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Policy Statements

 

Policy Statements are created for the purpose of regulatory governance. Policy Statements serve to implement or interpret the Real Estate Services Act, Regulation, Rules, and Council Bylaws, and/or to clarify the Council’s position and procedures to follow on a particular matter.

To view a policy statement, click on the policy name in the list below.

 


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Show/Hide AnswerAbeyance Policy Statement

Effective June 27, 2017

The term “abeyance” does not refer to just any delay or decision to wait for a period of time before moving to the next step in an investigation. Rather, it describes a very specific arrangement where a licensee requests a temporary suspension of an investigation or hearing and the Council grants this request subject to certain conditions. This policy provides general principles and guidelines to consider in determining whether to grant a request for an abeyance.

 

PROCESS AND ABEYANCE AGREEMENT

A licensee who is subject to an investigation may make a written request to the Council to have the matter held in abeyance because of relevant proceedings pending or ongoing in another forum. If granted, the Council always retains the discretion to end an abeyance unilaterally at any point and to proceed immediately with its investigation.

Depending on the stage of the investigation, an abeyance may result in the Council temporarily suspending the licensee’s responsibility to provide a written response in the investigation or in temporarily deferring any decision to authorize a citation or proceed with a hearing.

An abeyance requires the licensee to undertake to:

  1. not raise any argument based on delay resulting from the abeyance, and
  2. keep the Council informed of any progress in the parallel proceeding or matter.

Abeyance agreements can also:

  1. require the licensee’s undertaking to not enter into any confidentiality agreements that would exclude the Council’s knowledge of the terms of any settlement,
  2. incorporate any specific concerns the Council may have, such as interim measures for the protection of the public, or
  3. secure in advance any specific consent or cooperation that may be of assistance in the Council’s investigation (e.g. consent to the Council’s obtaining and reviewing the transcript from the licensee’s examination for discovery).

If granted, an abeyance is in place until the sooner of a specified period of time (usually 6 or 12 months) or the conclusion of the parallel proceeding, but is always subject to the Council’s right to terminate the abeyance early.

 

THE PRINCIPLES

  1. The Council’s mandate to protect the public interest requires that the Council’s investigations and disciplinary proceedings be completed in a timely manner. The starting presumption is therefore that such investigations and proceedings should not be held in abeyance.
  2. Notwithstanding the presumption against abeyances, upon receiving a written request from the licensee subject to investigation, the Council will consider whether an abeyance is warranted. In some instances, it may be preferable to first obtain the licensee’s response in the investigation and then to consider the abeyance of subsequent processes.
  3. An investigation  must proceed far enough that the Council can determine whether interim conditions or licence restrictions should be required during the period of the abeyance, for the protection of the public, a third party or any of the licensee’s clients. 
  4. The granting of an abeyance will only be justified if, in the Council’s opinion:
    1. there is a contemporaneous parallel proceeding in another forum,
      1. in which there is a significant overlapping of the issues or factual matrix in ques-tion in the Council’s investigation, and
      2. from which relevant, binding determinations or admissible information may reasonably be expected to flow in a reasonable period of time;
    2. there is a significant risk that continuing the Council’s investigation and/or discipline processes without abeyance will:
      1. undermine due process or the administration of justice in the parallel proceeding,
      2. result in an abuse of the Council’s processes, or
      3. unduly prejudice the rights of the licensee in the parallel proceeding; and
    3. the Council’s investigation and ability to meet its mandate can reasonably be expected to benefit as a result of:
      1. evidence becoming available in the course of the parallel proceeding that would be admissible in the Council’s proceeding;
      2. the determinations of the other forum;
      3. the cooperation and participation of the licensee subject to investigation unre-strained by concern for effects on the parallel proceeding; or
      4. specific safeguards for the protection of the public that may be obtained by agreement as part of the terms of the abeyance.

