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On August 1, 2021 my time as Chair of the Real Estate Council of BC will come to an end, as BCFSA assumes responsibility for the regulation of real estate in this province. Serving as the Chair of RECBC has been a privilege and a great responsibility. Overseeing such a large and diverse industry is a challenging mandate, and thanks to the support of my fellow Council members and the staff at RECBC, we have worked hard to ensure that British Columbians can have confidence in the professionalism and expertise of their real estate professionals.
It has been an exciting time to be part of the regulation of licensed real estate services in British Columbia. With very active real estate markets across the province, it has been more crucial than ever to maintain a strong regulatory presence and ensure that consumers are protected. I’ve been honoured to lead the Council during such a significant time, and to have been part of the transition and planning as RECBC prepares to integrate, along with the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate, into BC Financial Services Authority.
I would like to extend my thanks to the following people and organizations for their assistance, support and co-operation with the Real Estate Council of BC over the past years:
- The directors and staff at the Real Estate Division, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia who administer and provide pre-licensing education that prepares BC’s real estate professionals for practice;
- Our valued stakeholders and partners at organizations such as the British Columbia Real Estate Association and its member boards, the Professional Association of Managing Agents, LandlordBC, Condominium Home Owners Association, Real Estate Errors and Omissions Corporation, Real Estate Compensation Fund Corporation and many others;
- The dedicated volunteers who have provided input and advice as members of RECBC’s Advisory Groups;
- The Council members past and present who have given their time and expertise to governing the organization; and last but certainly not least
- The talented and committed staff members at RECBC, whose skills and experience will continue to benefit the public and the industry as they join the team at BCFSA.
This final, special issue of the Report from Council newsletter contains information about the integration to support real estate professionals who may have questions in the days ahead. A great deal of work has gone into planning to ensure as seamless a transition as possible. Real estate professionals can look forward to finding all the information they rely on from the RECBC website on a new BCFSA website, at www.bcfsa.ca. Registration services and continuing education courses will also remain unchanged. Licensing, education and professional standards enquiry services will continue to be available.
It has been a great pleasure to serve the best interests of British Columbians by ensuring that the regulation of the real estate industry is maintained at a consistently high level. I am confident that as the single regulator of the financial services sector, including real estate, BCFSA will continue to enhance the promotion of high standards of excellence among industry members for the ongoing protection of the public.
Chair, Real Estate Council of BC
On August 1, 2021, RECBC and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate will integrate with BC Financial Services Authority (“BCFSA”) and BCFSA will become the sole regulator for real estate professionals in BC. At that time, updates to the numbering of the Real Estate Services Rules will come into effect. There will be no changes to the legislated requirements for real estate professionals. The Real Estate Services Act, Regulation and Real Estate Services Rules will remain the governing legislation for all real estate professionals in the province.
We are updating references to the Rules on our website, forms, Regulatory Information and Practice Guidelines, and in our educational materials to reflect the new numbering. A table of concordance showing old and new Rule numbers will be available on the new BCFSA website on August 1 to assist with the transition.
On August 1, the Real Estate Council Bylaws will no longer be in effect. Bylaws which impact real estate professionals will be replaced by Regulatory Statements issued by BCFSA, which will be published on the BCFSA website on August 1. There will be no changes to the requirements for real estate professionals or brokerages as result of these changes.
Will the process or fees for licensing change?
No. The cost of applying for or renewing your licence will remain the same. BCFSA will continue to collect fees on behalf of the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Corporation and the Real Estate Special Compensation Fund Corporation at the time of licensing. You will continue to receive notices ahead of the expiry date of your licence, with information and links to renew your licence online, using the new BCFSA website.
- Will there be any changes to mandatory forms? Will mandatory forms still be available on WEBForms?
Mandatory forms, including consumer disclosure forms, have been updated to feature information about BCFSA, and will be available on the BCFSA website on August 1. Updated versions of the forms will be available on WEBForms in English in the first week of August. Updated versions of the forms translated into other languages will be made available on WEBForms and BCFSA website later in August.
RECBC’s FormsApp, which enables real estate professionals to make the required consumer disclosures digitally, has also been updated.
- Are the Real Estate Services Rules changing?
Revisions to the Real Estate Services Rules, which include renumbering of sections and some minor language changes, are in effect as of August 1, 2021.
The renumbering ensures the Real Estate Services Rules align with provincial legislative drafting standards. The revisions include some minor wording changes in various sections, and repeal sections that were duplicative and no longer needed. There is no change to the conduct requirements for licensed real estate professionals.
The renumbered Real Estate Services Rules will be available on the BCFSA website on August 1, along with amended forms, education course materials, and other resources. The work to update materials is ongoing and is expected to be completed later this year.
To assist with the transition, a Table of Concordance has been developed, which compares the provisions of the Real Estate Services Rules as they existed before the revisions with the Rules as they exist now. Section numbers and names from the previous Rules are given, along with their corresponding section numbers in the newly updated Rules.
- Can I still contact a Professional Standards Advisor when I have questions?
Yes. Our experienced and knowledgeable Advisors will continue to provide information and respond to inquiries from real estate professional and consumers. After August 1, they will be called Practice Standards Advisors, and they can be reached at [email protected], or by phone at (604) 660-3555 or toll-free at (866) 206-3030.
- How will BCFSA be structured?
As a modern, effective and efficient regulator, BCFSA is committed to protecting consumers through fair and efficient regulation of the financial services sector.
BCFSA’s focus is on the financial services sector as a whole. We are organized on a functional basis with departments that oversee the entire sector, including Supervision, Legal, Policy and Stakeholder and Engagements, Compliance and Market Conduct, and Regulatory Services. A Corporate Services and Transformation department provides support to all the core business areas.
