If Alberta’s real estate regulator were a house, a major renovation was completed this week.
Work began in earnest last October when I tabled legislation that dismissed the Real Estate Council of Alberta’s (RECA) governing council and appointed an interim administrator to oversee day-to-day operations. I had been hearing about problems with RECA from stakeholders across the real estate industry since being named Minister of Service Alberta, and it became clear to me that I needed to take action.
Over the 2019-20 winter, Service Alberta met with experts in the real estate sector to hear ideas about how to fix RECA and the input we received was the basis for amendments to the Real Estate Act this past spring. The hard work that has been ongoing for over a year has delivered a new foundation on which more can be built.
Effective December 1, we have set up the 4 new industry councils of RECA. Following votes held among industry licensees last month, these 4 major pillars of the new governance structure are now in place.
The 4 new industry councils represent:
- residential realtors
- commercial real estate brokers and commercial property managers
- mortgage brokers
- residential property managers, which includes condominium property managers
Each industry council has 5 members – 3 chosen by licensees and 2 public members I have appointed:
- Residential Real Estate Broker Industry Council
- Appointed: Brad Hamdon, Erika Ringseis
- Elected: Wilfred (Bill) Briggs, Bradley (Brad) Kopp, Sano Stante
- Commercial Real Estate Broker and Commercial Property Manager Industry Council
- Appointed: Terry Engen, Brittanee Laverdure
- Elected: Laura Sharen, Berend (Ben) Van Dyk (Note: A by-election will be held to fill the remaining seat).
- Mortgage Broker Industry Council
- Appointed: Nkem Onyegbula, Guy Ouellette
- Elected: Clarence Lee, Gordon (Gord) Appel, Paul Bojakli
- Residential Property Manager Industry Council
- Appointed: Cyril Pratt, Don Newell
- Elected: Carrie Plett, Don Brown, Keith McMullen
The new RECA board has 7 members, altogether. Three were been chosen by me, including the board chair, following a fair and open recruitment process. The others were chosen from each industry council by their respective members.
- RECA Board
- Appointed: Patricia McLeod (board chair), Jai Parihar, Shirish Choltalia
- Industry Council Members (selected from industry councils): Paul Bojakli, Bill Briggs, Carrie Plett, Laura Sharen
The new board and councils are going to be busy. The very first task for all of the new board and council members will be to complete mandatory governance training. I felt that this was an important step to avoid falling into the same pitfalls that previously plagued the regulator.
After that, everybody is expected to hit the ground running. The December milestone we have reached is not a finish line – it is a starting line.
The RECA board will soon get to work setting up a dispute resolution process, increasing transparency, and recruiting a new executive director. From there, they will change and create regulatory bylaws to ensure the industry is running smoothly.
Industry councils will establish rules and industry requirements for their respective industries and identify and address emerging issues. They will also lead a plan to divest RECA’s responsibility for the delivery of pre-licensing and licensing education, while setting standards for both.
The changes we have made mark a significant turning point in Alberta’s real estate industry, right when Alberta’s economy needs it most. Real estate is, in part, a business based on relationships and I am confident that the relationships that were previously frayed and broken will be re-established stronger than ever, thanks to the passion and dedication of those who have come forward to serve.
I want to thank each member for their willingness to work together and guide the real estate sector moving forward. I am confident that the improvements we are making together will benefit the industry and all Albertans for many years to come.