 

GUIDELINES FOR ABEYANCE DECISIONS

While each abeyance decision must be made on a case-by-case basis, in determining whether to grant, extend or amend an abeyance agreement, the Council should have regard to the following list of potentially relevant factors:

General

  1. The presumption that Council investigations and proceedings should not be held in abeyance in the absence of compelling justification;
  2. Whether any step other than granting an abeyance would adequately address the licensee’s concern in making the request and enable the investigation to proceed more expeditiously;
  3. Whether there are any measures that should be taken for the protection of the public;

The Parallel Proceeding and the Other Forum

  1. Whether there is a reasonable expectation of timely progress toward the conclusion of the parallel proceeding;
  2. The extent of the apparent overlap of the Council’s concerns with the facts and issues in question in the parallel proceeding;
  3. The expertise and powers of the other forum and the potential value and relevance of its determinations;
  4. Whether the other forum is the better forum for the determination of any identical issues that may arise in the Council’s investigation;
  5. Whether the parallel proceeding is likely to be abandoned, settled without admissions, or concluded with no useful determinations or evidence becoming available for the Council’s investigation;

The Licensee and the Other Parties

  1. Whether the circumstances of the complainant or the licensee impede his or her ability to fully participate in the Council’s investigation and/or discipline proceeding before the conclusion of the parallel proceeding;
  2. Whether holding the investigation in abeyance is likely to prejudice the licensee, the complainant, a third party, the ultimate investigation, or any subsequent discipline proceeding;
  3. Whether continuing without an abeyance would be likely to provide the complainant with access to information that would be privileged in the other forum;

The Abeyance Agreement

  1. Whether the licensee has agreed to conditions satisfactory to the Council, including any measures required for the protection of the public, such as licence restrictions, supervision or monitoring;
  2. Whether the length of the proposed abeyance period is appropriate in light of the circumstances of the matter, the expectation of progress in the parallel proceeding, and the need for periodic review and re-assessment;

The Council’s Investigation

  1. Whether the proposed abeyance is advantageous for the Council’s investigation;
  2. Whether and for how long the matter has already been in abeyance;
  3. Any proposals for further investigation that may be carried out during the proposed abeyance;
  4. Whether further investigation is required to better inform the decision on the abeyance request;
  5. The effect that the proposed abeyance would have on the Council’s ability to complete its investigations and carry out its disciplinary processes in a timely manner; and
  6. Such other factors as may be relevant in the circumstances.

 

Show/Hide AnswerAdvertising Policy Statement: Advertising of Personal Real Estate Corporations

Effective May 1, 2009

 

ADVERTISING OF PERSONAL REAL ESTATE CORPORATIONS POLICY

Section 4-6 of the Rules establishes the following requirements with respect to real estate advertising that identifies a personal real estate corporation:

“(3) If real estate advertising identifies a managing broker, associate broker or representative, this must be done

      • (a) if that person is an individual, by using the licensee name of the individual, or
      • (b) if that person is a personal real estate corporation or a controlling individual of a personal real estate corporation, by using the licensee name of the personal real estate corporation only.”

Section 4-4 of the Rules states that the licensee name of a personal real estate corporation is its legal name. Section 10.3 of the Regulation under the Real Estate Services Act requires that the legal name of a personal real estate corporation must include both, but nothing other than,

      1. the legal name, a recognizable short form of the legal name, or the licensee name of the controlling individual, and
      2. the term “personal real estate corporation”.

The Council is aware that some MLS® systems, due to space limitations in their data fields, are not able to show the full licensee name of a personal real estate corporation. For this reason, the Council has adopted the following administrative policy:

 

An advertisement where the name of a personal real estate corporation is generated by an MLS® data base may use an asterisk after the name of the related controlling individual, so long as that asterisk is displayed in a prominent and easily readable way elsewhere in the advertisement followed by the term ‘personal real estate corporation’.

 

For example, an MLS® generated advertisement identifying the licensee name of ‘Susan Wong Personal Real Estate Corporation’ could display that name in the following manner:

Susan Wong*

with the term “*personal real estate corporation” being displayed in a prominent and easily readable way elsewhere in the advertisement.

This policy applies only to advertisements that are generated by an MLS® data base. All other forms of advertising which identify a personal real estate corporation must do so using its licensee name. In the above example, this would be

 

Susan Wong Personal Real Estate Corporation

Licensees requiring further information in this regard should contact the Council office at 604-683-9664 or toll free at 1-877-683-9664.

 

Show/Hide AnswerApplication of Administrative Penalties

Effective July 10, 2018

POLICY GOAL

To ensure that the Council is imposing administrative penalties in a fair, consistent and transparent manner.

