History

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History of BCFSA

BCFSA was established in 2019, replacing the Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM) as British Columbia’s regulator of credit unions, insurance and trust companies, pension plans, and mortgage brokers.

Integration with Real Estate Regulators

B.C.’s Ministry of Finance announced in 2019 that BCFSA would integrate with the Real Estate Council of BC and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate, to become a single integrated regulator of B.C.’s financial services sector, including credit unions, trust companies, insurance companies, mortgage brokers, pension plans, and real estate services. 

The integration simplifies accountabilities and enhances regulatory oversight through more effective and efficient business processes, investigations, and enforcements. Creating a single financial services regulator was a key recommendation from the Expert Panel on Money Laundering Report.

On August 1, 2021, the integration took effect, giving BCFSA sole authority over real estate education and licensing as well as investigations and discipline responsibilities for licensed and unlicensed real estate activity, including real estate development marketing. It also has rule-making authority governing the conduct of real estate licensees.

Transition from FICOM

For thirty years, from 1989 to 2019, FICOM was B.C.’s regulator of financial services, contributing to the safety and stability of the British Columbia financial sector by protecting the public while maintaining market efficiency.

Until 2016, FICOM was also responsible for the supervision of the Real Estate Council of BC. In June 2016, the Province ended self-regulation of the real estate profession and created a free-standing Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate with its own rule-making powers

In 2017, an independent review of FICOM recommended turning FICOM into a Crown agency. Enabling legislation and cabinet orders establishing BCFSA as an independent crown agency were brought into force in 2019 and full implementation was completed in November of that year.

With the full implementation of BCFSA, FICOM was dissolved. Proceedings and other activities that were commenced or conducted by FICOM prior to its dissolution, or to which the Commission was a party, are deemed to be proceedings and other activities commenced or conducted by the BC Financial Services Authority. A ruling, order or judgment in favour of or against the Commission may be enforced by or against the BCFSA.

Dissolution of the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC)

For sixty three years, RECBC was BC’s regulator of real estate services. With the integration of RECBC and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate with the BC Financial Services Authority, effective August 1, 2021, RECBC has been dissolved. Proceedings and other activities that were commenced or conducted by RECBC prior to its dissolution, or to which the RECBC was a party, are (a) in the case of proceedings and other activities that are related to a decision made by RECBC under the Real Estate Services Act, deemed to be proceedings and other activities commenced or conducted by the Superintendent of Real Estate, and are continued as such, and (b) in the case of any other proceedings and other activities, deemed to be proceedings and other activities commenced or conducted by the BCFSA, and are to be continued as such. A ruling, order or judgment in favour of or against the RECBC may be enforced by or against the BCFSA

An Evolving Regulatory Approach

Significant developments in the financial services industry have changed the nature of the risks and of risk management in recent years. Like many other financial services regulators in the world, BCFSA takes a risk-based approach to financial services supervision. BCFSA’s supervisory work continues to focus on determining the impact of current and potential future events.

We continue to make BCFSA’s risk-based supervision as dynamic and forward looking as possible to ensure that we can respond effectively to changes in the British Columbian and Canadian financial sectors, now and in the future.