By Joseph Richer

The past few months have highlighted a serious issue that is endemic, and which requires urgent attention. It is tragic that this awareness has come at the high price of lives lost, great sorrow and anger.



The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) believes in a fair real estate market for all, one that is free of racism, discrimination and hate. We take this issue very seriously.

RECO, like all Canadian real estate regulators, administers the law in the public’s interest.

The Code of Ethics under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 places the following obligations on registrants regarding fairness, honesty, abuse and harassment, along with a duty to ensure compliance:

Registrant obligations
  • A registrant shall treat every person the registrant deals with in the course of a trade in real estate fairly, honestly and with integrity.  O. Reg. 580/05, s. 3.
  • A registrant shall not, in the course of trading in real estate, engage in any act or omission that, having regard to all of the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded as disgraceful, dishonourable, unprofessional or unbecoming a registrant.  O. Reg. 580/05, s. 39.
  • A registrant shall not abuse or harass any person in the course of trading in real estate.  O. Reg. 580/05, s. 40.
Brokerage obligations
  • A brokerage shall ensure that every salesperson and broker that the brokerage employs is carrying out their duties in compliance with this Regulation.  O. Reg. 580/05, s. 41 (1).

RECO, and I would suggest all Canadian real estate regulators, believe salespersons, brokerages and organized real estate as a whole must actively engage to effect meaningful change to support a real estate market free of racism and discrimination. We encourage registrants to raise concerns of this nature with their broker/brokerage and alert them if they, or who they are representing, experience unfair treatment.

Though disciplinary action can act as a deterrent for some, it is equally if not of greater importance to educate registrants on the importance of reporting and addressing improper behaviour. Salespersons and brokers must hold their industry colleagues accountable, and brokerages play an important role in holding their employees accountable for their actions.

Given the importance of understanding, learning and education, RECO is reviewing the resources and education it offers and looking to launch the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) Call It Out! course as an MCE elective. In the meantime, RECO is inviting all brokerage owners and salespersons to take a leadership role and encourage everyone to take the course, which is publicly available on the OHRC website along with other resources.

As we have seen in the past weeks and months, this is a complex topic and it will take leadership at every level of the industry to do their part to make a difference.

It’s time for change and RECO is committed to continuing the dialogue.  It is our mutual responsibility to ensure that we create and maintain a discrimination-free and harassment-free environment.

5 COMMENTS

  1. hmmm…..” registrant shall treat every person the registrant deals with in the course of a trade in real estate fairly, honestly and with integrity.”

    Let’s be honest. New Canadians have no idea of the unethical practice of underlisting properties on the TRREB mls system. Joe cares so little for these new Canadians he allows this practice and the One Dollar Listings to be posted without regard to those at the mercy of organized real estate. Joe it’s you and you alone that is the problem. Actually that sounds like headline news or a great podcast topic?

    You Joe fail to enforce the law. In the old days if you put one word wrong in a listing or an ad the Registrar would hunt you down and force change immediately. Actually didn’t the old Registrar put out a warning about the unethical practices like underlist and $1 dollar. I guess Joe’s board never supplied him with the copy….oppps.

    Let’s be even more honest. Ontario Real Estate is and has been one of the most open and embracing industries in the world. First it was new Canadian Males who were embraced and later Canadian Women who quickly took over top sales stats in most national brands and even local brands as a frequent poster from Brampton is part of.

    Whether you were straight or gay, Ontario Real Estate has not cared for 40 years. Actually aren’t some of the top sales reps in Ontario openly gay and proud of it?

    I really wonder if Joe has ever looked at a list of the Top Sales Reps for the major brands in Ontario. Clearly he has not. How do name diversity….check the last names or head shots on realtor.ca.

    Actually in 30 years of office involvement til this day I have never heard a racist comment ever from anyone. Sure I have heard jokes between fellow sales reps of different ethnicity but never a racist comment. Actually I don’t know a Broker Owner who would ever accept that cr_p from their staff.

    I remember when new immigrants from Pakistan were called names outside real estate offices by Ontario’s other industries at the same time those families were being driven around by Ontario Real Estate members with utmost respect.

    I find these kind of biased articles written by people clearly with zero understanding of the opportunity and equality only the real estate sales profession has offered for over 40 years to be unworthy of commenting on it.

    Personally my car has been filled with families from across the world for decades and not once did I ever encounter a seller unwilling to allow their home to be shown to them.

    I do remember in 1991 a Seller who requested we did not show their home to certain group of Canadians and I also remember refusing to list the home. That home went through 6 different brokerages before it was sold at around 70% of the value we originally would have sold it for. Everyone in my city knew not to bring their clients to that home.

    Now I am not clueless to the racial bias that some members of each ethnicity have upon others but that is, at least from my experience, dealing with 1000s of families, far less in the GTA from anglo sales reps than others.

    Political correctness is a hallmark of the real estate industry at least for the top earners in any mls system. Sure you can find some idiot but then again Joe you allow 10s of thousands to hold a real estate license in Ontario who never sell a home in a year.

    Joe fairly, honestly and with integrity, is enforced by YOU and RECO. You and you alone are responsible for the state of the profession that exists today.

    BTW have you checked out the Advertising violations teachers at Humber are committing while teaching the next generation of sales reps to get their license? Obviously not!

  2. I applaud any and every effort to work collaboratively towards an end to racism. My son, who is on my team as a Realtor, is of mixed-race. What we note, from time to time, is the public’s perception of who he is and sometimes a refusal to work with him. We even hesitated to put our photo on our signs because of this. My husband (his father) and I have always instilled in our children a sense of pride of who they are and they are all fairly confident people. The message, more than anything else in this world, is that education will do much to eradicate the scourge of judgement based on physical characteristics. Call it out people, call it out. Do not stand by and simply film or walk away. Barb, your comments towards this article are incredibly offensive. Educate yourself. A white person doing the job they are called to do and doing their part to educate is always a great place to start. Maybe next cycle, a person who is not white will step up and be voted in. They just need the confidence to do so.

    • Dawn

      Back in the 1980s there was an agent from Jamaica, in Brampton, having the same surname name as yours. A black man married to a white woman. He was a wonderful fellow who at one time was a member of a band that played aboard worldwide ocean liners years before.

      I arranged for him to play at corporate business celebration events. One day years later we had lost touch and I learned he had left the real estate business. But one day he was in the area of my boutique office and stepped into the reception area from the hall. I happened to step out of my boardroom and there he was.

      I never gave it a second thought: we exchanged big business hugs. Someone in the building hallway later that day made a rude remark having witnessed the business hug. I was devastated. I could hardly believe my ears. I was disgusted but felt the need to explain it was all above board; he was an old business friend. We live in an ugly world. Later I thought: golly, he could have been my brother. Who’s to say? I shouldn’t have to explain to anybody! I’m not big on hugs in general but it was a joy to see him after many years. Fond memories.

      My husband loved Africa as much as Prince Harry does and like Oprah Winfrey did, he gave literally millions of pounds to Ghana to build schools and orphanages. I have pictures of him dressed in local garb dancing with the children as the teachers look on.

      I’m sorry for yours and your son’s experience.

      Kind regards
      Carolyne L 🍁

  3. “endemic, and which requires urgent attention” LOL The only urgent endemic we have is that people cannot think for themselves anymore and makeup problems because they have nothing else to do! Empty virtue signaling! Or maybe they have a hidden agenda, more likely.
    Additionally, the picture in this article is ridiculous and racist.
    Hey, Joe you are a white guy. Why don’t you step down and give your job to a person of color?

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