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.
RECO is a Delegated Administrative Authority (DAA) 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) on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. The Ministry continues to be responsible for REBBA and associated regulations, as well as general oversight of RECO.
Here are the key milestones that mark RECO’s continued progress since its inception in 1997 (date ranges align with RECO’s fiscal year):
1997 to 1998:
- RECO begins operations.
1998 to 1999:
- Key by-laws passed to enable enforcement of a Code of Ethics and establishing procedures for election of Directors.
1999 to 2000:
- Implemented Complaints, Compliance and Discipline Process and began enforcing a Code of Ethics in order to address ethical misconduct;
- Launch of Mandatory Continuing Education; and
- First election of RECO Directors.
2000 to 2001:
- Launch of insurance program.
2001 to 2002:
- “Registrant Search” feature added to the RECO website.
2002 to 2003:
- Board of Directors approved governance enhancements:
- Complementary Governance Model distinguished between strategic leadership and operations/management
- New Conflict of Interest Policy
- New Code of Conduct for Directors
2003 to 2004:
- Introduced courtesy inspection service to assist new brokerages and ensure proper record-keeping procedures from the start.
2004 to 2005:
- MyWeb launched, enabling registrants to pay insurance premiums, change addresses and access registration information online.
2005 to 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;
- Conducted first registrant satisfaction survey; and
- New Public Notice Policy introduced, providing the public with increased information related to disciplinary actions.
2007 to 2008:
- Launched redesigned website that included dedicated section for consumers.
2009 to 2010:
- Introduction of online registration renewal via MyWeb; and
- Published consumer education brochure in seven languages.
2010 to 2011:
- Launched a new website with new, interactive features; and
- Conducted first consumer awareness poll to identify consumer information needs, awareness of RECO and how Ontario consumers get their information about real estate.
2011 to 2012:
- Introduction of online termination and transfer of employment through MyWeb; and
- First consumer outreach ads.
2012 to 2013:
- Attended consumer events for the first time;
- Launched the “Ask Joe” column in the Toronto Star; and
- Began using dispute resolution as a way to resolve complaints, where RECO helps both parties to a complaint to reach a satisfactory outcome.
2013 to 2014:
- Launched new Mandatory Continuing Education program;
- Shifted RECO’s fiscal year to align the calendar year; and
- Launched MyRECO Certificate app, which allows registrants to display their registration certificate on phone, as an alternative to showing their paper certificate.
- Stronger Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, 2013 proclaimed, which enhanced transparency in the offer process;
- Launched major registrant consultation
and outreach initiative. Feedback resulted in improvements to the complaints process, better customer service and enhanced registrant communications; and
- Piloted service to review advertising for compliance, before it’s published.
- Introduced enhancements to all three types of insurance coverage; and
- Launched improvements to the complaints process, including enhanced communication and transparency.
- Formed Industry Advisory Group. The group has 14 members, including 10 registrants, a consumer representative, a real estate lawyer, a mortgage broker and a home inspector;
- Provided recommendations to government on REBBA reforms. This included recommendations to address conflicts of interest resulting from multiple representation;
- Began work on a new registration education program, after awarding contact to NIIT/Humber; and
- Launched Town Hall tour to reach out to industry leaders.
- Created an all-new strategic plan, a bold plan that charts RECO’s path to becoming a modern regulator over the next five years;
- Launched a review of RECO’s governance;
- Initiated a comprehensive review of mandatory continuing education, in order to identify possible enhancements; and
- Implemented an enterprise risk management plan.