The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) is responsible for ensuring Alberta real estate brokerage, mortgage brokerage, property management, and real estate appraisal consumers are adequately protected.
Under the Real Estate Act, RECA has the authority to hold formal hearings to inquire into possible industry member breaches of the Act and discipline misconduct when appropriate. There is also the possibility for issuance of letters of reprimand and/or administrative penalties.
Letters of reprimand are the least severe form of discipline. RECA typically issues letters of reprimand when there is evidence of conduct deserving of sanction, but the resulting breaches are technical or minor in nature. The executive director or a Hearing Panel may issue letters of reprimand.
If RECA investigators determine there is sufficient evidence of conduct deserving of sanction with respect to, typically, one or two straightforward issues, the executive director may issue an administrative penalty. The administrative penalty will provide a general overview of the facts that led to the contravention of the legislation and include the amount of the penalty. Administrative penalty amounts are set out in Schedule 2 of the Bylaws made pursuant to the Real Estate Act.
RECA conducts disciplinary hearings with a three-person panel – comprised of members of Council and licensed industry members – which investigates into whether an industry member’s conduct is deserving of sanction under the Real Estate Act.
At a hearing, a Hearing Panel considers evidence and makes its decision. The panel has the right to examine witnesses under oath, and has many of the powers of the court for the trial of civil actions.
Hearing Panels attempt to issue their written decisions within 30 days of a hearing’s completion, though this is not always possible. RECA will notify, and provide a copy to, the industry professionals when they complete their written decision.
Hearing panel outcomes can include fines, costs, education requirements, terms or conditions on a licence, and/or suspensions.
Appealing a Hearing Panel Decision
Both the industry member and the executive director have the right to appeal a Hearing Panel decision.
An appeal must be commenced by a written notice of appeal describing the finding or order appealed, and the reasons for appeal. The notice of appeal must be served on the executive director or industry member within 30 days after the date on which the decision of the Hearing Panel is served on the industry member.
The costs of preparing the record of the hearing shall be paid by the party appealing the decision. Costs for preparation of the record may range from $500 to $2,000 or more, depending on the length or complexity of the original hearing.
Appealing an Appeal Panel Decision
Both the industry member and the executive director have the right to appeal a decision of an Appeal Panel to the Court of Queen’s Bench. This appeal must be commenced by originating notice with the clerk of the court within 30 days after the industry member or executive director is served with the decision of the Appeal Panel.
Appeal of an Administrative Penalty
Under the Real Estate Act, a person who has been issued a Notice of an Administrative Penalty may appeal the Notice of Administrative Penalty within 30 days after the date on which the penalty was served on the person. The notice of appeal must be in writing, and must describe the administrative penalty appealed, state the reason for the appeal, and be accompanied by security for costs in the amount of 3 times the penalty imposed up to a maximum of $1,000.
Appeal of a Letter of Reprimand
Under the Real Estate Act, a person who has been issued a Letter of Reprimand may appeal the reprimand within 30 days after the date on which the penalty is served on the person. The notice of appeal must be in writing and must state the reason for the appeal.
Under s.40(1) of the Real Estate Act, a complainant who is served with a notice of decision from the executive director
a) not to investigate a complaint or to discontinue investigating a complaint, or
b) that no further action will be taken,
may, within 30 days after receipt of the notice, appeal the decision to a Hearing Panel. The notice of appeal must be in writing, must state the reason for the appeal, and must be accompanied by security for costs in the amount of $500.