By Glenda Brindle

The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) is planning a new registration education program that will ensure the continuing success of the real estate profession. But before I get into the details, I’d like to look back at how the sector has changed.

When I entered the real estate profession 27 years ago, my broker handed me a phone book and told me to get to work on finding some new clients. I’d taken courses to become a salesperson, but I still had a lot to learn. On-the-job learning was essential to my success.

We have come a long way since then, and the current program delivered by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) has served our profession well. But today’s marketplace offers buyers and sellers more options than ever and trading real estate has become more complex. It’s challenging for brokerages to find the time to bring new salespeople up to speed. As a result, new salespeople are expected to have a higher level of skills and knowledge from the get-go. We need to change our approach to education so that education providers can better meet the needs of today’s real estate sector.

We know that’s the case, because RECO commissioned a great deal of consultation with real estate professionals, education providers and other regulatory bodies. We repeatedly heard that real estate registration education should provide aspiring professionals with the skills and knowledge they need to complete real estate trades when they enter the profession.

With that in mind, RECO has released a proposal for the future of real estate registration education in Ontario that will ensure that new salespeople can “hit the ground running.”

Once implemented, only new salespeople and brokers would follow the new learning paths we’re proposing, but we know that registration education affects the entire real estate sector.

Completing real estate trades involves a lot of interaction with fellow professionals. When you’re scheduling showings, taking offers and closing deals, you want the representative on the other side of the transaction to have a thorough understanding of the process. And a skilled, knowledgeable base of brokers and salespeople means positive experiences for buyers and sellers, who then have greater trust in the real estate profession.

Currently, aspiring salespeople get a full overview of the real estate transaction during the pre-registration phase of their education, but they don’t have much opportunity to apply that knowledge before they are registered. After they are registered with RECO, salespeople continue to learn with articling courses and on-the-job learning at their brokerage.

Under our proposal, aspiring salespeople would obtain a broad understanding of the real estate transaction before they enter the profession. There are four key components to our plan:

  • Key topics that are currently covered in the articling phase would be moved to the pre-registration phase.
  • Working with education experts, we would develop a new curriculum for pre-registration, articling and broker education.
  • To make sure that students are on track, they would demonstrate what they have learned by completing scenarios based on real-life situations at several points during their education.
  • After completing their courses, students would have to pass an independent certification exam.

New salespeople will still require support from their brokerage, but they’ll have a better understanding of the mechanics of a real estate trade.

Overhauling registration education is a big job, but it’s not something we are doing alone. Education experts will help us develop the new program and education providers will help us deliver it. Both will be chosen through an open selection process. As our current education provider, OREA will have an opportunity to participate in this process.

RECO’s role would be to provide oversight by setting rigorous standards and by ensuring that education providers meet those standards.

In fact, we plan to introduce greater choice to registration education. Aspiring real estate professionals could have multiple education providers to choose from.

I encourage you to learn more by visiting RECO’s website. We have posted a white paper that describes our proposal in-depth, an executive summary that highlights the key points, and Q&As that answer some of the questions we have received.

And, most importantly, we want to hear from you. I invite you to submit written comments to by February 20.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting continued progress in registration education. It’s something that all real estate professionals should be excited about.