Today, the Ontario Real Estate Association’s (OREA) REBBA Review Task Force launched its first White Paper – Better Enforcement and a Regulator that Works – as part of its continued effort to make Ontario a leader in North America when it comes to professional standards in the real estate industry. This fall, as the provincial government prepares to rewrite the rules governing real estate professionals in Ontario, OREA is asking its 70,000 members to weigh in on the areas of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA) that need updating.
“This White Paper is a bold first step towards modernizing Ontario’s real estate rules,” said Ettore Cardarelli, OREA President. “The rules governing Ontario REALTORS® were established 15 years ago – it’s time to update them to keep Ontario’s real estate market strong for consumers. OREA is committed to raising the bar on professional standards, and is leaving no stone unturned to make it happen.”
Outlined in the first of four White Papers are eight policy proposals that OREA is asking its members to provide feedback on via www.REBBAreform.ca. They are:
1) At least double the maximum fines for REBBA Code of Ethics breaches to a maximum $50,000 for salespeople and brokers and $100,000 for brokerages
2) The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) be given the ability to order a registrant to repay either all, or a portion, of the profits gained as a result of a breach under the REBBA Code of Ethics
3) RECO be given the authority to suspend or revoke registration or apply terms and conditions
4) Permit the Auditor General of Ontario to conduct value for money audits of RECO and all its programs to ensure that registrants’ fees and other sources of revenue are being used efficiently
5) Make all RECO registration fee increases subject to ministerial approval
6) Make RECO subject to the oversight of an internal RECO Ombudsman
7) Provide RECO with powers to proactively investigate REBBA and the Code of Ethics violations; and
8) Make RECO more transparent when it comes to freedom of information requests
“The review of REBBA is a once in a lifetime opportunity to shape the future of our profession and to strengthen our industry,” said John Meehan, Chair of the 2017 REBBA Review Task Force. “Helping people through the largest financial transaction of their lives is a giant responsibility, and an enormous privilege. Ontario home buyers and sellers deserve to work with professionals who are being held to the highest standards.”
OREA’s White Paper is intended to encourage member discussion on the individual proposals which will inform the final recommendations that OREA presents to the government. OREA’s consultation with members will span the rest of 2017 and engage thousands of members in a conversation about the future of the Act and the profession.
Thanks to OREA’s advocacy, the Ontario government committed to a review of REBBA as part of its Fair Housing Plan in April 2017. Phase one of the two-stage review process focused on the issue of multiple representation to which OREA responded with a submission earlier this month. The second phase beginning this fall will look at all aspects of REBBA and will extend into 2018.