Founded in 2020, the Consumer and Industry Advisory Group (CIAG) consists of real estate industry and community members who provide valuable input on existing, emerging and relevant issues in the real estate sector to help inform decision-making at RECO.


The Administrative Agreement between the government and RECO requires that the board establish an advisory process for direct input to the board on issues of importance to consumers. As such, these terms of reference will be made public, and a report on the advisory process will be included in the annual report.


The Consumer and Industry Advisory Group (CIAG) is the mechanism whereby the board fulfils its obligations under the Administrative Agreement. The CIAG serves in an advisory capacity to the CEO, and also provides reports to the RECO board for publication in the annual report. As such, the CIAG is responsible to:
  • Provide observations, identify gaps, and recommend opportunities for improvement within RECO’s services, policies, and actions as they affect the public
  • Advocate for the public interest and for public input on consumer issues that fall within RECO’s mandate
  • Perform other such responsibilities as may be determined by the CEO from time to time
The role of the CIAG does not include:
  • Addressing strategic priorities and governance issues of RECO, unless such priorities and issues are pertinent to the mandate of the CIAG
  • Carrying out staff work, such as representing RECO in public or undertaking projects to fulfill RECO’s due diligence for considering the impact of its activities on consumers and the public
  • Taking a position on priorities or timetables to address issues or allocation of resources (financial, human or capital)
  • Representing all consumers or even a specific demographic group, beyond being reasonably diligent to be observant and to maintain a holistic perspective
  • Representing RECO to the public, including the press and other agencies

Structure, terms and selection of members

CIAG selections committee

Membership of the CIAG will be determined by the CIAG selections committee, composed of the CIAG chair and vice-chair, as well as the CEO. The CIAG selections committee will receive applications and interview and score potential members against criteria it determines are required at the time. The CIAG’s decision on membership is final, however the CIAG selections committee may choose to consult with the other members of the CIAG in the evaluation process.

Composition and terms

  • The CIAG shall consist of 12 members: six registrants and six consumers. Members of the CIAG may not be on the RECO Board of Directors nor any board committee, statutory committee or other RECO committee.
  • All CIAG members will be independent of RECO and the CEO, and will identify any real or perceived conflicts to the chair of CIAG in a timely manner.
  • Industry representatives will be selected to ensure brokers of record, branch managers, brokers and salespersons from across Ontario practicing in both residential and commercial real estate are represented.
  • Consumer representatives will be selected to ensure geographical representation from across Ontario.
  • Appointments will be made for a two-year term, staggered to minimize the impact of changes to membership of the CIAG. There is a lifetime maximum of three terms per member, and a member will be eligible for reappointment on a consecutive basis. Reappointment will be based on factors such as member attendance, participation, currency of experience, and ability to replace.

Duties and functions of the CIAG

CIAG members shall:
  • Be sufficiently familiar with RECO’s current and evolving activities that they can understand such activities and identify consumer issues warranting consideration
  • Identify and discuss emerging or substantive issues affecting consumers in the regulated real estate sector
  • Attend and properly prepare for meetings, undertaking any relevant research and consultation members may feel necessary to be well-informed on intended agenda items to participate actively in discussions
  • Be responsive and provide advice related to strategies that will enhance stakeholder engagement and consumer/registrant awareness campaigns
  • Provide advice related to the laws that RECO administers, standards of registrant conduct, leading practices, and RECO’s communications related to real estate sector issues and/or regulatory requirements
  • Advise on specific projects, which could include preparation of discussion papers related to current practices in Ontario and/or other jurisdictions, and recommendations related to RECO’s approach to new and emerging issues in the real estate sector
  • Review the terms of reference for the CIAG on not less than an annual basis, and make recommendations for change to RECO as may be required
  • Perform such other duties and responsibilities as may be assigned

Chair and vice-chair election, term, and responsibilities

The CIAG shall select and appoint a chair and vice-chair from the members using a nomination and confidential voting process. Candidates may self-nominate.
  • The term of the chair and vice-chair is two years.

