3 ways real estate laws and regulations protect Canadians

A look at the laws in Ontario and Quebec provides a good overview for how different provinces in Canada handle real estate practitioners and their companies.

3 ways real estate laws and regulations protect Canadians

Each province has its own set of rules governing real estate, but they all have certain similarities, and all laws and regulations are designed to protect the public.

1. Legally practising real estate

In Ontario, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) governs real estate activities and oversees the implementation of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA), 2002.

Quebec follows the Quebec Real Estate Brokerage Act (QREBA), which was updated in May of 2010. The organization that oversees the QREBA is the Organisme d'autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec.

Both Acts require registration or licensing of individuals practising real estate, as well as the real estate companies.

Registration allows the governing organizations to protect the public trust so that buyers and sellers know they are working with a salesperson or broker, as well as a brokerage, that meets certain standards and possesses the necessary education to knowledgeably assist in a real estate transaction.

2. Education

Both Ontario and Quebec require education prior to the issuance of a license to practise real estate. Each organization sets education parameters and applicants must pass an exam within 12 months of course completion. This assures that new agents have current and relevant education when they begin practising real estate.

Continuing education is required in both provinces with slightly different parameters. For example, RECO requires existing salespersons to complete a 4-Module Update and two elective modules every 24 months as part of a registrant's continuing education requirements.

In Quebec, brokers are required to study specific topics including, but not limited to, legal matters, regulatory reform, contracts, ethics and business management.

3. Violation of laws and regulations

Ontario requires all registered brokers and salespersons to abide by a code of ethics. Failure to follow the rules within the code can result in penalties and possible termination of registration.

The public can bring complaints forward that are reviewed by a committee. Discipline is imposed by a committee, as well. Depending on the severity of the infraction, fines and education courses may be levied or suspension or termination of registration may occur.

Quebec follows a process for brokers and agencies who violate laws and regulations as well. Several committees oversee the investigative and disciplinary process. The Organisme also oversees the Real Estate Indemnity Fund, which is made up of fees paid by licensees in Quebec. The funds are used to pay victims of fraud and other wrong-doings made by a broker or agency.

From the Real Estate Trading Act in Nova Scotia to the Real Estate Services Act in British Columbia, real estate law varies from province to province. The real estate laws in Quebec and Ontario demonstrate that, while there are key differences across Canada, the aim of every province is to protect the public when buying and selling real estate.

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