Chair’s Message – February 2018
| February 07, 2018
The real estate industry in Alberta has had the privilege of self-regulation for more than 20 years. With the recent scrutiny of real estate self-regulation in British Columbia and Ontario—and in Alberta in other industries—this is a privilege we need to take more seriously than ever.
The core of the Real Estate Council of Alberta’s (RECA) ability to self-regulate the real estate industry is in its fulfillment of its mandate.
RECA protects Alberta consumers, and provides services that improve the business of industry professionals.
RECA is at the forefront of self-regulation in Canada; we are an example of how strong an industry can be when it’s effectively and efficiently regulated. Of course, RECA also believes in continuous improvement, so in my year as Chair, I want to continue Council’s focus on RECA’s mandate.
Protecting the Public
The Alberta government created a licensed and regulated industry through the Real Estate Council of Alberta’s administration of the Real Estate Act to help ensure Alberta consumers have access to ethical, professional, and competent real estate services. Consumers can trust an industry when there is strong education, high standards, and regulatory accountability.
Our licensed industry members are the guardians of that trust, which they build even before beginning a working relationship with a consumer. They do so through their advertising, their work in the community, and their reputation.
RECA wants to help industry professionals in their relationships with consumers through the development of consumer resources. The key source of consumer feedback and the basis of these consumer resources is the Consumer Advisory Committee, with additional feedback from RECA’s consumer focus groups. We will make sure the information consumers need is easy to find and easy to understand. When all parties understand the role of the real estate professional, and sign a document acknowledging their understanding, there are fewer misunderstandings or conflicts later on.
We continue to work on the design and development of condominium manager regulation. When the Condominium Property Amendment Act comes into effect, RECA will be responsible for educating, licensing, and regulating condominium managers. RECA continues to work behind the scenes on the next stage to ensure we will be ready when the time comes.
As with regulation of the real estate brokerage, mortgage brokerage, real estate appraisal, and property management industries, consumers can trust a regulated condominium management industry. Condominium ownership in Alberta is significant, and consumers who own condominiums or sit on condominium boards need to be able to trust the professionals they hire to manage their condominium corporations. Licensing and regulation will help build that trust.
Services that Enhance the Business of Industry Professionals
The services RECA provides industry professionals keeps them up-to-date in a changing regulatory landscape, and can help better serve consumers.
We just launched the Re-licensing Education Program (REP) course for commercial and property management real estate professionals. We’re excited to offer this as the first re-licensing course specific to commercial and property management real estate practitioners. The course content will help these professionals keep their business in line with legislation and appropriate commercial practices.
RECA knows there are other ways we can provide services to our industry professionals. You’ll see elsewhere in this newsletter that we’re launching a consultation on possible changes to the Rules for mortgage brokers/brokerages. RECA wants to be as good as we can be, and we strive to continuously improve for the betterment of the industry and to better protect consumers.
Consulting on the proposed changes, however, is only part of this initiative. The other part is to ensure that when we’re making – or proposing to make – such changes, we also work with industry members to offer them tools, resources, and information to make any transitions easier. We’re hopeful that mortgage brokerage industry members will see the benefit of providing their feedback as part of this consultation; together, we can strengthen the industry overall and enhance consumer protection.
I encourage you to read more about the consultation in this edition of the Regulator and to take part and make sure you’re voice is heard.
We are also approaching the one-year anniversary of Gary Siegle joining RECA as its Mortgage Broker Practice Advisor. Gary’s decades of experience as a mortgage broker and his years on Council means mortgage brokers and delegates have an excellent resource and service at their disposal.
Gary began his career with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and worked for decades in mortgage brokerage, mortgage insurance, and mortgage broker education. Gary is available to answer broker questions on a without prejudice basis, and he travels around the province making presentations to mortgage brokerage professionals and industry associations.
I would like to thank Council and RECA administration for their hard work and dedication during my time on Council, and look forward to working with everyone productively during my year as Chair.
It was an honour to serve with Christine Zwozdesky, our outgoing Chair. Christine will continue on Council as Past Chair, and I’ll greatly appreciate her experience and advice in my term as Chair.
I would also like to thank Tony Dhaliwal for his service on Council. As the public member appointed by Service Alberta, Tony worked tirelessly to ensure Council heard the public’s voice.
I want to welcome Amina Deiab as Tony’s replacement as public member on Council. Amina’s energy and professionalism are already a great addition at the Council table.