Message from the Interim Board Chair, David James
| May 24, 2022
For those who I haven’t met, a re-introduction may be in order. My name is David James, and I am the interim RECA Board Chair while government works to identify and appoint a permanent Chair. The previous Chair, Patricia McLeod, resigned as Chair on April 1, 2022, and I was appointed as interim Chair by the Minister of Service Alberta. I also serve as the Deputy Minister of Service Alberta.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Patricia for her outstanding 16 months as Chair. Under her leadership RECA, its Board, and the Industry Councils have done a tremendous amount of work in fleshing out the modernized governance structure that came into effect on December 1, 2020, and in undertaking the divestment of education, as per the Real Estate Act and Regulations. Patricia’s leadership in bringing together a Board, four Industry Councils, and stakeholders was essential to establishing a strong self-regulating governance structure for the industry, and was vital to developing the numerous bylaws required by the government.
For my part, I am looking forward to building off this strong foundation as RECA turns its focus to finalizing our strategic planning, education divestment, and advancing a much-needed rules review. RECA is committed to robust and meaningful engagement for all matters that effect stakeholders. During my public service career, I have been responsible for, or participated in, a number of very complex and sensitive files that involved significant stakeholder engagement. I look forward to leveraging that experience and more than 25 years of leadership as we work together to advance these important matters.
One of my first activities as Chair was to participate in the Strategic Planning session the Board undertook on April 8, 2022. At this meeting, the Board reviewed and carefully considered the feedback it heard from stakeholders in the initial strategic planning consultation in late-2021 and from various engagements throughout the past year, and from the in-depth meeting with all the Industry Councils in late-February.
The result of this meeting was the proposed Mandate, Mission Statement, and Strategic Priorities that went out to all stakeholders for consultation on April 21, 2022. I want to invite licensees, brokers, and associations to take time out of your busy schedules to review these proposed priorities and plans, and to let the Board know what you think. The Board will once again review all feedback prior to finalizing the Mandate, Mission Statement, and set of Strategic Priorities at the July 2022 Board meeting.
A key part of the proposed Strategic Priorities is a comprehensive review of the Real Estate Act Rules. The Rules first came into force on October 1, 2006, and we all know how much has changed in real estate and in the world generally since then. It’s time to ensure the Rules continue to make sense and protect consumers. This will be a complete and thorough review, with consultation with stakeholders at all stages.
While a comprehensive review will take time, RECA will be giving careful consideration to changes that will have substantive value to the industry if implemented before the end of the calendar year. This near-term work will be conducted in parallel with a focused look at licensing rules as the first stage of the broader review. Given the importance of the project and the number of existing Rules, RECA will undertake the fulsome review over a period of two years, and in several different stages, beginning with the licensing rules this Summer.
Many of you have flagged the importance of reviewing the rules and making meaningful progress in the near term. The Rules Review will be primarily undertaken by the Industry Councils with support from RECA staff, and we are looking forward to actively engaging with all of you as we undertake this work.
Regulatory Performance Review
RECA remains committed to Regulatory Excellence and continuous improvement. In that spirit, and given the recent governance model and legislation changes, RECA will undertake a Regulatory Performance Review in 2022, to be conducted by a third-party consultant. At the May meeting, the Board approved the content and structure of a Request for Proposals for a Regulatory Performance Review. RECA’s last Regulatory Performance Review was completed in 2015-2016 by Field Law and provided RECA with numerous recommendations to improve upon its strong performance. By February 2019, RECA had completed all recommendations from the review except for those that required legislative change.
We are fast approaching RECA’s set divestment date for education of June 1, 2022. Each Industry Council will speak to the divestment details of their sector in their updates in this Regulator. This divestment process was a tremendous amount of work for all of us—RECA, Industry Councils, associations, brokers and licensees. This is a significant change and, while the divestment process has been efficient and broadly successful, we are tracking concerns from the industry carefully. For example, RECA is closely monitoring the success rates of the condominium management licensing under new third-party providers. As the divestment process continues, RECA staff and the Industry Councils will continue to work closely with all of you to ensure a complete and effective transition.
I would like to thank all of you, the rest of the Board, the Industry Councils, and RECA Administration for their time and effort during the monumental change in RECA’s direction. I can report that third-party providers have expressed interest in providing courses in all sectors, and new licensees should have choice in education providers for many disciplines.
Thank you again to all stakeholders who have taken part in RECA’s many consultations over the past year. It is both critical and encouraging when licensees take part in the self-regulation of their industry. Without your thorough and considered feedback, RECA could not have achieved the divestment of education under such tight timelines.
As I close, I want to both encourage all of you to continue to be active participants in all the activities noted above, and assure you that your input will be carefully considered as the Board and Industry Councils undertake this work.