British Columbia, Canada, Drops A Bomb on the Industry

I’m reading through the report right now, and will likely have to write up a bunch of posts on this, but… in case you were not aware, the provincial government (that’s the equivalent of the state government here in the US) of British Columbia just dropped a bomb on the real estate industry.

You can read the following stories, and then keep looking for others:

And here’s the link to the full Independent Advisory Group report. I’m also embedding it below.

IAG Final Report 2016

I expect to have some thoughts (maybe quite a lot of thoughts) on this in the future, but you really ought to read this report if you’re in organize real estate in North America. I know a few REALTOR organizations are doing strat planning sessions now and over the next couple of months — this report ought to be front-and-center in those sessions.

If you believe that this will be just an isolated little blip in British Columbia, because of the insanity that is Vancouver… well… you go ahead and keep on believing.


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Rob Hahn

Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

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13 thoughts on “British Columbia, Canada, Drops A Bomb on the Industry”

  1. I am in California, the poster child for regulation in the US. We are not remotely self-regulated, so not sure why this is something that is a big deal.

  2. They certainly use the word ‘realtor’ frequently. I haven’t read the full report, but wonder if they mean all licensees. I believe Canada does has REALTORS and would think those REALTORS follow the same Code of Ethics we do in the states, however one of the five things it is suggested we know, talks about establishing a Code of Ethics. So can I assume (this is dangerous) that this report is for non REALTORS???

    PS: Some of the comments following the first story, are pretty negative about licensees that they call realtors. NAR or I guess NAR International needs to be addressing this.

    • Hi there – the folks writing the report did not distinguish between realtors and licensees (same distinction as in US). These recommendations apply to all practitioners.

  3. As Bob said, I’m not sure why this is relevant. Our industry in the United States isn’t self-regulated. Licensure is already regulated by state government agencies.

    • Mike – I think “self-regulated” is an actual legal term in Canada. The structure most states have isn’t that far from what BC used to have.

      Some of the recommendations are.. shall we say… eye-opening, because the exact same problems exist here in the U.S.

  4. There are definitely parallels within the BC structure and that in the US – particularly in individual state governance vis a vis licensing laws and other brokerage laws. The standards established by NAR seem to weave through BC as well. I am particularly struck by the focus on agent management and the role of the broker/managing broker. I agree with your Facebook comment, Rob – Holy &#*$&@.

  5. well, it’s about time! Maybe the movement will go south and east and get the incompetents and dishonest agents and brokers out of the business, one way or the other.

  6. One REALTOR Perspective……

    In what was probably a well intentioned but in fact a sadly misguided attempt to address the issue of housing affordability in BC the provincial government is making changes to the regulatory structure of the real estate industry. The message delivered was that the industry has not done an adequate job of self regulation. A few facts seem to be missing. The government creates the regulatory rules through the Real Estate Services Act and the Real Estate Council enforces the act as required.

    As a 39 year REALTOR and past real estate council member I can attest that the members of the council are dedicated to protecting the public interest and vigilant in dealing with licensee who break the rules. This is our industry and we are dedicated to providing professional services and quality results for our clients. Improper behaviour is not tolerated.

    Another missing fact is that all complaints against licensees are received, processed and investigated by highly trained staff, investigators, and lawyers employed by the council, NOT by real estate licensees. When a disciplinary hearing is conducted the panel can include licensee and public council members. In my 6 years on the real estate council I sat as a panel member on about 50 disciplinary hearings and when a licensee was found to be in breach of the requirements of the act the sanctions were significant.

    The vast majority of licensees in the province are highly competent and hard working members of the community providing high quality service to their clients. The overwhelming majority of buyers and sellers are able to achieve their real estate goals with the assistance of their agent and trusted advisor. Our industry will work diligently to implement the changes which will result from the recent government actions and we will continue to deliver the services our clients have come to rely on and expect.

    The truly unfortunate aspect of all of recent the media attention is that it will have absolutely no effect on housing affordability. The buyers and sellers of properties create the marketplace and set the prices by their willingness to purchase and sell property. Licensees provide the research, marketing, promotion, agency representation and negotiation skills to enable clients to achieve the desired results.

    Jim McCaughan
    Managing Broker
    Landmark Realty Corp.
    2790 Allwood Street, Abbotsford BC
    Office (604)855-0800

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