Chair responsibilities

  • Presiding over meetings
  • Setting meeting agendas in consultation with the CEO and the staff member responsible for the administration of the CIAG
  • Representing the CIAG at board meeting for the purpose of making recommendations to the board as required under the Administrative Agreement
  • Ensuring actions of the CIAG are in accordance with the CIAG terms of reference
  • Reporting to RECO’s CEO on issues of relevance, and
  • Addressing issues of non-performance of individual CIAG members

Vice-chair responsibilities

  • Supporting the chair and fulfilling the duties of the chair in the absence of the chair

CIAG reporting

The purpose of the annual reporting process is to:
  • Facilitate comprehensive disclosure
  • Reinforce RECO’s commitment to consumer protection in the public interest
  • Provide the CEO and, where appropriate, the board, with the opportunity to review the relationship with the CIAG as well as RECO’s ability to support the activities of the CIAG
As the CIAG advises the CEO, it will provide the CEO with an annual report to communicate key accomplishments and recommendations that the CIAG completed during the year. The reports will be provided to the CEO within four weeks of the end of the fiscal year (December).

Remuneration and expenses

All members of the CIAG will be paid per diems for their attendance at meetings, according to the Policy on Board and Committee Remuneration, and they are permitted to claim expenses according to the Policy on Reimbursement of Expenses.

Member expectations

RECO responsibilities

  • Administering the meetings through providing agendas in consultation with the CIAG chair
  • Transmitting all meeting materials to members at least seven days ahead of the CIAG meeting
  • Taking appropriate minutes of meetings, reviewing the same with the chair, and presenting them for approval at the following CIAG meeting
  • Making necessary arrangements to facilitate meetings, whether in person or virtually
  • Governance support for the chair and vice-chair
  • Making the necessary arrangements for the reports to the board and for the annual report
  • Posting the terms of reference and CIAG meeting minutes to RECO’s website
  • Providing orientation to new members
  • Providing assistance to members with the remuneration and expense process

Meetings and time commitment

The CIAG shall meet two times per year, or as requested by the CEO or chair.


Every RECO employee is required to safeguard the confidentiality of proprietary or sensitive information, audit findings and industry records. This obligation extends to CIAG members and to information or records related to advisory groups. Accordingly, each CIAG member must maintain confidential all RECO or third-party information of a proprietary, confidential or sensitive nature, including information and records relating to the work of the CIAG which is communicated or disclosed to him or her or to which he or she has access in his or her capacity as a member of the CIAG.

Subhir Uppal, Chair

Registrant representative
Born and raised in Ottawa, Subhir Uppal is a real estate broker who comes from a family with deep roots in the real estate and construction business. He has been a registrant since 2005 and is the manager of his family’s real estate brokerage, which he joined at the age of 18.

Subhir has built and expanded numerous brokerages. He is currently a broker of record and founder of a new multi-service level digital brokerage, uppaBE Incorporated.

He has a bachelor’s degree in business and is a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Telfer Executive MBA Program. As well, he is a Fellow of the Real Estate Institute (FRI).

Subhir has been on the board of directors for business improvement areas (BIAs) and real estate board committees, volunteered with Junior Achievement Canada, and was a member of the inaugural RECO CEO Advisory Panel.

Tamara Jorgenson, Vice-Chair

Registrant representative
Tamara Jorgenson has been a broker at Re/Max First Choice Realty Ltd. in Thunder Bay for the past 16 years. Her focus is mainly on residential sales.

Prior to her involvement in real estate, she was employed as the deputy land registrar for the provincial government with the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. She served as the director of the Thunder Bay Real Estate Board for five years and was also the chair of the board of directors for the Harbourview Childcare Centre.

Tamara is a mother of three and likes to spend her spare time travelling and supporting numerous community services while nurturing her real estate business.

Dr. Anil Bhalla

Consumer representative
Dr. Bhalla has been practicing dentistry for more than 20 years. He’s the past president of Halton Peel Dental association, and is actively involved with committees such as Seniors’ Oral Care and Education Core Committee, and continually strives to deal with issues like access to care, government relations and advocacy for the profession. His mission is to make affordable dental care accessible to everyone in the community and provide avenues for achieving optimal oral care through research-based standards of care.

