“A lot of agents … I don’t think they’re educated enough to make this [industry] as professional as it can be,” says Francis Chiu, an agent in Toronto, pointing to the negative impact the profession has already suffered as a result of shoddy business practices. “There are newly licensed agents, thousands of them, and they have changed the way the commission is earned.”
Chiu’s frustration with the lack of firm continuing education mandates, which vary from province to province, is shared with agents across the country, and the chorus of industry players seemingly only gets stronger as more barely-qualified agents receive their licenses.
South of the border, though, NAR’s board of directors approved a policy change expected to address similar issues also faced by American agents. The board agreed to create a Code of Excellence program that will cover topics not included in other educational courses, such as consumer privacy protection, data accuracy, political advocacy, technology, professional courtesies and social media.
The reform will also force agents to complete Realtor Code of Ethics training every two years, instead of every four.
“[The Code of Excellence] is an aspirational code,” says former NAR president, Steve Brown. “It’s not a code that you can be found in violation of, but it is a code that we would challenge all our members to embrace in their day to day business.”
Like their American counterparts, Canadian agents must complete continuing education programs, but as NAR in the States moves to a biennial training schedule, many north of the border are calling for similar reform.