“An Open Letter from OREA President Ray Ferris and CEO Tim Hudak to Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA) and the Code of Ethics. Enforcement.”
February 24, 2017
Mike Cusano, Chair
Kate Murray, Chief Executive Officer
Real Estate Council of Ontario
West Tower, 3300 Bloor St W #1200
Etobicoke, ON M8X 2X2
Dear Mike and Kate:
In the wake of CBC Marketplace’s hidden camera investigation into the unethical conduct of certain registrants in November of last year, OREA petitioned RECO to investigate this matter and urged the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to amend the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (“REBBA”) to increase fines and penalties for those registrants in breach of the rules.
We were pleased with RECO’s response to all registrants condemning this behaviour in communicating that “these practices are a clear breach of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 and the Code of Ethics. Engaging in this sort of behaviour undermines consumer protection, consumer confidence, and puts the reputation of the real estate profession at risk”. We could not agree more. But another step is needed: actually punishing those who violated the Act or the Code of Ethics.
OREA strongly condemns the actions of any real estate professional who knowingly behaves in an unethical manner in violation of REBBA and its Code of Ethics. It is our contention that a stronger system to punish this bad behaviour is critical to ensuring that this type of behaviour not only doesn’t persist, but that those who insist on engaging in this type of behaviour be deprived of the privilege of being part of the real estate profession.
Consumer confidence in the real estate industry is critical to a stable market and a lack of consumer trust and confidence in the regulator’s enforcement of the rules could negatively affect a consumer’s decision to utilize the services of a registrant.
Ontario REALTORS® and consumers rightfully have an expectation that RECO would have immediately investigated this matter and appropriately disciplined those who violated the rules thereby sending a very strong message to both registrants and the public that such behaviour shall not be tolerated.
We all have an obligation to help raise the bar in our profession but our regulator has a unique responsibility – to protect the public interest and maintain consumer confidence in the real estate industry. This is a responsibility that OREA wholeheartedly supports.
In this regard, we would very much appreciate an update on the progress RECO has made with respect to the investigation of these individuals and we would also appreciate an opportunity to meet with you to discuss other ways our respective organizations can work together to raise the bar in our industry, protect consumers and support a vibrant real estate market.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Ray Ferris, President Tim Hudak, CEO