2020 was an eventful year that required BCREA to adapt to many unexpected challenges. As with most British Columbians, the COVID-19 pandemic required changes how we conduct our practices. We have learned just how resilient and adaptable BC’s Realtors can be, showing leadership and coming together to help flatten the COVID-19 infection rate. Below are a few 2020 highlights from BCREA’s Government Relations team.
One issue that was delayed due to the pandemic was regulatory reform. The new timeline for integration of the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate and the Real Estate Council of British Columbia into the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) is early 2021. Throughout the year, BCREA has been meeting with government staff and ministers to ensure that this change is more effective and efficient than the current model. Three of our recommendations are:
- create a Professional Standing Committee to establish licensing qualifications,
- separate public policy from operational policy, with input from licensees, and
- give the real estate licensing function the authority to make its own rules and operational policies.
We are hopeful that when amendments are introduced in coming months, changes will support licensee accountability and improve consumer protection.
Since the end of 2019, BC strata corporations have faced rising strata insurance costs, causing increased affordability challenges for strata unit owners. In June 2020, the BC Government introduced amendments to begin addressing this issue, naming BCREA as a contributor. Three of BCREA’s recommendations were adopted, including:
- amend the Form B Information Certificate to require proof of insurance,
- require a strata corporation to inform owners and tenants of any material change in insurance coverage as soon as feasible, and
- require insurers to provide strata corporations with notices before their policies expire or will be cancelled.
BCREA will continue working with government and other organizations to advocate for additional solutions to make insurance more affordable.
BCREA also continued work to keep money from criminal activity out of BC’s housing market. We created a page dedicated to help Realtors access anti-money laundering resources. We have also been active participants in the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia. We gave opening statements to the commission and will provide testimony in February 2021 as the voice of BC’s Realtors.
In November, in the midst of the pandemic, British Columbians went to the polls, resulting in an NDP majority government. BCREA worked with member boards on ensuring new and re-elected MLAs were educated on challenges facing the real estate sector, notably housing supply, rising strata insurance costs and incentives for energy retrofits.
With another busy year already underway, our team is hard at work continuing to support BC’s Realtors.
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