Our History

Since its establishment in 1997, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) has been committed to enhancing professionalism and increasing consumer confidence in the real estate marketplace. This page highlights the significant achievements that mark RECO’s continued progress since its inception in 1997.


RECO is a delegated administrative authority under the Safety and Consumer Statutes Administration Act. It was created as a result of the mutual desire of government and the real estate industry to enhance professionalism, increase consumer protection and provide an effective, efficient and responsive regulatory framework.

RECO administers and enforces the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA 2002) on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. The Ministry continues to be responsible for REBBA 2002 and associated regulations, as well as general oversight of RECO.

  • Year 1: April 1997 to March 1998
    • First year of RECO’s operations
    • RECO staff combined with Ministry staff over a six-month transitional period to provide continuing service and support related to the day-to-day administration of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act
    • New premises were secured and the management team was hired
    • RECO’s inaugural Board of Directors established the Consumer Protection, Real Estate Act, Code of Ethics/CCD, Specialty Licensing and Election Task Forces
  • Year 2: April 1998 to March 1999
    • Approval of RECO’s Membership By-law subsequently facilitated a regulation change requiring all members to be registered under the Act and all registered brokers and salespersons to be members of RECO); the Membership By-law also required all members of RECO to adhere to certain criteria, including a Code of Ethics
    • Approval of RECO’s Election By-law establishing procedures for the Election of Directors was approved by RECO members
    • Red Tape Reduction Act, 1998 received Royal Assent, allowing RECO to pass By-laws establishing Consumer Protection Programs while awaiting real estate act reform
    • RECO’s established its own registration management system (RMS) to replace the Ministry’s system
    • Inspections conducted were ten times the number conducted by the Ministry in previous years; every registered brokerage in Ontario will be inspected within a five-year period
    • Registration application processing turnaround times were reduced from weeks to days
  • Year 3: April 1999 to March 2000
    • Complaints, Compliance and Discipline Process and Code of Ethics under By-law No. 10 was implemented and RECO began addressing ethical misconduct effective January 1, 2000
    • Mandatory Continuing Education Program was implemented effective January 1, 2000, requiring all registrants to complete 24 credits of continuing education, including the mandatory RECO Real Estate Update Course, in each 2-year registration cycle
    • RECO consulted with registrants, consumers and government on insurance program options; members approved a By-law establishing a mandatory insurance program that included consumer deposit protection, commission protection and errors and omissions coverage.
    • First Election of RECO Directors was conducted using more than 50 polling stations throughout Ontario; preparations were made to conduct the next Election by mail-in ballot
  • Year 4: April 2000 to March 2001
    • Insurance Program implemented; consumer deposit coverage of up to $500,000 per occurrence replaced the former $5,000 bonding requirement that applied to brokerages and sole proprietors
    • The RECO Board established the Insurance and Premium Stabilization Fund Committees to oversee the insurance program and the premium stabilization fund
    • Mail-in voting for Election of Directors was implemented
    • Registration Fee increased and a new fee for transfers was implemented April 1, 2000
    • Position paper on new real estate act was issued by RECO in response to Ministry consultation
  • Year 5: April 2001 to March 2002
    • RECO was part of an independent evaluation of the Delegated Administrative Authorities conducted on behalf of the Ministry: “RECO is performing well under the delegated administrative authority model…the increased focus on the real estate industry has enabled RECO to be more aware and responsive to changing industry needs. RECO should be congratulated on its continued investments in, and commitment to, developing the professionalism of the industry.”
