Residential Real Estate Broker Industry Council Update
| May 24, 2022
Summary of activities since February 2022 from Sano Stante, Chair
I would like to first thank those of you who participated in the various engagements and consultations RECA and our Industry Council have undertaken this past year. As an active practitioner, I know how difficult it can be to get even a few minutes to offer feedback to your regulator, particularly on matters that may not affect your immediate, day-to-day business. I want you to know that your Industry Council appreciates any time you are able to give, and takes all of your feedback and suggestions seriously. Self-regulation works when the industry practitioners are active participants, and I am grateful to witness an engaged and passionate group of individuals taking part.
RECA has set the divestment date for licensing education as June 1, 2022. That’s only a week away! This is the culmination of many months of work by our Industry Council, the Board, and RECA Administration, and it’s hard to believe we’re on the verge of completing this mammoth undertaking. Every aspect of the divestment process had to be carefully planned, validated, and ultimately approved by the Minister of Service Alberta. Thanks to everyone’s hard work and the valuable feedback during the process, we’re finally here.
Out of all the sectors, residential real estate licensees make up the bulk of new entrants to the industry. It was a priority that there be choice in education providers going forward. I’m pleased to report that our Industry Council has officially recognized seven course providers for residential real estate. At least one of those providers has also had their Fundamentals of Real Estate course recognized and ready for June 1. These providers range from real estate learning specialist organizations, to trade associations, to colleges and universities. New entrants to the industry will be able to choose the course provider that fits them best. Brokers and hiring managers should make sure they are familiar with the providers as they become available. To help new licensees choose, RECA will be posting all exam pass rates for each course provider and course.
RECA is currently finalizing its strategic plan, and all licensees are an important part of the process. The Board has created some proposed strategic priorities for RECA and sent them out for consultation with all stakeholders on April 21. Our Industry Council was consulted by the Board prior to creating these priorities, and now the Board wants to know what licensees and other stakeholders think. Please take a few moments to provide your feedback. The deadline is June 9.
Stakeholder Engagement Activities
As Industry Council Chair, I have committed to engaging meaningfully and as often as possible with all stakeholders so that our Industry Council maintains a strong sense of the pulse of the industry, and of issues that occur in day-to-day practice. On May 16, I participated in the residential broker forum in Edmonton, and this week I’ll be in-person at the Calgary forum. And I’m also looking forward to running the 2nd Annual Spring Engagement Session for our Industry Council, which will be held both in-person and virtually on May 25.
These sessions are vital, not just to update licensees on RECA and our Council activity and priorities, but to also hear from licensees. The discussions at the broker forum were excellent, and I look forward to hearing more from brokers in Calgary and from all stakeholders at the engagement session.
What we’ve heard so far are the same sorts of things we’ve been hearing at all our engagement opportunities, namely that incentive and other advertising rules may need a review. This issue, and many others, will be an important part of the Industry Council’s upcoming review of the Real Estate Act Rules.
As part of RECA’s proposed strategic priorities, the Board and the Industry Councils have committed to a comprehensive review of the Real Estate Act Rules. The Rules first came into effect on October 1, 2006, nearly 16 years ago. A lot has changed in real estate and in our society and economy since then, and perhaps many of our Rules no longer work as intended. This will be your opportunity to let us know where you think the Rules can be updated, where we can improve consumer protection, and where we can possibly remove Rules that add unnecessary red tape. We want the Rules to be relevant to the current real estate environment and to anticipate future business models, consumer trends, and other influences.
This is a tremendous undertaking, that will be rolled out for consultation and review in phases. We will act fast on those Rules that are in most need of changing quickly, so be on the lookout for the first phase of consultation this Summer. This will be an important step in modernizing the regulation of real estate in Alberta, and it will work best if you make your voice and ideas heard.
Our RMS Committee continues to meet and review the Residential Measurement Standard in Alberta. We have heard that many feel it is an additional cost and burden on industry, and that it is unfair to the public when unlicensed builders are not required to use the same standards. The committee has taken all of this feedback into consideration, and will be prepared to consult with stakeholders should the Industry Council decide on potential changes. Please be on the lookout for this consultation if and when it becomes available.