential industry professionals.
As we move into Year 2 of our strategic plan, I look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationships with stakeholders. This will include timely, effective, and efficient stakeholder consultations, and further consumer outreach.
Thank you to my fellow Council Members, to our volunteer committee members, to Bob Myroniuk and his stellar administration team, and to industry professionals across the province who remain committed to effective self-regulation and consumer protection.