    • First reading of Bill 152, a new Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, in the Legislative Assembly, marked progress toward real estate act reform
    • Initial reporting period for the mandatory Continuing Education program indicated a compliance rate of 96 percent
    • “Registrant Search” feature developed and added to the RECO website
    • RECO became a member of the Consumers Council of Canada
    • RECO participated in the Federal Government’s National Consumer Gateway Project
  • Year 6: April 2002 to March 2003
    • Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 received Royal Assent and RECO prepared for the release of draft regulations
    • The Board of Directors adopted a Complementary Governance Model that distinguished between strategic leadership and operations/management; a new Conflict of Interest Policy and Code of Conduct for Directors was approved by the Board of Directors
    • The oversight fee paid to the Ministry was significantly reduced allowing RECO to redirect funds to other programs and services
    • Internal Information Technology capacity established, first Manager of Information Technology hired and a comprehensive review of information systems was completed Page 3 of 7
    • The complaints process was enhanced by introducing new options: registrants who admit to contraventions may enter into an Agreed Statement of Facts reducing the amount of time involved in the hearing process and Pre-Hearings were introduced to allow the parties involved in a complaint to review the case informally
    • Full-time insurance staff hired to assist with the administration of the Insurance Program
  • Year 7: April 2003 to March 2004
    • RECO participated in Canadian Regulators Group Agency Task Force to study the application of agency laws in the real estate profession and develop common or “best practice” approaches to agency
    • A Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued for provision of the Insurance Program for the coverage period beginning September 1, 2004
    • Launched a comprehensive review of the continuing education program after four years of operation
    • Worked closely with the Ministry on a new Code of Ethics and other regulations to take effect when the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 comes into force
    • Administrative Agreement between RECO and the Ministry was reviewed and amended ♦ RECO established a Consumer Advisory Group
    • Courtesy inspections were introduced to assist new brokerages and ensure proper record-keeping procedures from the start
    • Registrant newsletter (For the RECOrd) reintroduced
  • Year 8: April 2004 to March 2005
    • Web-based intranet (RECOnet) implemented enhancing reporting and streamlining data entry
    • Extranet for registrants (MyWeb) launched that allowed registrants to pay insurance premiums, change addresses and access personal registration information online; 50 percent of registrants signed up for this service within the first year
    • RECO submitted recommendations related to draft regulations under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 to the Ministry
    • Consultation on the Continuing Education Program recommendations for change conducted engaging registrants and education providers
    • Insurance Program review was initiated; new broker and insurer were selected for RECO’s insurance program through an open and competitive process
    • Members approved a By-law change eliminating the Commercial “as of right” Director position on the Board; RECO Board commits to replace the “as of right” Director with a commercial real estate advisory group
  • Year 9: April 2005 to March 2006
    • Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 came into force, advancing consumer protection and incorporating programs previously under RECO By-laws such as the Code of Ethics and Complaints Process, the Insurance Program, and the Continuing Education Program
    • Certain regulation-making powers are delegated to the Board of Directors effective September 2007
    • Significant implementation activities related to the implementation of the new Act were successfully completed
    • “Introducing REBBA 2002” kit was developed and delivered to all registrants (identified by the Page 4 of 7 Ministry as a “best practice”)
    • Guide to REBBA 2002, contained in “Introducing REBBA 2002” kit was adopted as course reference material for pre-registration and registration related courses
    • Organizational structure reviewed and changes implemented (some changes scheduled for fiscal year 2006 – 2007
    • Client Satisfaction Survey conducted in accordance with the Administrative Agreement
    • New Public Notice Policy, consistent with REBBA 2002 requirements, implemented – increased information related to Registrar’s Proposals, convictions, charges and Discipline/Appeals panel Decisions available on the website and through the “Registrant Search” feature
    • Commercial Real Estate Advisory Group established
  • Year 10: April 2006 to March 2007
    • New organizational structure was implemented to support the administration of REBBA 2002
    • RECO issued a RFP for the provision of the pre-registration, articling and broker educational program to ensure an open and competitive process
    • Board of Directors established a Legislation & Regulations Committee to develop recommendations for the Board of Directors related to potential changes to REBBA 2002 and its regulations
    • Ministry responds to RECO’s concerns about the consequences of non-payment of insurance premiums; the Ministry of Government Services Consumer Protection and Service Modernization Act, 2006 replaces the lengthy and expensive process of issuing Registrar’s proposals with automatic suspensions of registration on the effective date of the new coverage period
    • As a result of increased public awareness of its role and responsibilities, RECO met with a delegation from China seeking information to help with real estate regulation in their jurisdiction; RECO met with the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors to discuss their efforts to achieve provincial recognition of their certification standards; RECO met with the Ontario Association of the Appraisal Institute of Canada to discuss their pursuit of regulation of appraisal activity in Ontario