Austin Sean Spademan

Consumer representative
Austin Spademan works as Analytics Lead, North America, for Getir, a rapid grocery startup, which currently operates in New York, Boston and Chicago. He has five years of telecommunications experience with a focus on strategy and three years in automotive with a focus on marketing.

Outside work, Austin is a passionate city builder. He is currently serving as a board member for his local residents’ association where he takes an active role in promoting development for Toronto. He is also a board member of the Midtown Ravine Group, an association focused on protecting and improving Toronto’s ravine systems.

Carmen Sze

Consumer representative
Carmen Sze is a multilingual administrator clerk for TFN Realty Inc. and is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English.

She graduated from Ryerson University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

When she isn’t working, she spends lots of time taking care of her nephews and helps them with school.

Jerry B. Udell

Consumer representative
Jerry Udell is senior counsel at Miller Canfield LLP in Windsor, Ontario, and has practiced law in Ontario since 1974. He is also a real estate specialist certified by the Law Society of Ontario.

Jerry lectures frequently to the Law Society on various topics related to real estate issues and ethics in Ontario.

He is the proud recipient of the Ontario Bar Association Award for Distinguished Service in Ontario. He has also received their Award for Excellence in Real Estate.

S.S. Rishad

Consumer representative
From Mississauga, Ontario, S.S. Rishad is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) who previously worked at KPMG and the Bank of Montreal.

Rishad graduated from Carleton College in Minnesota, where he studied international relations. As a Starr Scholar, he promoted cross-cultural understanding and served as a delegate at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Denmark. He completed his post-graduate studies in Accounting at UBC.

Rishad is passionate about empowering others through financial inclusion. He is particularly interested in enabling people to make strong financial decisions during their real estate search and purchase process.

Daniel Fleming

Consumer representative
Daniel Fleming is a retired senior air force logistics officer with many years of international and operational experience. He was born in Nova Scotia but now calls Richmond (Ottawa), Ontario home. Although officially retired, Dan has spent many years as a public member of RECO’s Discipline and Appeals Committee as well as other organizations’ committees.

Dan spends much of his winters volunteering with the Canadian Adaptive Snowsports (CADS) program in Calabogie teaching skiing to persons with disabilities and as a curling instructor. Dan has a BA from the University of Manitoba and a master’s certificate in project management from Carleton University.

Ann Forbes Arndt

Registrant representative
Ann has been a registrant for about 30 years. In her current role as assistant manager and broker at Royal LePage Macro Realty Inc., she is responsible for mentoring and training new registrants in Hamilton and the surrounding area.

She is past president of the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB), and has served as a member and chair of various committees and task forces for RECO, OREA and RAHB.

She is also past president of the Hamilton and District Business Club.

Robert (Bob) Fraser

Registrant representative
Bob Fraser is a sales representative working with residential buyers and sellers of new and resale homes in Ottawa. He obtained his real estate registration in 1988 and has been employed full time at Re/Max Hallmark Realty Group (formerly Re/Max Metro-City Realty) since then.

Although some of Bob’s career highlights include receiving the Re/Max International Hall of Fame Award in 2000 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, the most gratifying part of his role is still helping a first-time buyer make the leap into home ownership.

Bob is a frequent speaker on real estate topics at the Ottawa Public Library, various Lunch and Learn seminars and enjoyed serving as a member of the Ottawa Real Estate Board’s Political Affairs Committee. As a negotiator, Bob takes pride in his ability to balance the positions of all stakeholders and strives to achieve a consensus that all parties are happy with.

Michele Imrie

Registrant representative
Michele Imrie started her real estate career in Fort St. John, British Columbia. She worked as a registrant’s assistant for five years before relocating to her hometown in northwestern Ontario with her husband.

Once her kids were of school age, she decided that she really wanted to get back into real estate and pursued her license. She has been registered since 2008.

Michele loves serving her small community, and helping people develop roots.

