By Jim Adair

Ettore Cardarelli and Tim Hudak during the livestream event.
Ettore Cardarelli and Tim Hudak during the livestream event.

The Ontario Real Estate Association’s five-year strategic plan, which includes beefing up the image of Realtors, creating strong government lobbying efforts and working as an advocate for homeowners, was revealed recently in a livestreamed event.

Featuring OREA president Ettore Cardarelli and CEO Tim Hudak, the event was designed to show members and the public that OREA is taking the gloves off when it comes to dealing with government policies and with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO).



“OREA will be a RECO watchdog,” said Hudak. “We will push our provincial regulator to get tougher on bad actors who erode the public’s trust while they engage in questionable or unethical practices.”

Cardarelli added, “We need to raise the bar on professional standards. We need to make it harder to get into the profession but easier to get kicked out.”

Asked if pushing RECO won’t create conflict for the association, Cardarelli said that RECO officials pledged to work with OREA on a variety of issues, including updates to REBBA, the provincial act that regulates the industry. But he said the association isn’t happy when regulators and politicians only respond to issues after there has been negative attention in the media.

He says it’s OREA’s job to advocate changes to industry regulations. “As an individual registrant, I am not comfortable personally with RECO using my membership money to become an advocate,” Cardarelli said. “I don’t think it’s their role. I think their role is to be the regulator and enforce those regulations.”

Hudak said, “I think a lot of Realtors want to know where all the dues revenue goes. Dues have increased, but has it actually gone to better enforcement or is it just going to administration?”

OREA, which for years provided education licensing courses for the real estate industry, was forced to make changes when RECO chose a new provider.

“In addition, OREA and its members face both external challenges (market conditions, regulatory obstacles) and internal ones (perception of low professional standards, lack of strategic direction). For these reasons, the board and senior staff decided OREA had to change,” says the strategic plan, which can be downloaded here.

Among the goals of the plan is to “figure out who does what” to avoid duplication of services between the local, provincial and national real estate associations. In B.C. and
Saskatchewan, talks to merge real estate boards under one organization are ongoing. There are currently 39 real estate boards in Ontario.

Cardarelli said during the livestream event, “We believe that technological disruptions currently pose the biggest risk to the livelihood of Realtors.” The strategic plan includes examining how other jurisdictions are handling change and attempting to mitigate risk, “with a particular focus on how consumers are being empowered through technology”. The plan will then come up with a strategy to tackle those challenges.

The association is also making changes to its governance and staffing. Hudak says it has already cut more than $1.5 million in annual expenditures. The plan says OREA will “advance Realtor’s interests through a smaller, more focused senior management team including our new CEO, by making advocacy, not education, paramount.”

OREA says it is also looking at “relocating to a more strategic and affordable location”.

  • Dave says

    OREA lost the confidence of the TREB Board of Directors 25 yrs ago but there was no way to get rid of OREA because of the long standing requirement of all Ontario Real Estate Board members to join both CREA and OREA as a condition of utilizing MLS services. It’s time to dismantle OREA and their continuing unwarranted entitlement to our forced support.

    • Brian Martindale

      I read George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” a long, long time ago. The pigs had it all set up from the barnyard outward whereby the other animals existed for the benefit of the pigs…who reported to the farmer. The pigs ruled over the others by way of conditioned dependency thinking that was perpetuated upon them by the pigs. The horses were the most easily duped because they naively trusted in the pigs’ supposedly superior intellectual and organizational abilities. The pigs were the natural ruling class…so the other animals thought, because they were trained (read indoctrinated) to think that. The lower order of animals never questioned the order of things because that was the way things had always been. The sun came up in the morning, went down in the evening, and the pigs were in charge. The horses did all of the heavy work without complaint because they were the natural workhorses. The pigs lived off of the avails of the horses’, and to a lesser extent, the other animals’ efforts. Sound familiar? The only difference between the Animal Farm and Organized Real Estate is that with Organized Real Estate the horses come and go on a regular rotational basis, but their overall numbers remain high enough to keep the money ball rolling and thus keep the pigs (the overseeing ruling class by fiat) happily rolling in manure…I mean, money.
      My observation herein is not meant to be disrespectful of pigs nor of ORE’s ruling bureaucrats. They are what they are by dint of acceptance of their stations in life as granted to them by genetics and accepted thinking practices respectively. However, my observations are intended to cast a light upon the cadre of a well organized systemic group of ORE elites who live off of the avails of the disorganized peons (as some of the ruling class might think of their serfs, who come and go like horny fireflies in the night)…always after having deposited hard cash into the elitists’ bank accounts…never to be seen again.
      ORE is a back-assward system whereby unorganized Realtors exist primarily for the benefit (read existence) of the organized, well protected bureaucrats. In a representative democracy the taxpayers get to vote for their governmental representatives…and those representatives can be voted out of office by the taxpayers. Bureaucrats (who work within ORE associations, who make more than the average Realtor makes…by a long shot) are appointed, not voted in, to their positions of authority. They cannot be voted out of office by their taxpayers. The locally elected association/board representative members from the peon membership serve on an often short-term volunteer basis. They lose nothing but some pride (maybe) if they get voted out of office. A CREA president is a yearly rotating figurehead only. The there-forever pigs (CEO’s, COO’s, COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO’s etc.) tell the workforce what is what and what will be.
      I think that the pigs still have it all sewn up quite well. The Animal Farm lives on. Yo! You horses! Get back into those yolks, stop thinking and plough those fields of dreams. And don’t be late with your deposits. If you fall by the wayside, don’t worry; there will be plenty of new horses with big muscles and conditioned brains to replace you. The crops will come in as usual. Gotta keep those pigs nice and fat; they are the well-entrenched keepers-of-the-operation after all. Farmer John (the ultimate government) likes it that way; at-arms’-length proxy rule by the pigs keeps his hands clean don’t’cha know. What self-respecting big bosses would like getting manure all over their hands if they could avoid it? Best to stay in the house and leave it all up to the pigs to get the dirty work done.
      By cracky, it sure does stink out there some days though.

