The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) is calling for a strengthened real estate education program in its third white paper, Working Towards Excellence: A Forward Looking Plan for Real Estate Registration Education.

“Raising the professional standards of Ontario Realtors begins with improving the education that happens before becoming a licensed professional,” says Ettore Cardarelli, OREA president. “A stronger education program will better prepare salespeople for our increasingly complex real estate market and the challenges that come with helping families through the biggest purchase of their lives.”



The OREA Real Estate College was the provider of real estate licensing education since the 1950s. In 2008, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), took control over real estate education curriculum and standards. Since then, the quality of the program has fallen behind, OREA says.

The OREA Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA) Review Taskforce is asking for Realtor and public feedback on several proposals, including:

  • A college diploma or degree as registration pre-requisite
  • Tougher, more practice-based examinations
  • More in-class instruction on offer writing and presentation
  • A longer, more demanding articling period that better prepares registrants for the rigours of the marketplace, similar to other professions
  • The introduction of new specialty courses for topics such as condominiums, industrial and rural/waterfront properties
  • Brian Martindale

    I am assuming that the Review Taskforce will read REM’s comments section religiously henceforth in pursuit of learning what REM’s readership thinks about its proposals, if many take the time to chime in. Following is my take on the proposals at hand in order of presentation:
    A four-year college diploma or a three-year university degree should absolutely be the minimum real estate university admittance pre requisite. All professions require same…at an absolute minimum. This will be the first step toward producing professional Realtors. Earning a four-year diploma or a three-year degree demands of students that they apply themselves to the tasks at hand in a disciplined manner. I would go so far as to demand that at least a “B” average be achieved by students from either institutional framework. Wannabes would therefore value becoming a professional Realtor from a different perspective because they would then realize that not just anyone could become a Realtor. ORE must make becoming a Realtor something to be valued. Anything acquired for free or almost free and without much in the way of serious long-term personal effort has no intrinsic value within the minds of wannabe get-rich-quick artists who continue to decide to give real estate a try when most all else of value is out of reach for them. Yes, a few potentially good Realtors will not get a chance at the trough due to their insufficient education requirements, but life is not fair, it just is what it is. What ought to be fair, however, is what consumers can expect from the pool of professional Realtors (high quality personalities across the board) which pool, due to more stringent education requirements, will be much smaller from which to choose. Quality over quantity; that is the way to go.
    Part of every examination ought to be practice-related, “hands-on” if you will. It is one thing to regurgitate answers to questions on paper; it is quite another to put into practice—correctly—what one remembered (short-term) in a classroom setting. Doing the actual deed reinforces classroom learning. Making mistakes whilst ‘doing’ burns into the memory banks what ‘not’ to do far better than receiving a red mark on a paper exam answer. Making mistakes should be relegated to the pre-apprenticeship phase. Making mistakes whilst using the public as a communal guinea-pig whilst learning on-the-job (passing one’s self off as a professional whilst chasing commissions) is unacceptable. What the public doesn’t know ‘does’ hurt the public sometimes, and ‘sometimes’ is too many times. Real professionals don’t gamble with the public interest unless they are fraudsters who have slipped through the cracks. For these types it should be “One strike and yer out!”. The same goes for failed exam writers. Failure at the preliminary exam stage should result in a quick exit from the program. Pre-exams should be a weeding-out process, not a “Welcome to our club!” process.
    When I graduated from real estate university in 1980, I had to be able to write offers from memory, including any and all clauses regularly in use at the time. From day one on the job I could write offers off-the-cuff on the hood of my car, and I did so regularly, even in the dark at one o’clock in the morning on one occasion. I never experienced a failed offer due to incorrect wording or clause failure. This current-day business of writing open book exams is farcical in nature. If you can’t get it firmly entrenched into your head through diligent study, and then retrieved again, unassisted, under pressure… when need be…the “Yer out!” eulogy should be the clarion call.
    “A longer, more demanding articling period…similar to other professions.”?? This idea is an absolute necessity! Hells’ Bells…I served a five year articling period (aka an apprenticeship) just to earn my Steamfitter’s license! I spent more time in the classroom and on the job as a supervised apprentice in order to finally become a licensed tradesman than a Realtor spends getting licensed, struggling through the first few years masquerading as a professional, and then slowly failing until he/she quits the business and flames out…usually all within the five-year time frame that I underwent just getting my Steamfitter’s license! Duuugh!!
    The last category needs no comment from me; it’s a no-brainer.
    Good luck OREA. It’s about time that ‘you’, the powers-that-be, treat becoming a PROFESSIONAL REALTOR with the seriousness that it deserves, but more important, with the seriousness that the public deserves. After all, it’s the public that pays the freight and thence too often suffers the negative consequences of amateurs fishing at the trough. A few bad apples spoils the barrel, but too many incompetents spoils the image as well, and as within the world of politics, wherein perception is viewed as reality, within the real estate culture, ‘reality’ must beat back long-held negative perceptions.

