October 15, 2021

Statement from OREA President David Oikle for CBC Marketplace

Buying a home is the largest, most complex financial transaction most Ontarians will ever make.

Ontario neighborhood arial view

This statement was sent to CBC Marketplace on August 23, 2021

“Buying a home is the largest, most complex financial transaction most Ontarians will ever make. Every day, consumers put their trust in Ontario REALTORS® to help guide them through the home buying and selling process.

Nothing makes a hardworking, dedicated Realtor angrier than hearing about a colleague who has taken advantage of a client and broken that trust. When this happens, they are angry not just because unethical operators cast the entire profession in a negative light, but because they care deeply about the families they work for every day. That's why since 2017, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) has led the charge to modernize the rules governing real estate and raise the bar when it comes to professionalism, strengthening consumer protection and fixing the broken real estate discipline system. Realtors want to see a strong enforcement regime that deters unethical behaviour, penalizes rule breakers and takes swift action to kick offenders out of the profession entirely. We want a regulator that is tough, fair and efficient – one that focuses its energies on where problems are.

Last year, the Ontario Government passed the new Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2020 (TRESA), with all-party consent. As part of this new legislation, maximum fines for rule breakers have been doubled to $50,000 for salespeople, and $100,000 for brokers and brokerages.

Currently, the government is working on Phase 2 of TRESA regulations – which includes updating and modernizing the Code of Ethics – and we expect new rules to come into force in early 2022. This work includes giving enhanced powers to the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) so they may proactively pursue investigations of the worst offenders, and fully prosecute those who violate the trust of consumers, including the suspension or revocation of licenses, further protecting the integrity of Ontario’s housing market. OREA has additionally recommended that the list of offenses punishable by RECO be expanded.

For consumers, these changes will ensure that the Realtor at their side during the largest financial transaction of their life has the highest professional standards, training and modern tools in North America.

Under the current rules, RECO may only act if concerns are brought to their attention. If a consumer or concerned citizen believes a real estate salesperson, broker or brokerage has acted unethically, they should file a complaint with RECO.”

– David Oikle, President, Ontario Real Estate Association

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