What is the purpose of the Auditor General’s audit of RECO?

You may have seen in the news last week that the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario (OAGO) released a value-for-money audit of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). The OAGO regularly audits public sector organizations. In fact, the OAGO released 14 other similar reports just last week.

Before I get into what this means for RECO, as well as real estate agents and consumers, let me explain a little bit about the role of the OAGO.

The main function of the OAGO is to audit public sector organizations – like RECO – to make sure that they are being financially responsible and transparent with the public. Audits typically will look at the organization’s policies and processes, to make sure they are well documented and whether the organization is following them.

The OAGO also assesses whether these organizations are doing their work cost-effectively and efficiently, and whether there are solid measuring and reporting processes in place. The report findings provide members of provincial parliament with a better view of how well public resources are being used. Public resources could refer to tax dollars or to fees collected from organizations like RECO, that are used to carry out a mandate in the public interest.

RECO’s year-long audit began back in January 2022 and has now come to an end with the release of the report.

It contains 25 recommendations to enhance our ability to administer the Real Estate and Business Broker’s Act, 2002 (REBBA), which is the legislation that agents and brokerages are required to follow. If you are interested in reading the full report, it can be found on RECO’s website, along with our statement.

We are proud of our 25-year history as Ontario’s real estate regulator and our consumer-protection mandate, and we will continue to work with the ministry and other stakeholders on strategies to advance the public interest.

As RECO’s CEO, Michael Beard, says: “We appreciate the opportunities the Auditor General’s report presents to enhance the important work we do. And we are pleased that so many of the recommendations align very closely with our strategy to modernize our approach to administering the law in the public interest. We are actively working on a plan to address the recommendations described in the report.”

This includes further developing processes in various areas of our work, including real estate education, inspection, complaints, and investigations.

We will post our plan on our website in spring 2023. We will also share progress updates on a quarterly basis.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.

This column is for general information purposes only and is not meant as legal or professional advice on real estate transactions.

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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