    • Carolyne in Canada

      Well, Brian, every day we learn something new. Did you know that apparently there is no request for a newbie to provide a SIN number in order to get licensed/registered?

      And that upon checking with CRA, they have no record of an agent who calls himself a broker, and by the way, the CRA person had no idea what the real estate council is, never heard of them (he didn’t speak much English; and that is absolutely not a racial remark, it is a fact of life), but in fact the so-called fellow is just a salesperson. He never gives out business cards; also calls himself a mortgage broker (not). But he does no banking he says. His mother does all his banking. He is never doing banking. Is she registered? Apparently not. Does she have a sin number under the name he identified her? CRA says there is no sin number for her by that name either. How does one do banking and have no SIN number?

      But it speaks volumes that a government employee at CRA has never even heard of the real estate council and knows nothing about the real estate world so to him it doesn’t matter that these immigrants allegedly have no SIN number but are dealing with mega millions of public dollars? And people’s largest investment.

      There are so many registrants at the brokerage, the salesman doesn’t even know who owns the brokerage and doesn’t care, stating that if people in his culture can’t get a real job, they go into real estate; hundreds of them, perhaps thousands now grand-fathered, many well-educated. He supposedly graduated university.

      So it would appear a university education in some aspects is not necessarily the answer. I knew someone who had a science degree
      But didn’t make it in sales and became a manager instead. Likewise his buddy who came up the ranks in the finance business, admitted he couldn’t make it in sales so became a real estate manager.

      These guys were no dummies. But not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Lots of times the real estate business is common sense driven. Like there is no way to know if a doctor or a lawyer graduated in the top or bottom half of his class. Education is a mark of success in its own right. It takes a lot of skill to make it through, but I don’t think that alone is the answer to the real estate business nomenclature debacle, sadly. It would, though, present difficulty merely getting into the business, so maybe that’s a start.

      Not only did we have to write clauses from memory in the middle of the night on the hood of the car (shift workers), even in the rain. Offices were closed and too dangerous in the middle of the night. A lot of business in the 80s was conducted in the middle of the night. I’m no genius but safety first is an issue, especially for woman. If I had a young person, child, interested in going into a career in real estate, I would strongly advise against it, sadly. It simply is not the business many of us joined several decades ago, but in reality the chances of making it are slim to none, no matter the education. Even education cannot make someone into something they are just not cut out for or born to be. And it also isn’t true that CEO’s and others, those with executive skill-sets in other businesses will turn around a real estate conglomerate or lead it to greatness, often. Re-engineering sometimes is not the answer either, but just another sign of the times.

      But life wasn’t scary back then, and it was safe to walk after dark in city streets (absolutely not anymore), and not nearly as dangerous back then, especially for women, as these days. No gun shots and stabbings in the news every single day. No one is safe.

      The situation I described above is likely just the tip of the iceberg. But no one cares. Are SIN numbers not assigned to immigrants as part of the process? But are pseudonyms (nom de plume) allowed in real estate registration instead perhaps of birth names (as in birth certificates)? And as per passports? Maybe someone knows the answers and can post at REM.

      Carolyne L 🍁