Professional Conduct Review
In addition to the information provided below, the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) has produced additional resources for industry members and consumers about its investigations process, including:
RECA investigates all written complaints against industry members within its jurisdiction and decides whether there has been conduct deserving of sanction, including:
- conduct that does not follow the Real Estate Act, Rules or Bylaws
- conduct that does not follow the standards of practice and ethical behaviour generally expected of an industry member
- incompetent conduct that could be a risk to consumers or other industry members
Once a written complaint is made, it must be investigated by law and cannot be withdrawn. However, if an industry member settles with a complainant, their agreement may be taken into account in determining whether there is conduct deserving of sanction.
The Real Estate Act gives RECA’s Professional Conduct Review Officers (PCRO) power to collect all evidence relevant to the professional conduct review. PCROs must gather all the facts carefully, fairly and objectively. Both the complainant and the industry professional may be interviewed during an investigation. They must interview all necessary witnesses, which may require more than one meeting with a witness and the PCRO may record the interview.
Information obtained during a professional conduct review is kept confidential as far as the professional conduct review process allows. However, if the matter goes to a hearing or a prosecution, the information may become public and the complainant may be asked to testify.
Industry professionals are required by the Real Estate Act to cooperate with professional conduct reviews, including responding to questions and providing documentation. Information gathered by a RECA PCRO cannot be used in a prosecution under other laws or in a civil suit.
Length of Process
Because of the volume and complexity of the complaints RECA receives, several months may pass before a case progresses from the initial complaint to the final decision. Although no information on the progress of a professional conduct review can be provided in order to protect the integrity of the professional conduct review, complainants are advised of any decisions of the Executive Director and/or Hearing Panel as they occur.
Different than Board Investigations
In some cases, the local real estate board (or other industry association) and RECA receive the same complaint, which may lead to two professional conduct reviews (investigations). These professional conduct reviews have different purposes: the industry association looks into the industry professional's compliance with the association’s membership requirements, RECA reviews the industry professional's compliance with the Real Estate Act, Regulations, and Rules.