On March 2, Bill 8: Finance Statutes Amendment Act, 2021 was introduced in the BC Legislature. With its introduction, the BC Government’s intention to create a single financial services regulator, including real estate, announced in September 2019, was finally made clear.
The bill creates the path for the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) and the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) to become part of the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA). According to the government’s news release, this is expected to happen “later in 2021.”
We welcome a more cohesive regulatory structure, which is something we asked for early in 2019. Unfortunately, the legislative changes introduced yesterday don’t include the creation of the Professional Standing Committee BCREA proposed more than a year ago.
When the BCFSA becomes the real estate regulator, administration of the Real Estate Services Act (RESA), Real Estate Development Marketing Act and parts of the Strata Property Act will be added to the BCFSA’s current regulatory responsibilities, which include credit unions, mortgage brokers and insurance. BCFSA’s Chief Executive Officer will become the new Superintendent of Real Estate.
As a result of the omission of the Professional Standing Committee, BCREA is concerned that real estate licensees will have fewer opportunities to provide input into rules and policies that impact the practice of real estate. Although the Professional Standing Committee isn’t included in the proposed amendments to RESA, we hope it will be implemented in the practical application of the new regulatory structure. We will continue to work with the BCFSA, OSRE and RECBC to this end. Our goal is to ensure a consistent, meaningful process for practitioner input.
At a high level, the government also proposes the following changes, among others:
- expanding the administrative penalty system, including the option of requiring further education and doubling the maximum penalty (currently $50,000),
- eliminating discipline committees, and
- strengthening the new superintendent’s options for handling urgent circumstances.
BCREA is carefully reviewing the proposed changes to RESA, including seeking legal analysis and meeting with government staff.
This bill – like all bills – will be debated in the legislature and subject to further changes as part of that process. Once it’s passed, it won’t take effect right away. Instead, the government will implement it at a later date by regulation.
As BCREA learns more about the proposed changes to RESA, we’ll provide updates in future blog posts. If you have any concerns, please contact Senior Policy Analyst Norma Miller.
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