Understanding RECA’s Discipline Process Image

Understanding RECA’s Discipline Process


As an independent governing authority, RECA sets, regulates, and enforces regulatory standards for real estate, property management, condominium management, and mortgage brokerage licensees across the province. One of RECA’s critical responsibilities is ensuring licensees adhere to the Real Estate Act and its Rules. This ensures Alberta consumers who use a licensee’s services are protected. To achieve this, RECA has a thorough and fair discipline process.

It is important for all RECA licensees to understand how the disciplinary process works. All licensees play a part in RECA’s self-regulation process, and should report any suspicious real estate activity or mortgage fraud to RECA.

Here is an outline of RECA’s disciplinary procedures:

1. Complaint Submission 
The discipline process begins with a complaint submitted against a licensee by a concerned party, such as a client, another licensee, or a member of the public. Complaints can pertain to a wide range of issues, including professional misconduct and ethical violations. Complaints are submitted in writing and must include relevant details and supporting documents. When RECA receives a complaint, RECA undertakes a preliminary assessment to determine whether the complaint falls within RECA’s jurisdiction (i.e., is it a violation of the Real Estate Act or Rules), and if it raises credible concerns. 

2. Investigation Initiation 
Upon acceptance of the complaint, RECA initiates a formal investigation. This phase involves gathering evidence, conducting interviews, and reviewing relevant documents. RECA’s investigators are experienced professionals, well-versed in real estate practices and the legislation. The investigation aims to establish the accuracy of the compliant, and to determine whether any breaches of the Real Estate Act or Rules occurred.

3. Investigation Findings 
Once the investigation is complete, and if it is found that there is sufficient evidence of conduct deserving of sanction, the Registrar has three options:  

  • refer the matter to a Hearing Panel
  • issue a letter reprimanding the licensee
  • impose an administrative penalty on the licensee 

If the findings are inconclusive or show no violation, the complaint may be dismissed. 

4. Sanction Consideration 
If the investigation yields evidence of serious wrongdoing, the matter is referred to an appointed Hearing Panel, composed of licensee and public representatives. The Hearing Panel reviews the evidence and has the authority to recommend sanctions based on the severity of the violation and its potential impact on the public, the industry, and any other stakeholders.

5. Sanction Imposition 
Sanctions can range from fines of up to $25,000 to licence suspension or cancellation, depending on the severity of the offense. RECA’s objective is not only to hold the individual who has committed the offense accountable, but also to allow their actions to serve as a deterrent against future misconduct. Sanctions are designed to maintain the highest standards of professionalism and protect the interests of clients and the public. 

6. Lifetime Withdrawal from Industry  
Lifetime Withdrawal from Industry is considered the severest form of discipline that could be imposed. RECA licensees can apply to their respective Industry Council to voluntarily withdraw from industry membership under section 54 of the Real Estate Act. If the Industry Council approves an application for a licensee to withdraw their licence, RECA will discontinue all disciplinary proceedings regarding that licensee. If fraud or criminal activity is suspected to have taken place, approval of a Lifetime Withdrawal from Industry can only happen after an investigation has been completed. In other words, a licensee in such a case could not have an application approved in the middle of an investigation. After the investigation is complete, the Lifetime Withdrawal from Industry could then be granted, and if any fraud or criminal activity were uncovered or remains suspected, the matter would be passed onto the appropriate law enforcement or disciplinary body.

RECA’s discipline process underscores its commitment to upholding the highest standards of professionalism and ethics within the real estate industry. By diligently following each disciplinary measure outlined above, from receiving a complaint to imposing a sanction, RECA ensures that any breaches of the Real Estate Act or its Rules are addressed promptly and fairly. This process not only holds RECA licensees accountable but also bolsters the integrity of the industry, including public confidence for the industries RECA regulates, contributing to a thriving and trustworthy real estate landscape in Alberta.