A single Canadian regulator sort of already exists

by Olivia D'Orazio22 Dec 2014
Agents might not believe it, but there already exists a single real estate regulator reaching across the country – sort of.

“We have an informal association of real estate regulatory bodies across the country and we work on projects attempting to harmonize programs,” Larry Buttress, the deputy executive officer of the Real Estate Council of British Columbia, tells REP. “So we are in the process of looking at items where we might be able to find harmonisation possible and working toward that – but not under a single arm.”

Licensing, Buttress explains, falls under provincial jurisdiction, so each province will have its own real estate act and its own set of rules for real estate professionals. The same is true in many professions, but that just means it falls to agent associations, council and boards to develop guidelines that are similar across all provinces so agents everywhere are held to the same professional standard.

And that’s exactly what they’re doing.

“The provinces do talk,” says Natalie Scollard, communications coordinator for the Real Estate Council of Alberta. “In terms of standardizing across the country, B.C. has different names for the categories, but you still need a license to trade in real estate. There are a lot of similarities across Canada.”

Those similarities are intentional, and come particularly in handy for relocating agents.

“In connection with labor and mobility connections,” Buttress says, “we created a mutual recognition agreement that recognises the education in multiple jurisdictions.”

 Scollard says licensing remains a provincial power, but there is a good deal of cooperation among provinces.

“We have licensing reciprocity with other jurisdictions,” she says. “We do recognize licenses from other jurisdictions.”

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