Susan MacKinnon

Registrant representative
Susan was born in Ottawa but has spent most of her life in Toronto. She joined the Royal LePage corporate location in the Kingsway in 2017. Before starting her real estate career, she was a sales leader with Unilever for 18 years, working with customers across North America. Prior to Unilever, Susan worked in the social services division with the City of Toronto. She has a BA in sociology from Trent University. Susan is passionate about her family and her real estate career and enjoys cottaging, home renovations and hiking with her Bernedoodle, Georgia.

Meeting Details

Date: October 17, 2023 
Location: Online (Microsoft Teams) 


Registrant members

Subhir Uppal, Chair
Tamara Jorgenson, Vice-Chair
Susan MacKinnon
Michelle Imrie
Robert (Bob) Fraser
Ann Forbes Arndt

Consumer members

Daniel Fleming
Anil Bhalla
S.S. Rishad
Carmen Sze
Austin Spademan

Jerry Udell

RECO staff

Michael Beard, CEO
Joseph Richer, Registrar
Kym Robertson, Director, Stakeholder Relations
Alineh Haidery, Senior Advisor, Stakeholder Relations
Jessica Picton, Senior Advisor, Stakeholder Relations
Lucas Singh, Stakeholder Relations Specialist

1. Call to order

The Chair called the meeting to order at 10:07 a.m.

2. Welcome

The Chair welcomed CIAG members and thanked them for their ongoing participation. The CEO also thanked the members for their participation and reminded them that perspectives of both registrants and consumers play an important role in the organization’s mandate of consumer protection.

3. Acceptance of agenda

The agenda was accepted without changes.

4. Conflict of interest and confidentiality

RECO’s CEO provided an overview of conflict of interest and the importance of confidentiality when it comes to matters discussed, and materials shared with CIAG members. No members declared a conflict of interest.

5. Acceptance of minutes of April 20, 2023

The minutes of the April 20, 2023, meeting were accepted without changes.

ACTION: RECO to explore accelerating the approval of minutes in anticipation of posting the minutes on the RECO website in a timely manner in future.

6. Auditor General public action plan

The CEO shared that RECO is on track to complete 75% of the action items outlined in the report by the end of 2023.

Feedback on the Auditor General's report included that:

  • The report could create a negative perception of those in the industry.
  • The report is not inherently negative towards RECO and/or the real estate industry and the merit of the report lies in the valuable information that consumers can draw from the report’s findings.

7. Content strategy for consumers

RECO’s Director of Stakeholder Relations discussed the importance of finding different ways to engage consumers. She presented approaches RECO could take in organizing website content for consumers and invited feedback. The feedback from the group was as follows:

  • There was general agreement that framing material from a transaction process and life events/milestones process would assist consumers.
  • Some members expressed that the information needs to be presented in a straightforward way using plain language, especially when engaging with younger consumers or first-time homebuyers.
  • The use of short form video, social media, and an interactive user interface on RECO’s website were highlighted as opportunities to engage consumers.

Breakout groups

Members then participated in breakout groups, with their discussion guided by questions to generate feedback on how informed consumers are about buying and selling real estate, the type of information that would be helpful for them, and how RECO can support them.

Summary: Consumer breakout group

  • Consumers are not well informed, being assessed at 1 on a scale from 1-5 with 1 being not informed.
  • First-time homebuyers are the least informed, and those with prior experience are the most informed consumers.
  • Forms are not well understood by consumers.
  • The key pieces of information that would be helpful when engaging in a real estate transaction would be:
    • Information on forms: Buyer representation agreement, listing agreement, etc.
    • Understanding how commission works.
  • One suggestion was for RECO to consider exploring a simplified plug and play system for forms like Turbo tax does for tax forms.

Summary: Registrant breakout group

  • Consumers are moderately informed, being assessed at 5 on a scale from 1-10 with 1 being not informed.
  • Repeat clientele were identified as the most informed.
  • First time homebuyers and out-of-country buyers were believed to be the least informed.
  • Misinformation amongst consumers was a concern.
  • Buyers who stayed up to date with current affairs and market trends were typically more informed.
  • Consumers need to better understand the concept of representation by a registrant.
  • Consumers need more support to better understand the forms and documents they before signing them.
  • RECO could consider focusing more on registrant knowledge; to train registrants to better understand consumer wants, needs and expectations.
  • Short form Q&A style videos like Toronto Police Service’s “Ask a Traffic Cop” were noted as an engaging idea to attract attention.