    • New phone system introduced to support the insurance renewal period that provided virtual call centre capability; significantly decreased caller wait times during peak activity periods
  • Year 11: April 2007 to March 2008
    • With a view to improving service to registrants and consumers as well as ensuring the future stability of the insurance program, RECO established a Managing General Agent authority, or MGA, with a new insurer for the coverage period beginning September 1, 2007
    • RECO developed and implemented the Educational Accommodation Policy for Persons with Disabilities
    • Conducted the bi-annual registrant satisfaction survey online to ensure all registrants had an opportunity to participate
    • Launched a redesigned website in June 2007 that included the addition of a dedicated consumer information section as well as an online version of the Guide to REBBA 2002
    • RECO participated in more than 40 industry trade shows and events; provided mortgage fraud presentations to law enforcement agencies and financial institutions
    • Responded to multiple media inquiries related to “phantom” offers and other issues
  • Year 12: April 2008 to March 2009
    • RECO developed a new reconciliation inspection program to increase its oversight of real estate brokerages and prepares to implement the program April 2009 Page 5 of 7
    • Issued an RFP for the provision of the residential and commercial versions of the mandatory continuing education course, the RECO Real Estate Update Course; the course is being redesigned and updated to deliver a high-quality, interactive and engaging learning experience, using integrated case studies and simulations, relevant and new legislation or case law, as well as current trends issues in the real estate marketplace
    • Office of the Registrar reviews all course materials for the pre-registration, articling and broker educational program
    • Turnaround time for the processing of transfers from one employing brokerage to another is reduced to an average of two days
    • Board of Directors engages in strategic conversation about issues that exist with registrant advertising and refers the matter to the Legislation and Regulations Committee for further review
    • Attended more than 40 industry trade shows, events and speaking engagements throughout the province; hosted the annual Canadian Real Estate Regulators (CRG) conference in Toronto
    • RECO prepared for compliance with the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), which establishes full labour mobility for Canadian workers; RECO sought confirmation that the interprovincial challenge exam for applicants from other Canadian jurisdictions which focuses on knowledge specific to real estate transactions in Ontario and is believed to be an important tool in protecting the public interest, could be maintained; RECO anticipates a response early in the April 2009 to March 2010 fiscal year
    • Invested in information systems as RECO prepares for the launch of online registration renewals in March 2010
  • Year 13: April 2009 to March 2010
    • Online registration renewal implemented. Registrants no longer have to rely on fax or traditional mail service and can now submit their renewal application any time of the day, any day of the year from any location that has an internet connection.
    • RECO conducted a registrant satisfaction survey and achieved the highest response rate to date. Responses were generally positive and indicated a high level of satisfaction with RECO’s programs, services and service delivery.
    • The consumer brochure “Buying or selling your home?” which educates buyers and sellers and RECO’s role and the value of working with a registered professional was publish in seven languages.
    • RECO launched an enhanced version of the RECO Real Estate Update course – a mandatory continuing education course that all brokers and salespersons must complete in each 2-year registration cycle. RECO worked with the Ontario Real Estate Association to create a course that is more interactive and engaging.
    • Launched a new, enhanced version of MyWeb registrant portal, designed to provide easier access and more user friendly information for real estate professionals.
  • Year 14: April 2010 to March 2011
    • Launched a new website featuring distinct consumer and industry sections, which includes a registrant search feature on every page, a dedicated media page, as well as interactive features
    • Conducted a consumer awareness poll to help identify consumer information needs, awareness of RECO and how Ontario consumers get their information about real estate
    • Reduced the number of open complaint files by 20 per cent
    • As part of a comprehensive advertising review, conducted a random sampling of more than 3,000registrant advertisements from across the province to analyze and determine industry practices and Page 6 of 7 areas where RECO can focus on increased communications and education
    • Completed the development of an enhanced interactive Broker Course that includes practical case studies and simulations; focusing on building the skills that brokers of record require to meet their regulatory obligations
    • Approved five new continuing education providers and 37 new courses
    • RECO enhanced the level of protection available to consumers and registrants by increasing the per occurrence limit of consumer deposit and commission protection insurance from $500,000 to $1,000,000
  • Year 15: April 2011 to March 2012
    • Developed an online process for terminations of registrations and transfers to a new brokerage.
    • New advertising guidelines were published with a complementary advertising checklist and multimedia presentation.
    • Launched a comprehensive review of the continuing education program. Thirty-one new courses were added to the program.
