Prov­ince in­tro­duces bill to ad­dress ‘dys­func­tion’ at real es­tate reg­u­la­tor

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - ASH­LEY JOANNOU ajoan­nou@postmedia.com On Twit­ter: @ash­leyjoan­nou

ED­MON­TON The Al­berta gov­ern­ment has in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion that would re­struc­ture the Real Es­tate Coun­cil of Al­berta (RECA) eight months after the min­is­ter for Ser­vice Al­berta fired the en­tire coun­cil over re­ports of poor gover­nance.

RECA cur­rently li­cences real es­tate agents and bro­kers, mort­gage bro­kers, real es­tate ap­prais­ers and prop­erty man­agers in the prov­ince.

If passed, Bill 20, the Real Es­tate Amend­ment Act, would cre­ate four new in­dus­try coun­cils within RECA and re­quire that min­utes, agen­das and salaries be public. It would also leg­is­late the role and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the regis­trar in charge of en­forc­ing the rules and give the min­is­ter the power to make manda­tory poli­cies RECA must fol­low.

Ser­vice Al­berta Min­is­ter Nate Glu­bish fired the coun­cil in Oc­to­ber and ap­pointed an of­fi­cial ad­min­is­tra­tor to con­tinue day-today op­er­a­tions after a re­port found that the coun­cil had so many is­sues it could not func­tion prop­erly.

“If our amend­ments are ap­proved and this bill is passed, the end re­sult will be a new gov­ern­ing struc­ture that will in­crease trans­parency, im­prove ac­count­abil­ity and ul­ti­mately re­store good gover­nance to the real es­tate reg­u­la­tor,” Glu­bish said Wed­nes­day prior to the bill be­ing tabled in the leg­isla­tive as­sem­bly.

The re­port by KPMG says there was sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­per­sonal con­flict and no trust among coun­cil mem­bers or be­tween coun­cil mem­bers and ad­min­is­tra­tion. About 80 per cent of the mo­tions dis­cussed at the time had to do with gover­nance is­sues and only 20 per cent fo­cused on strate­gic or reg­u­la­tory mat­ters. The re­port said RECA did not have con­struc­tive re­la­tion­ships with in­dus­try or­ga­ni­za­tions and that there was not enough public rep­re­sen­ta­tion on the board.

Glu­bish said the lat­est pro­posed changes are needed “so we could en­sure that RECA would never re­turn to such a state of dys­func­tion.”

The new leg­is­la­tion would cre­ate in­dus­try coun­cils within RECA for:

res­i­den­tial real es­tate agents and

bro­kers;

com­mer­cial real es­tate agents

and bro­kers, and com­mer­cial prop­erty man­agers;

mort­gage bro­kers;

and res­i­den­tial prop­erty man­agers

■ and con­do­minium man­agers.

The in­dus­try coun­cils would be responsibl­e for in­dus­try reg­u­la­tion and the board of di­rec­tors responsibl­e for run­ning the cor­po­ra­tion.

Real-es­tate ap­prais­ers would be re­moved from RECA over­sight com­pletely since they have their own pro­fes­sional or­ga­ni­za­tions. The coun­cil would no longer pro­vide ed­u­ca­tion to ob­tain or main­tain li­cens­ing, hand­ing that off to third-party or­ga­niz­ers over the next two years.

The board of di­rec­tors would be responsibl­e for run­ning the cor­po­ra­tion and be chaired by one of three mem­bers of the public who are ap­pointed by the min­is­ter. The re­main­ing board seats would be filled by one mem­ber ap­pointed by each in­dus­try coun­cil from its elected in­dus­try mem­bers.

Each in­dus­try coun­cil would be made up of three in­dus­try mem­bers elected by their in­dus­try and two public mem­bers ap­pointed by the min­is­ter and a chair.

The new board of di­rec­tors will have two years to come up with by­laws and rules to be ap­proved by the min­is­ter.

In the first year, the board of di­rec­tors must cre­ate a by­law that es­tab­lishes a dis­pute res­o­lu­tion process.

The new leg­is­la­tion also de­fines the roles of the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor who would be responsibl­e for ad­min­is­tra­tion of the or­ga­ni­za­tion and the regis­trar who would be in charge of in­ves­ti­ga­tions and en­forc­ing the rules. In­ves­ti­ga­tions were pre­vi­ously the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

IAN KUCERAK

Ser­vice Al­berta Min­is­ter Nate Glu­bish says Bill 20 will in­crease trans­parency, im­prove ac­count­abil­ity and re­store good gover­nance.

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