Message from the Board Chair, Patricia McLeod, Q.C.
| August 17, 2021
I would like to start my update by thanking all of Alberta’s licensees for their tremendous efforts as an essential service operating throughout the pandemic. As the Province fully reopens and we hopefully continue to get back to some semblance of normal life, I think it’s important that we all reflect on what a strange time it’s been. Despite the health restrictions, Albertans still needed to buy, sell, and lease property, and needed to obtain mortgages. Alberta’s licensees were up to the challenge of providing their best service to clients and the public as they navigated their life changing decisions. Kudos to all of you.
It’s also important to remember that we aren’t fully out of the woods yet. Licensees should continue to have the COVID conversation with their clients, and to set expectations for how they want to interact with you and other parties.
RECA’s New CEO
On July 20, 2021, RECA announced Russ Morrow as its new CEO. Russ officially started on August 9. The CEO is a role appointed by, and responsible to, the Board of Directors, and will be responsible of RECA’s operations.
Russ has already began reaching out to stakeholders to ensure he understand their various needs and expectations, and to better understand the real estate landscape in Alberta and beyond.
Read more about the appointment, and about Russ, in the message sent to all stakeholders.
One of the most important tasks the Board must complete within its first year is the creation of bylaws concerning education divestment, Board and Industry Council conduct, and Industry Council elections. These bylaws must be approved by the Minister of Service Alberta. The Board and Industry Councils are working collaboratively in joint sessions to gain consensus on the draft bylaws, and will provide the bylaws to the Minister soon.
RECA has been hard at work continuing the education divestment process.
- Education Discussion Group: RECA created an Education Discussion Group made up of two licensee members from each Industry Council, some of whom were also Board members. This group provided recommendations to the Board and Industry Councils concerning the Education Framework developed by RECA.
- Education Framework Consultation: Once each Industry Council and the Board approved the Framework, it went out for consultation with stakeholders. The Education Framework contains the RECA Pre-Licensing Education Philosophy, the Examination Blueprint, and Course and Course Provider Requirements. The feedback from stakeholders was overwhelmingly positive about the Education Framework.
- Ministerial Approval: A required step to the education divestment process is for the Minister of Service Alberta to approve our Education Transition Plan and the bylaws referred to above. Once approved, RECA will hit the ground running, and continue the divestment process through the rest of 2021, with the goal of completing all divestment by December 1, 2022.
- Competencies Consultation: An additional step is the development of competency profiles. The Industry Councils will be consulting with stakeholders on competencies for all of the licence classes within their scope. Please keep an eye out for those consultations when they begin.
The Board approved the 2021-2022 Budget for RECA at our latest meeting. A key takeaway for licensees in this budget is there will be no fee increase for the 2021-2022 licensing year. It is the Board’s responsibility to set the licensing fee to ensure RECA has the appropriate resources to fulfill its consumer protection mandate. The licensing fee has not changed in seven years (when it was reduced by $50), and has not increased in eight years.
This will be the first budget to begin taking into account the divestment of education and the subsequent loss in education revenues. Part of the reason RECA could keep the licence fee the same for so long is that many costs were offset by these education revenues. As we move further into the divestment process, that loss will begin to be felt more keenly. That being said, the Board takes its role in setting RECA’s budget seriously, and will only ever increase licence fees when it is absolutely necessary to do so
for RECA to adequately fulfill its mandate.
Another important aspect of this year’s budget is the costs associated with strategic planning. As we enter the modernized governance era at RECA under the amended Real Estate Act, a new strategic plan is required. The Board, the Industry Councils, and RECA Administration will be working
towards setting a new strategic plan in 2021-2022, which will involve robust stakeholder engagement. Keep an eye on your inbox for engagement opportunities, and be aware you can let the Board know your thoughts on RECA’s strategic direction at any time by emailing the Board at email@example.com, or by filling out the Strategic Planning webform on reca.ca. The Board receives every email and every response to the web form, and will consider all input from all stakeholders before setting RECA’s strategic direction.
Condominium Management Update
As you all know, RECA will begin licensing condominium managers on December 1, 2021. RECA sent out communications regarding the licensing process and requirements in June. Please see the message from Don Newell, Chair of the Residential Property Manager Industry Council, and the full article on condominium manager licensing in this newsletter.
As you are all aware, further amendments to the Real Estate Act came into force with the passing of Bill 62, the Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act 2021, on June 17, 2021. These amendments clarify the role of the Board, in consultation with Industry Councils, to create bylaws related to education divestment and Industry Council elections, clarify the Minister’s authority concerning approving new bylaws and Rules for the industry, and allow for the staggering of appointments to the Board and Industry Councils. We will keep stakeholders advised as we receive confirmation of the final regulations that will be forthcoming pursuant to these new legislative provisions.
Update on RECA’s Office Building
RECA’s Board of Directors received serious allegations related to the purchase of RECA’s office building. The Board recently undertook a review of the 2018 purchase of RECA’s office building. As the body responsible for RECA’s assets, RECA’s Board commissioned a legally privileged review (Investigation) of the matters noted in the Report. This Investigation determined that the concerns of impropriety speculated in the Report are unfounded and the matter is closed. A summary of the Investigation findings can be found through this link.
Consistent with its mandate the Board will continue to periodically review the building, and all other assets, in the best interests of RECA.