  • Karen Filice

    Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Affairs is RECO’s watchdog. RECO was supposed to enforce the laws – but instead they expect realtors to snitch on other realtors. Why create laws if you have no intention of enforcing them??? Why do we have so many layers of bureaucracy? Why don’t we eliminate RECO and keep our membership office OREA and let us be governed directly by the Ministry as we used to be…..

    • Don McMillan

      My thoughts exactly……..Real Estate is full of meaningless bureaucracy.

  • PED

    “OREA will be a RECO watchdog” -Tim Hudak.

    Really? sounds like the tail is wagging the dog in an empty threat.

    This is an irrelevant entity trying to portray they’re still relevant such that all the elected directors can continue to flit from board to OREA to CREA to board to OREA to CREA ad nauseum and then profess after years of doing nothing to finally want to do something.

    I mean, they’ve been around for how long and only now have found a voice to speak about advocating for tougher legislation on bad actors and for homeowners?

    Besides which, is that not RECO’s role while OREA’s is supposed to be about advancing and making better Realtors of their dues paying members?

    The province’s, that is, RECO’s decision to break ties with OREA was the perfect opportunity for those very director flitters, to demonstrate they actually care more about the members than of their own status and paid for boondoogles, by working for the collective. They should be seriously pursuing either cutting ties with CREA in favour of a revamped OREA charged with CREA’s mandate or ditch OREA which right now is just trying to portray to its members that their dues are for good cause.

  • OREA contacted all RECO candidates during the previous RECO Board election. OREA asked for feedback. They only published the feedback that suited their agenda to recriminate against RECO. Any other feedback was not published. They also never replied to any of my comments or questions, which appears to be a common trait according to a veteran realtor who recently contacted me about this topic.

  • Paul

    Michael is bang on – OREA is a solution desperately looking for a problem. Time to rethink the model that supports so many layers of inefficiency and cost.

  • Michael Drakich

    With little to do, this sounds like a MAKE WORK project. A weak attempt to justify OREA dues. Pushing RECO to become harsher achieves what exactly? A better industry? Improved public opinion? Pipe dreams. As long as brokers use the mirror test to hire (if you hold a mirror to the applicants face and it fogs, they’re hired) the industry will never be rid of those who damage our image. It takes true leadership to effect real change. Significantly, and I mean big time, push for higher education entry into the industry. At a minimum, a college level program of two years or more. Mandatory apprenticeship periods. Professionalism requires much more. A much greater level of documentation dealing with the sale needs to be registered with title. A much more stringent requirement on Sellers on how a property is offered. I could list more, but OREA is still navel gazing, trying to figure out what to do.

    • Diane Plant

      Great points

    • J Jan

      Right on Michael…

  • I agree with Dave below. There’s no question that industry professionalism is in desperate need of improvement but let’s remember who trained the vast majority of the realtors who are currently out there and upon whose shoulders the responsibility for the current ‘low’ level of professionalism rests. OREA did all the training, by their own admission.

    I don’t like the ‘new’ antagonistic and confrontational direction OREA is taking and I greatly resent being forced to pay dues to an organization that I strongly feel is irrelevant or, at best, entirely not acting in my best interests as a realtor. At the very least OREA membership should be voluntary. Then we’d quickly know the truth of whether OREA is representing what realtors want.

  • Dave says

    TREB has a lot of empty space that could be leased to OREA however the best option would be to dismantle OREA as it serves no useful purpose. OREA is largely to blame for the excess number of Realtors as they used our dues for years to promote and attract far to many into this industry.
    OREA would never agree to a plebiscite as that would be overwhelming agreed to by the membership.