 

POLICY STATEMENT

An administrative penalty may be imposed by the Council where the Council is satisfied that a licensee has committed a minor contravention of a rule designated as being subject to administrative penalties.

The following factors will support a finding that a contravention is minor:

  • The contravention resulted in limited or no harm to a member of the public or to the reputation of the real estate industry;
  • The contravention was technical in nature;
  • The contravention was unintentional or inadvertent;
  • The contravention was an isolated incident; and/or
  • When the contravention was brought to the licensee’s attention, the licensee took prompt steps to correct or remedy the contravention.

The Council may, by policy, set out additional circumstances in which an administrative penalty may be imposed by the Council for a contravention of a rule designated as being subject to administrative penalties (see Contraventions of Section 7-7 of the Rules policy).

 

PROCEDURE

Where the Council is satisfied that a licensee has contravened a rule designated as being subject to administrative penalties, the Council, through staff, may issue a Notice of Administrative Penalty to the licensee.

Where the Council is satisfied that a licensee has committed two or more minor contraventions of a rule or rules designated as being subject to administrative penalties, the Council, through staff, may issue a Notice of Administrative Penalty to the licensee, and may impose an administrative penalty for each separate contravention, depending on the following factors:

  • Are the minor contraventions, when taken together, sufficiently serious that they should be addressed through disciplinary action?
  • Do the minor contraventions, considered together, indicate a level of carelessness on the part of the licensee that may pose a risk to members of the public?

Where, in the course of an investigation under section 37 of the Real Estate Services Act (“RESA”), the Council becomes aware of a matter that involves both

  • a minor contravention of a rule designated being subject to administrative penalties, and
  • a more serious contravention of such a rule, and/or a contravention of RESA, the Real Estate Services Regulation (the “Regulation”), rules not designated as being subject to administrative penalties, or the bylaws,

the Council will refer the matter to the Council’s Complaints Committee for consideration. The Complaints Committee may deal with the matter in accordance with its terms of reference.

Where, in the course of a brokerage inspection or audit or otherwise administering Part 7 of the Rules, the Council becomes aware of a matter that involves both a minor contravention of

  •  a rule designated being subject to administrative penalties, and
  •  a more serious contravention of such a rule, and/or a contravention of RESA, the Regulation, rules not designated as being subject to administrative penalties, or the bylaws,

the Council will refer the matter to the Council’s legal department for the commencement of discipline proceedings.

An administrative penalty may be imposed by the following members of Council staff in accordance with sections 57 and 82 of RESA:

  • Legal Counsel, Compliance
  • Manager, Compliance
  • Manager, Legal Services
  • Manager, Accounting and Audit
  • Director, Legal Services
  • Director, Accounting and Audit
  • Executive Officer
  • Such other person as to whom Council has delegated the appropriate authority

REFERENCES

Show/Hide AnswerBrokerage Trust Account Policy Statement: Payment of Licensee Remuneration

Effective January 1, 2005
Revised April 7, 2005

PAYMENT OF LICENSEE REMUNERATION POLICY

Section 31 of the Real Estate Services Act (RESA) and section 7-2 of the Rules, stipulate how remuneration owing to a licensee engaged by a brokerage is to be paid to that licensee. Section 5-15 of the Rules determines when remuneration is earned for the purposes of payment to licensees.

The Council has developed this policy statement in order to assist brokerages in determining how related licensees are to be paid depending on the nature of their remuneration and how they are engaged by their related brokerage.

1. Licensees Receiving Remuneration in the Form of Commission

Licensees who receive remuneration in the form of commission must, in accordance with section 31(2)(b) of RESA, be paid from either

      1. the brokerage’s trust account, or
      2. the brokerage’s commission trust account.

Where there is an independent contractor relationship between the licensee and the brokerage
In the event that the brokerage advances remuneration to the licensee in the form of a commission advance or the payment of expenses, and once the remuneration is earned in accordance with section 5-15 of the Rules, the brokerage may then deduct its share of the remuneration, including these advances, from the total remuneration. This amount may then be paid into the brokerage’s general account. The remaining net share of the remuneration that is payable by the brokerage to the licensee must then be paid, at the brokerage’s option, either directly out of the brokerage’s trust account to the licensee or into a commission trust account and, from that account, to or on behalf of the licensee.

