Message from the Board Chair, Patricia McLeod, Q.C.
| February 24, 2022
It has now been a full year since the onboarding and first substantive meetings of the Board and Industry Councils under RECA’s modernized governance model. It’s been an incredibly busy, fruitful, and challenging year, to say the least. I would like to thank my fellow Board members, the Industry Council members, the Minister of Service Alberta, RECA’s stakeholder groups and trade associations, RECA staff, and all individual licensees for assisting the Board in achieving our legislated goals for our first year. Without your feedback, we couldn’t have moved things along with such efficiency and confidence.
At the end of my message, I will go over some of the highlights of the year, but first, I want to talk about what’s new.
At its January 21 meeting, the Board approved RECA’s Annual Report and Financial Statements. These documents are required by Section 16 of the Real Estate Act to be sent to the Minister no later than 120 days after the end of RECA’s fiscal year. You can read the full documents on RECA’s website, and review some highlights elsewhere in this Regulator. This past fiscal year was the first under the modernized governance model for RECA, and I’m proud to say that the Board has taken every effort to maximize the amount of information and ensure full transparency in the Annual Report. I encourage all stakeholders to review both documents.
The Board also approved the Examination Blueprint for the examinations for the Fundamentals of Condominium Management, the Practice of Condominium Management, and the Condominium Management Broker Course. These exams are available now, and condominium managers with conditional licences can begin taking these exams to become fully licensed. The Board encourages condominium managers to complete the appropriate courses prior to taking the exams to ensure you have the full breadth of regulatory knowledge required to pass.
The Board began its strategic planning process in November 2021 by gathering feedback from all stakeholders on RECA’s strategic direction and what our priorities as a regulator should be. I would like to thank the various trade associations for their comprehensive and thoughtful feedback to the Board. I would also like to thank the dozens of individual licensees who took the time to provide valuable feedback through the Strategic Planning web form. Planning would be impossible without taking all your feedback into consideration first. RECA also obtained feedback from Alberta consumers, and from the Broker Forums hosted for each industry sector through November, December, and January.
After reviewing all feedback received, the Board and Industry Councils met for the first part of the formal strategic planning process on February 14. There we discussed broad strategic themes and the various feedback from stakeholders. The day consisted of robust and thought-provoking discussions, and the Board will take all it has heard and set RECA’s strategic direction and a multi-year strategic plan at its next strategic planning session in April. RECA is working on a consultation plan that will seek input from stakeholders on the strategic priorities prior to its final approval. The strategic priorities will guide annual business plans and the budgeting processes for upcoming years.
One item that resulted from the initial discussions that I can share with you now is that the Board and Industry Councils have committed to undertaking a full review of the Real Estate Act Rules. The Rules were created in 2006, and a lot has changed in the industry since then. This comprehensive review, carried out by the Industry Councils and the Board, will involve extensive and meaningful consultation with all stakeholders. Look for more communications about this in the coming months.
One of the most important strategic themes the Board will focus on for strategic planning is stakeholder engagement. Engaging the public, individual licensees, trade associations, brokers, and government will form the foundation for all major decisions of the Board. To that end, look for numerous opportunities to provide feedback to RECA on any issue. For specific initiatives, look for surveys, town halls, forums, or other direct means of providing feedback in communications from RECA. To let your voice be heard on issues outside of direct consultation on specific issues, look for events like the upcoming stakeholder engagement sessions to be held by the Board and each Industry Council this Spring. The details for these events are still being determined, as the pandemic will dictate the format. So keep an eye out for communications regarding these sessions and other engagement opportunities.
And please remind your fellow licensees that engagement opportunities with RECA exist. Self-regulation and robust engagement only happen when stakeholders take part. Please remind your peers to please open and read emails from RECA. We want to hear from as many stakeholders as possible.
Highlights from 2021
A lot was accomplished in the last year, including the major items listed below. For a more fulsome review of the year, please review the Annual Report.
New CEO – The Board hired Russ Morrow as RECA’s CEO. The Board has directed that Russ continue to build relationships with members of each industry and the member associations as a key priority of his accountabilities.
Education Divestment – Thank you to all the stakeholders who participated in the consultations and shared their knowledge gained from experience in the industries. The stakeholder feedback, along with the hard work of the Industry Councils has allowed the Board to set the date for divestment of licensing education at June 1, 2022, six months before the divestment deadline set by the Minister of Service Alberta.
Welcoming Condominium Managers – Condominium managers officially become a licensed industry under RECA until December 1, 2021. Thank you to the Residential Property Manager Industry Council, the Condominium Manager Implementation Advisory Committee, condominium manager associations, and RECA’s staff for their hard work in making condominium manager licensing a reality.
Stakeholder Engagement – Meetings with member associations began in January 2021 and are ongoing. The Board also approved a new Stakeholder Engagement Policy in March 2021. The Board and Industry Councils held well-attended Online Engagement Sessions from March through May 2021, implemented Board and Industry Council email addresses, and invited stakeholders to provide direct feedback online.
Bylaws – Under the amended Real Estate Act and its Regulations, the Board was mandated to complete mandatory governance training (completed February 2021), and the creation of bylaws concerning Board disputes, Industry Council elections, and the education divestment process (all approved by the Minister in November 2021). The Board also completed a comprehensive review of RECA’s governance bylaws and adopted a number of new governance processes and policies.
KPMG Report – The KPMG Governance Review Report provided different options and recommendations to the Minister of Service Alberta to resolve past governance challenges at RECA, informing and resulting in the proclamation of an amended Real Estate Act on December 1, 2020. The Board has also undertaken its own review, and voluntarily adopted over 90% of recommended governance practices contained in the KPMG Report (of those that had not already been addressed by the Government of Alberta), in order to augment and reinforce best practices in governance oversight of the regulator. You will find a complete outline of the status of all of the KPMG report recommendations in the Annual Report.
It will be another very busy and interesting year at RECA. On behalf of myself, the Board, the Industry Councils, and RECA’s staff, I thank you for your engagement and your support as we work hard collectively to ensure that the public has every confidence in the tremendous value of Alberta’s real estate industry licensees.