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.”


  • by Barry Lebow 12/22/2014 11:14:06 AM

    I do not recall the year but I would guess in the 1980s. I attended the College of Experts in Real Estate at York University. I was there because of my lecturing for OREA. It was led by the amazing Dr. Stanley Hamilton of UBC and a few others. The theme was simple, they brought to York real estate administrators and educators from across Canada with the idea of teaching more uniform real estate education and smoothing out the barriers between provinces. Standard real estate exams but with each province emphasizing their own regulations and laws. They were going to make it easier for an agent to move around the country and not have to start over to take local education among other concepts. It was a good weekend conference, it was serious because people had travelled from across the nation and therefor expensive and then ----- never heard a thing about follow up. To the best of my knowledge it was one of the few times a forum like this ever happened. I could be wrong as a conference at higher levels could have transpired but I doubt it. So, we have different kingdoms each controlling their own ways, what they deem to be the best education and in the meantime our American cousins have had universities and colleges that have had real estate degrees in place for years. We need to upgrade Canadian real estate education, we need more schools to embrace real estate education (UBC, Guelph, York, Ryerson, LaSalle - am I missing any? Ryerson is still launching). We need more real estate professionals and people who can work across the country. Real estate today, highly sophisticated, real estate education? Stuck in a 1960s model. New agents are pushed to learn rules and regulations and few practical concepts. The public is not well served in the end. If only that York conference had implemented some of the wonderful ideas that came out of it.

  • by 12/23/2014 7:30:01 PM

    I am very interested in raising the standards of a Real Professional. I have been working in the industry for 21 years now, my goal has always been to be a professional Real Estate Sals Representative. I think the majority of my colleagues feel the same way. Geraldine Taylor

  • by Gareth Jones FRI, CRES, ABR, SRS, SRES, CRB. 1/5/2015 10:27:31 AM

    As we all know, the real estate registrant licensing and education is provincially administered and controlled. However, as V-P of Corporate Development and a member of the teaching faculty for the Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC) across Canada, I find that the there are only a few minor differences between all the provincial Codes and Acts. These are mostly around customer/client relationships, agency, representation, followed by licensing requirements, procedures and forms. For the most part they all share common concepts, laws, Codes of Ethics and Professional Standards. Real Estate Boards also have many common practices and policies, including MLS compliance.

    The overwhelmingly consistent feedback from the Brokerages, Boards, Associations and Provinces is that we can no longer continue without improvement and providing higher education and skill sets to our registrants. The consumer today is far more informed and demanding than ever before. Their expectations are extremely high in comparison to decades past.

    My background is one of almost 30 years in the real estate field starting as a Sales Representative, graduating to Broker then Broker-Manager. Currently, I am also a member of the TREB Education Committee. I have seen first hand the increased complication and intensity of our business along with the need for higher and better education.

    REIC offers nationally recognized designation programs relating to the real estate industry's many commercial and residential disciplines including sales, leasing, financing, property management and reserve fund planning. Our courses and programs are rigorous with a strong emphasis on high business ethics. As a national provider of advanced education, we accommodate inter-provincial variances. Our programs are offered to all levels: Brokerage offices, Property Management offices, Real Estate Boards and Provincial Associations.
    There is a clear message being sent, which REIC has embraced, that education is the basis of continued industry growth and success.

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