Message from the Chair
| February 09, 2021
Patricia McLeod, Q.C.
Board Chair of the Real Estate Council of Alberta
Hello everyone! My name is Patricia McLeod and I have the honour of being the first Board Chair of the restructured Real Estate Council of Alberta. I am a member of the public, and I was appointed to this role by the Minister of Service Alberta. I look forward to stewarding the regulation of the exciting and ever-changing real estate industry in Alberta for the next three years. I have been a lawyer in Alberta since 1996, and for the past several years I also served on a number of boards.
“But wait a minute,” I can hear you say. “Wasn’t there always a Chair of RECA?” Yes, there was previously a Chair of the RECA Council, elected to that position by the other Council Members. However, under the modernized governance model that came into force on December 1, 2020, there is no longer a single Council governing RECA. Instead, there are four Industry Councils—one for each of the industry sectors—and a
Board of Directors to oversee everything.
This should be old news to all of you (and if it’s not, please be sure to review the changes that came into force on December 1 later on in this Regulator), but I think it is important that certain aspects of the new governance structure be clearly understood by all stakeholders. These changes did not simply give new names to the same governing body. What these changes have done is usher in a new era of regulation for Alberta’s licensees, one where all stakeholders are fully represented, can meaningfully take part in regulation, and can help ensure and maintain the protection of the public interest.
Firstly, the new Board and Industry Councils have 40% consumer representation, while the old Council had only 17% consumer representation. This is perhaps the most meaningful change to the Real Estate Act, and a change I personally believe in strongly. RECA regulates licensees in the public interest, after all. It’s the entire point of regulation. The public should have a stronger say in how that regulation happens, and with the new Board and Industry Councils, this is the case.
Secondly, by giving some of the powers of the old Council to the new Industry Councils—particularly the power to set the education requirements and standards of conduct—each sector can have more direct control of how that sector and its licensees are regulated. In the past, Council was made up of representatives from all sectors who made decisions regarding every sector of the real estate industry. The modernized governance structure allows for each sector to engage with and regulate its stakeholders in a more meaningful, direct way.
It will be my job, and the job of the Board, to set a strategic direction for all of RECA, and to ensure smooth communication and collaboration between the Industry Councils. To that end, the Chairs of each Industry Council and I will use round table discussions to ensure we are moving in the same direction, we are properly managing resources and priorities, and are engaging with stakeholders consistently.
I would also like to take a moment to announce that Duane Monea, who served as Administrator of RECA from November 8, 2019 to December 10, 2020, will be assisting myself and the Board as a special advisor during this transitionary phase. His experience over the past year will go a long way in ensuring the Board and Industry Councils can hit the ground running.
What’s Going on Right Now
After initial meetings in December to appoint Industry Council Chairs, Vice Chairs, and Industry Council appointees to the Board of Directors, the Board and Industry Councils have held or are holding several meetings each throughout January, February, and March. Be sure to check reca.ca for the latest meeting agendas and minutes. We will ensure that key Board and Industry Council decisions from those meetings are provided to you in this Regulator.
There will be a lot of meetings this year. The legislative changes to RECA’s governance took more than a year to go through the legislature and come into force, so all Board and Industry Council members are eager to get moving, and to identify the priorities of each stakeholder group.
But I want to be clear: there is a lot of work to do. The new sections 11.1, 11.2 and 11.3 of the Real Estate Act require the new Board and Industry Councils to develop Bylaws, take governance training, develop a Code of Conduct, and develop a dispute resolution process by December 1, 2021. These are large undertakings, and combined with a search for a new Executive Director and establishing an updated strategic plan and budget, will take the bulk of the Board and Industry Council’s time in the coming months.
This doesn’t mean we won’t begin identifying the priorities of RECA’s stakeholders through robust and transparent engagement. In fact, all stakeholders should be on the lookout for outreach from the Board and from their Industry Councils. Stakeholder engagement is a clear priority, and as Board Chair, I commit to you that RECA’s engagement will be timely, consistent, equal, meaningful, and transparent. We will be speaking to you regularly through Chair’s messages, such as this one, through formal engagement activities such as the RECA Broker Forums and consultation surveys, and through new online engagement sessions. Keep an eye on your inbox. Soon you will have the opportunity to have your voice heard by the Board and Industry Councils, and directly participate in the regulation of your industry.
By focusing regulation on RECA’s public interest mandate and on meaningful stakeholder engagement, all RECA stakeholders can know they have a transparent and accountable body regulating licensees in Alberta.
The industries RECA regulates are some of the most dynamic in the province and are an integral part of Alberta’s economy. I look forward to tapping into that energy, and to meeting and engaging with all of you soon.