8. Other business

While there was no other business, members generally agreed that more information needs to be given to consumers on clarifying and defining RECO’s purpose.

9. Closing remarks and adjournment

The Chair thanked all for their active participation and closed the meeting at 12:56 p.m.

Next meeting: RECO management will notify members of the next meeting date.

Meeting Details

Date: April 20, 2023 
Time: 9 a.m. – 11:59 a.m. 
Location: Online (Microsoft Teams) 


1. Call to order

The meeting was called to order, and introductions were made. 

2. Welcome (5 minutes) 

Michael Beard welcomed the group and discussed the importance and purpose of the CIAG.  
Michael Beard addressed the recent recommendations from the Auditor General of Ontario regarding the reporting of public consumer interest items and the CIAG. He explained that the CIAG minutes, terms of reference and membership will soon be public on RECO’s website. Additionally, as part of responding to the AG’s recommendations, the CIAG is being asked to discuss and approve a standard operating procedure later in the agenda, which will define the manner in which information from the CIAG is shared.  

3. Acceptance of agenda

The agenda was accepted without changes. 

4. Conflict of interest  

Bob Fraser declared that he is a real estate representative for the Home Construction Regulatory Authority’s Consumer Advisory Council. He was reminded not to share information about both groups.  

5. Acceptance of minutes of November 21, 2022  

The minutes of the meeting on November 21, 2022, were accepted without changes.  

6. CIAG terms of reference  

The group discussed the revised CIAG Terms of Reference.  

Michael Beard presented the more substantive changes, including, but not limited to: 

  • The minimum and maximum size of the group and split of industry and non-industry members. 
  • Industry representatives will include members from the broader sector, beyond just registrants, such as home inspectors, mortgage brokers. 
  • The Chair and Vice Chair positions would be one representative from industry and non-industry members and would take effect the next election cycle. 
  • The member expectations and remedy if a member is not participating as expected.  


That the CIAG accepts the revised CIAG Terms of Reference as presented with added clarification that if a Chair or Vice Chair are removed the successor Chair or Vice Chair will be elected through the election process in the Terms of Reference.  


In terms of process, RECO staff presented the option of scheduling four shorter meetings, rather than two meetings annually. The group had mixed feelings about it, as there were pros and cons to each option.  

RECO staff also explained that it would seek input on the agenda from the group approximately six weeks prior to a scheduled meeting. 


RECO staff will consider options for scheduling two, three or four meetings per year, considering feedback from the group, and present options at the next meeting.  
[April 20, 2023] 

7. RECO’s Public Register

The information required and permitted to be published is changing under TRESA Phase Two. The group was asked to provide input on three particular topics as it relates to the public register, required under the law. 

RECO’s current obligation is to publish information and disciplinary actions on the public registry about existing registrants for a minimum of 60 months. RECO staff proposed extending the publication to 120 months.  

First topic: How long should information be maintained on RECO’s public registry?  

Currently disciplinary action (refusals, revocations, conditions of registration, convictions, and discipline sanctions) information is maintained on the public register for at least 60 months (5 years) and the Registrar is considering a 10-year period consistent with many other regulators.  

Group feedback 

The group was aligned that five years (60 months) is not long enough. There was support for differentiating between less and more egregious disciplinary actions, but it was recognized that this would be difficult to differentiate. Though the consumer representatives thought seven years could be sufficient, it was unanimous that longer than ten years was unnecessary punitive. Overall, the group supported a change to 10 years. 

Second topic: Including former registrants on the public register  

The law is changing to require former registrants to be included in the public register.  
The group was asked about functionality for prospective users of the register.  

Under TRESA, RECO will need to publish information about former registrants  
(e.g., chose not to renew, were revoked, or terminated). RECO is seeking input on how this information should be made available, so it is the greatest value for users.  

Should RECO include former registrants in its existing registry but permit the user to include only current registrants and exclude former registrants?  