    • Launched a consumer outreach program that included a consumer newsletter, podcasts and an advertising campaign in Go Trains, TTC stations, office buildings, lobbies and elevators throughout Toronto and Ottawa.
    • Undertook a review of core business processes and supporting systems to identify opportunities to develop operational efficiencies.
    • Conducted a registrant satisfaction survey in which 87 per cent of respondents agreed that RECO was meeting or exceeding service standards.
  • Year 16: April 2012 to March 2013
    • Completed the move to a new office at 3300 Bloor Street West, Toronto.
    • Engaged registrants face-to-face by attending 46 industry trade shows, 24 of which involved giving presentations focused on helping registrants better understand the investigations and inspections processes.
    • Launched a TV ad campaign and participated in consumer trade shows – the International Home and Garden Show and the National Bridal Show – to educate homebuyers and sellers about RECO’s role and the benefits of working with a registered real estate professional.
    • Introduced Ask Joe, a new weekly column in the Saturday Toronto Star, in which Registrar Joseph Richer answers consumers’ questions about the buying and selling process.
    • Piloted the use of mediation as a means of resolving complaints, allowing complainants to have more involvement and greater satisfaction with the complaint process. Following the successful pilot, the program has remained in effect.
    • Upgraded technical infrastructure to improve performance of critical business systems.
    • Commissioned a third-party review of education, including the registration, articling, broker and continuing education programs.
    • Announced changes to the mandatory continuing education program to take effect in August 2013.
  • Year 17: April 2013 to March 2014
    • Launched a new online mandatory continuing education program on August 1, 2013, providing a two-year transition period. The program, administered directly by RECO, focuses on regulatory matters, consumer protection and current industry issues.
    • Began distributing an electronic ‘Welcome to RECO’ package to educate new registrants about RECO’s role and the tools and resources available to them on MyWeb and the public website.
    • Launched the Business Process RECOnfiguration project with the objective of enhancing service excellence at RECO through redesigned and optimized business processes, and replacement of the RECOnet system (registrant database).
    • Conducted a registrant satisfaction survey in which 92 per cent of respondents agreed that RECO was meeting or exceeding service expectations.
    • Introduced the Regulatory Digest, an online resource that summarizes RECO’s regulatory activity in one easy-to-read document on a quarterly basis.
    • Launched two consumer campaigns aimed at growing RECO’s reputation as a trusted source for home buying and selling information. The campaigns educated consumers about the top home buying and selling pitfalls and encouraged them to make informed buying and selling decisions.
    • Amendments to REBBA 2002 changed the way real estate commissions can be structured, allowing brokerages to negotiate fee arrangements that include a combination of a flat fee and a percentage of the sale price.
    • Changed the order in which online renewals are processed from a method based on the expiry date to one based on a first-come-first-served approach. The change has had an immediate impact on improving turnaround times.
  • Year 18: April 2014 to December 2014
      • RECO’s Board of Directors appointed Kate Murray as the new Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Tom Wright who retired after 17 years with RECO, the last 12 as CEO.
      • Launched MyRECO Certificate, a mobile application that allows registrants to display their registration certificate on their mobile device, as an alternative to showing their paper certificate.
      • Released a white paper that outlines RECO’s vision to reshape registration education so that aspiring registrants are able to “hit the ground running” when they enter the real estate profession.
      • Celebrated the one-year anniversary of RECO’s online Mandatory Continuing Education program.
      • Continued public education outreach by executing a consumer campaign during Financial Literacy Month in November. The campaign reminded consumers that buying or selling a home is a major financial decision and being informed about the process is vital. The campaign featured advertising on bus shelters and online, media relations and an interactive website. Outreach also included exhibiting at two bridal shows and a baby show to increase awareness of RECO.
      • Launched the Business Process RECOnfiguration project; the focus is the reconfiguring of RECO business processes to be more efficient and effective. The project will culminate in a new information system to be called RECOserv.
      • Initiated a study to assess alternative options for the insurance program, including self-insurance, to ensure the organization in future would be less vulnerable than the current program to changes in the insurance marketplace that affect price and availability.
      • Applied for continuance under the new Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act and changed the fiscal year to align with the calendar year.
      • Marked new milestones, including surpassing 70,000 registrants. There was also continued growth in the number of enquiries and complaints, reflecting the growth in registrants and ongoing public education and awareness efforts.

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