The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) is calling for fines of up to $50,000 for registrants who breach the code of ethics in the act that regulates real estate in the province.

In the first of four white papers that state the association’s position towards moderating Ontario’s real estate rules, OREA also recommends that the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) be given more investigative powers, while at the same time asking that the regulator be subject to audits to ensure that “registrants’ fees and other sources of revenue are being used efficiently”.

The white paper includes eight policy proposals:

  1. At least double the maximum fines for REBBA Code of Ethics breaches to a maximum $50,000 for salespeople and brokers and $100,000 for brokerages
  2. The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) be given the ability to order a registrant to repay either all, or a portion, of the profits gained as a result of a breach under the REBBA Code of Ethics
  3. RECO be given the authority to suspend or revoke registration or apply terms and conditions
  4. Permit the Auditor General of Ontario to conduct value for money audits of RECO and all its programs to ensure that registrants’ fees and other sources of revenue are being used efficiently
  5. Make all RECO registration fee increases subject to ministerial approval
  6. Make RECO subject to the oversight of an internal RECO ombudsman
  7. Provide RECO with powers to proactively investigate REBBA and the Code of Ethics violations; and
  8. Make RECO more transparent when it comes to freedom of information requests

OREA says the white papers are “intended to encourage member discussion on the individual proposals that will inform the final recommendations that OREA presents to the government.” It says phase one of the two-stage review process focused on the issue of multiple representation, to which OREA responded with a submission earlier this month. The second phase beginning this fall will look at all aspects of REBBA and will extend into 2018, says the association.