Group feedback 

The group agreed that the registry should default to current registrants, with the option to include former registrants, or alternatively to include all registrants, with the option of excluding former registrants. There was no support to be able to search only former registrants.  

As a separate matter, the registrants inquired about including a photo of the registrant on the public register. RECO staff explained that the approach had been considered by RECO and its board on at least two previous occasions, but the decision was made not to include a photo. Primarily, having the create a database of photos for over 100,000 registrants, and requiring someone to attest that it was a current photo provided limited value for investment.  

Third topic: Disclosure of conditions and reporting requirements 

Only conditions ordered through prosecution or agreed to be published by a registrant are required to be published on the public register. Under TRESA, all conditions that are on registration are going to have to be published, regardless of how they were affixed to the registration. 

RECO asked the group about specific types of prohibitions and reporting obligations that should be made public to assist consumers in making informed choices. 

Group feedback 

There was unanimous agreement that prohibitions on registrations should be made public for good consumer benefit and more administrative type reporting obligations should not be made public as there is no consumer benefit. The example given by the group was that there was no need for someone owing taxes. 

8. RECO Information Guide  

RECO will be required to produce an Information Guide, which each registrant is required to provide to prospective clients and self-represented parties before they engage with them.  

The group was asked about the first impression of the guide and input to make a positive impression on RECO and the profession.  

RECO presented the RECO Information Guide to the group to show some design elements and get feedback and first reactions. 

Group feedback 

Overall, the feedback was positive. The design was professional.  

The group agreed that the term “consumer” should form part of the title of the guide for clarity of the audience of the guide.  

General comments were also made about the following for consideration:  

  • The guide must be written in plain language.
  • The group also supported using images of real people, and not vector graphics or cartoon like images.
  • Depending on the length, it might be better to break it into multiple documents, if possible.
  • It was suggested that the guide may need to be in different languages, once the content was well established based on consumer use.  

9. CIAG advisory process standard operating procedure (SOP)  

In order to satisfy an Auditor General’s recommendation, RECO has developed a standard operating procedure (SOP) that defines the consumer advisory process to report to the minister. 

The group reviewed the draft SOP.  


That the CIAG accept the CIAG standard operating procedure as presented. 


The group discussed the timing of the delivery of minutes. It was agreed that it was more helpful to receive the minutes shortly after the meeting. RECO will make efforts to deliver the minutes as soon as possible following the meeting.  

10. Consumer engagement  

RECO conducts annual consumer surveys through an external party on a variety of topics.  

The focus audience of the survey are consumers who recently bought or sold real estate.  

The group made the following suggestions for the type of information RECO might consider collecting from recent buyers and sellers.  

Questions provided by the group 

  • Did the real estate agent provide the consumer with an understanding of each step in the transaction process?
  • ​​​​​​Did the consumer understand what they were doing in the process of buying or selling a house?
  • Did the consumer understand the documents they were signing?
  • What could the real estate agent have done better?
  • Were there questions that the real estate agent didn’t adequately address?
  • Did the real estate agent refer the consumer to an expert if the question was outside of their expertise?
  • Did the consumer feel heard and responsibly managed? 

The group believes these questions will help demonstrate consumer confidence and will provide confidence in the sector.  

11. Title fraud: Consumer/Industry Support  

Recently, there has been considerable media coverage about title fraud. RECO is considering the role it plays in educating and supporting consumers to increase awareness of the issues. The group provided its perspective on the value RECO could provide around the subject and whether it needed to do more.  

Group feedback

  • Title fraud seems to fit under the legal community rather than RECO. Registrants can bring awareness about the topic to consumers and suggest they speak to their lawyer.
  • Important for consumers to know about title fraud. What can a consumer do? What are the solutions? Is there an easier tool for registrants to check the house title? 

The consensus is that RECO and registrants shouldn’t own the issue of title fraud, but do play a role. RECO’s strategy to focus on awareness both for registrants and consumers was appropriate.  

12. Group feedback 

The group asked to receive the shared documents in advance, even for presentations. RECO will work towards circulating the materials more in advance. 

13. Closing remarks and adjournment  

The Chair thanked all for their active participation and closed the meeting.