- Is contact information changing?
The mailing address for BCFSA on August 1 will be:
600-750 West Pender Street
You can visit our website at: www.bcfsa.ca
You can contact us by phone at: 604-660-3555 or toll-free at 866-206-3030
Our general email is: [email protected]
Licensing services are: [email protected]
Education services are: [email protected]
Practice Standards Advisors are: [email protected]
Emails and phone calls directed to current RECBC email addresses and phone numbers will be redirected to BCFSA. We encourage you to update your contact information as appropriate.
Emails sent after August 1 to OSRE addresses cannot be redirected to BCFSA due to technical restrictions. To reach an OSRE contact, please update your contact information as required, by replacing @gov.bc.ca at the end of the email address with @bcfsa.ca.
We’ve been working hard to ensure a seamless transition. However, if any temporary service disruptions are experienced, we ask for your patience: we’ll do everything we can to ensure any disruptions are resolved as soon as possible.
Are the mandatory licensing or continuing education courses changing?
No. Course materials have been updated to reference BCFSA as the regulator for real estate services, and references to the Real Estate Services Rules are being updated to reflect the renumbering. There are no changes to the requirements that real estate professionals complete continuing education in order to renew their licences.
A refreshed and updated version of the Applied Practice Course for residential trading services will be launching in early August, including enhanced content on anti-money laundering and conflicts of interest.
How will investigations and discipline be conducted at BCFSA?
Investigations of complaints against real estate professionals will be conducted by the Real Estate Market Conduct department, under authority delegated from the CEO of BCFSA who, as Chief Statutory Officer, is the Superintendent of Real Estate, as well as Superintendent of Pensions, Registrar of Mortgage Brokers, Superintendent of Financial Institutions and CEO of the Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation.
The Real Estate Market Conduct department is part of the Compliance and Market Conduct division at BCFSA. The investigation and discipline process has been refined to support a more efficient and effective model. These refinements will enable BCFSA to better manage the high number and complexity of complaints, and to help ensure consistent, predictable outcomes that protect the public.
Complaints will first be reviewed by the department’s Intake Team to assess whether BCFSA has jurisdiction in the matter, to support early resolution of matters where possible, and to identify the potential breaches of conduct requirements, according to the information and evidence contained in the complaint.
Based on the initial review by the Intake Team, the matter may be referred to the Investigation Team, who will investigate to obtain and evaluate further evidence.
Outcomes of an investigation could include:
- Administrative penalties
- Issuance of a letter of advisement
- File closure
- Notice of hearing
Should the matter proceed to a hearing, a Hearing Officer will have delegated authority for discipline decisions. Hearing officers are separate from the investigation team. These officers will have specialized knowledge of administrative law, the conduct of hearings, and the regulatory requirements. They may be internal to BCFSA, reporting to the Director, Legal – or they may be external appointees.
The potential outcomes of a discipline hearing include:
- Fines up to $250, 000 for individuals or up to $500,000 for brokerages
- An additional penalty equal to any remuneration accepted.
- A licence suspension or cancellation
- Remedial education
- Licence conditions
- Payment of enforcement costs to BCFSA.
- Will there be any changes to mandatory forms? Will mandatory forms still be available on WEBForms?
The authority for overseeing real estate services in B.C. has undergone changes over the years. Here is a quick overview of the evolution of regulatory oversight authority from the introduction of the Real Estate Services Act in 2005 until today.
Before 2005: Superintendent of Real Estate was the regulator, with progressive delegation of authority to the Real Estate Council of BC over the years.
2005: The Real Estate Services Act (“RESA”) was introduced. Under RESA, the Real Estate Council of BC became a “self regulating entity” and had rule-making authority. The Superintendent retained the ability to take action against licensees for serious matters, unlicensed real estate activities and the right to appeal disciplinary decisions of RECBC.
2016: RESA was amended to end ‘self-regulation’ and the Superintendent was given the power to direct RECBC, along with rule-making powers. All other authorities unchanged.
2021: RESA was amended to transfer authority for the regulation of real estate, including licensed and unlicensed activity, and administration of the Real Estate Development Marketing Act, to BC Financial Services Authority. RECBC and the Office of the Superintendent will cease to exist as of August 1, 2021, and BCFSA becomes the single regulator of financial services, including real estate.
Beginning August 3, prospective real estate professionals who have successfully completed the trading services licensing exam will enrol in an updated and refreshed version of the Residential Trading Services Applied Practice Course, with enhanced content to help ensure that new professionals enter the industry prepared to provide a high standard of real estate services.
Enhancements to the course include:
- New modules on anti-money laundering to prepare learners to meet their AML reporting requirements;
- Added content on conflicts of interest to help prepare learners to deal with conflicts that may arise during a transaction;
- Updated activities and scenarios to give learners opportunities to practice making agency disclosures and to consider the due diligence required to ensure clients’ needs are addressed in the contract of purchase and sale;
- More real-life scenarios providing the opportunity for learners to discuss concepts and practices they have learned and put into practice as new real estate professionals.
The course includes a checklist to assist managing brokers in monitoring the progress of your real estate professionals through the course. The Managing Broker Checklist can support you to mentor new real estate professionals at your brokerage as they complete the practical field assignment reflection. By meeting regularly with new professionals as they complete the course, you can monitor their progress and support their successful completion of the practical field assignments.
The Managing Broker Checklist will be available on the new BCFSA website in early August. Updates to the Commercial Applied Practice Course are in progress and more information on an expected launch date for the refreshed course will be available in the coming weeks.
The following actions have been taken as a result of disciplinary hearings and Consent Orders conducted by RECBC.
Trading Services (Sales)
- Qualification Hearing Decision: Anil Kumar Singh