12/ RECO 2017 ANNUAL REPORT/2017 HIGHLIGHTS 2017 Highlights The Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA), which includes a Code of Ethics, is the legislation that governs trading in Ontario real estate. REBBA provides RECO with the rules to regulate salespeople, brokers and brokerages in the public interest, on behalf of the Ontario government. RECO has worked continually with government over the years, recommending updates and improvements to the legislation in order to keep pace with an evolving marketplace. The year 2017 saw some exciting milestones in REBBA reform. Addressing multiple representation In January 2017, RECO recommended changes to address the conflict-of-interest problems associated with multiple representation in real estate transactions. Later in the year, the government consulted broadly with Ontarians about restricting multiple representation. RECO submitted a response to the consultation, publicly available on its website, which reinforced support for changes that would improve consumer protection. In December, the government passed the Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, which included measures to revise REBBA’s current rules around multiple representation. In addition, fines for salespeople and brokers who violate the Code of Ethics increased from $25,000 to $50,000, and the maximum penalty for brokerages increased from $25,000 to $100,000. Before new rules for multiple representation can be implemented, there is much work ahead: government will first complete additional public consultation and then draft detailed regulations. It is expected that changes will be in place in 2019. Phase two: A broader review of REBBA and the Code of Ethics There is also much to look forward to in 2018 as the government has committed to taking a broader look at REBBA changes that will enhance protection for Ontario consumers. RECO will be advocating for changes that will: • expand the powers of its Discipline and Appeals Committee so that they can revoke or suspend registrations; • enhance consumer protection. RECO has a number of proposals in this category, but one example is a review of the definition of terms like “trade” and “services”; and • give RECO more rule-making authority to provide rules that are flexible and responsive to the evolving marketplace. RECO is committed to working closely with government and providing advice on changes that will protect consumers while maintaining a healthy and competitive marketplace. We will also provide consumers and the industry with regular updates about the review and reform process. Legislative reform is most effective when all involved engage in the process and express their interests. During the phase two review, RECO encourages the public and registrants alike to speak up for changes that will provide optimum protection for buyers and sellers, and strengthen the integrity of the process. IMPROVING CONSUMER PROTECTION WITH REBBA REFORM What is multiple representation? Multiple representation occurs when a brokerage represents more than one client in a transaction. A common form of multiple representation is when a single salesperson represents both the buyer and seller in a transaction.