The Alberta government has prioritized funds to review what it considers “ongoing dysfunction” in the province’s real estate industry, as announced in its recently released budget.
Operating expenses of $300,000 will help Service Alberta, the ministry overseeing consumer protection and other services including registries and land titles, conduct a comprehensive analysis of the Condominium Property Regulation. The investment provides opportunities to reduce red tape, while promoting an efficient, fair and open marketplace.
The ministry will also receive $450,000 to review the Real Estate Act to make sure the Real Estate Council of Alberta is a well-governed and trusted organization, able to deliver necessary functions, duties and powers while protecting consumers.
Minister of Service Alberta Nate Glubish announced proposed changes to the Real Estate Act, earlier last month. Bill 15, known as the Real Estate Amendment Act, would allow the province to fire all 12 council members of the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) and hire a new board of regulators. An official administrator would be appointed to lead RECA in the interim.
“Our government is taking action to stabilize the Real Estate Council of Alberta,” he said in a prior press release. “For too long, serious concerns and complaints from industry and from council officials themselves have been ignored. That stops now. The council needs to stop focusing on trivial things like advertising guidelines and start focusing on protecting Albertans and addressing the actual issues facing the industry.”
A third-party review by KPMG had pointed out significant concerns with the governance of RECA as well as its performance and regulatory effect. Some council members have already resigned as a result of the inquiry.
“We welcome the amendments and look forward to working with the Minister and the Administrator to ensure compliance,” Rob Telford, RECA’s chair of council, said in a press release after Bill 51 was tabled. “As the independent governing authority for Alberta’s real estate industry, consumer protection is at the core of our mandate, and RECA will continue to operate under that mandate moving forward. Core operations at RECA are not affected by these amendments.”