Under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (the “Act”), the Registrar has the ability where he or she considers it to be in the public interest, to immediately suspend a registration.
Sec. 15 of the Act states:
15. (1) If the registrar proposes to suspend or revoke a registration under section 14 and if the registrar considers it in the public interest to do so, the registrar may by order temporarily suspend the registration.
(2) An order under Subsection (1) takes effect immediately.
Expiry of order
(3) If a hearing is requested under Sec. 14,
(a) the order expires 15 days after the written request for a hearing is received by the Tribunal; or
(b) the Tribunal may extend the time of expiration until the hearing is concluded, if a hearing is commenced within the 15-day period referred to in clause (a).
(4) Despite Subsection (3), if it is satisfied that the conduct of the registrant has delayed the commencement of the hearing, the Tribunal may extend the time of the expiration for the order,
(a) until the hearing commences; and
(b) once the hearing commences, until the hearing is concluded
Registrants who are subject to an order to suspend registration under Sec. 15(1) must immediately cease all activities related to trading in real estate and submit their certificate of registration to the Registrar.
A registrant subject to a suspension under Sec. 15(1) will also be subject to a Registrar’s proposal to suspend or revoke the registration under Sec. 14 of the Act.
Under Sec. 14 of the Act, registrants have 15 days to appeal the registrar’s decision to the Licence Appeal Tribunal. If a registrant appeals the registrar’s proposal within the 15 day period, the immediate suspension will expire 15 days after the Tribunal receives the written request for a hearing unless the Tribunal commences a hearing prior to this second 15-day period.
The Tribunal may, through a hearing, extend the time-frame of the suspension until the matter is fully reviewed and the Tribunal has ruled on the proposal and related appeal. If a registrant delays the conduct of a hearing as per Subsection 15(4), the Tribunal has the authority to extend the suspension even in the absence of a hearing.
Subject to Subsection 15(4), if the Tribunal does not commence a hearing within 15 days of receiving a request for a hearing, the immediate suspension would be lifted and the Registrar will return the registrant’s registration. The registrant in such a case would be free to trade in real estate until such time as the proposal was reviewed by the Tribunal and it ruled on the Registrar’s proposal under Sec. 14 of the Act.
Please note that the Registrar can only immediately suspend a registration where the Registrar “considers it in the public interest to do so”. This would apply to situations where the registrar felt that the potential conduct of a registrant entailed a risk to the public and that allowing the registrant to actively trade in real estate while his or her registration status was under review would not be in the public interest.
The Registrar’s opinion regarding the immediate suspension is subject to Tribunal review under the timeframes identified above. These provisions balance the requirements of the Act to protect the public interest with the registrant’s right to due process (i.e. right to an independent hearing) in determining his or her fitness for registration.