 

Where there is an employee employer relationship between the licensee and the brokerage
In the event that the brokerage advances remuneration to the licensee in the form of a commission advance or the payment of expenses, and once the remuneration is earned in accordance with section 5-15 of the Rules, the brokerage may then deduct its share of the remuneration, including these advances, from the total remuneration. Expenses may include any deductions that the employer has a legal obligation to remit, ie: the employee portion of CPP, EI, income tax, etc. This amount may then be paid into the brokerage’s general account. The remaining net share of the remuneration that is payable by the brokerage to the licensee must then be paid, at the brokerage’s option, either directly out of the brokerage’s trust account to the licensee or into a commission trust account and, from that account, to or on behalf of the licensee.

 

A commission trust account must be used in instances where the licensee is responsible for making remittances such as GST and income tax, but the brokerage has agreed to make these remittances on behalf of the licensee. In this instance, the ‘net share of the remuneration’ that is payable to the licensee includes the amounts that are to be remitted on behalf of the licensee. This net share must first be transferred from the brokerage’s trust account into the brokerage’s commission trust account. The brokerage may then make these remittances on behalf of the licensee, and pay the remaining balance to the licensee, out of the commission trust account.

 

2. Licensees “Employed” by a Brokerage and Remunerated by Regular and Periodic Wages

Brokerages who employ licensees (including representatives, associate brokers, or managing brokers) and who pay these licensees on a periodic and regular basis (e.g. hourly, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or yearly), may pay these wages from the brokerage’s general account, as this remuneration is not dependent on any one trade in real estate or any one service agreement, such as a rental property management service agreement. It will be paid to the licensee irrespective of the number of trades in real estate or service agreements. The licensee’s remuneration is therefore not directly related to money that is held in the brokerage trust account.

 

Any bonuses that are to be paid to the licensee may also be paid from the brokerage’s general account, provided that the bonus is not based on any trade in real estate or specific service agreement, but rather at the brokerage’s discretion.

 

Bonuses or commissions based on one or more trades in real estate, or one or more service agreements, may not be paid out of the brokerage’s general account. They must be paid from the brokerage’s trust account or commission trust account. Under this scenario, the licensee could still receive their wage remuneration out of the brokerage’s general account but the bonus must be paid from either the brokerage’s trust account or commission trust account.

 

Licensees requiring further clarification with respect to the payment of commissions should contact the Council office.

Show/Hide AnswerContraventions of Section 7-7 of the Rules

Effective September 4, 2018

POLICY GOAL

To ensure that the Council is imposing administrative penalties for contraventions of section 7-7 of the Rules in a fair, consistent and transparent manner.

 

SCOPE

This policy applies where the Council is satisfied that a brokerage has contravened section 7-7 of the Rules by failing to file with the Council, within 120 days after the end of each fiscal year of the brokerage (the “Due Date”), the following items (collectively, the “Required Filings”):

  1. Financial statements for that fiscal year;
  2. An accountant’s report respecting that fiscal year, completed in accordance with the bylaws; and
  3. A brokerage activity report respecting that fiscal year, completed in accordance with the bylaws.

POLICY STATEMENT

If one or more of the Required Filings is not filed with Council by the Due Date, the Required Filings will be viewed as late for the purpose of this policy.

If the Required Filings are late, but are delivered in a form acceptable to the Council within 30 days of the Due Date, the Council may impose an administrative penalty on the brokerage for contravening section 7-7 of the Rules. The Council may also impose an administrative penalty on the managing broker pursuant to section 3-1(3) of the Rules for failing to ensure the brokerage’s compliance with section 7-7 of the Rules.

If the Required Filings have not been delivered within 30 days of the Due Date, the matter may be referred to the Council’s legal department for the commencement of discipline proceedings against the brokerage and/or the managing broker.

 

PROCEDURE

Where an administrative penalty is imposed on a brokerage for contravening section 7-7, and/or on a managing broker for contravening section 3-1(3) by failing to ensure the brokerage’s compliance with section 7-7, Council staff will prepare and issue the administrative penalty notice in accordance with section 57 of RESA.

Where a brokerage’s contravention of section 7-7, or a managing broker’s related contravention of section 3-1(3), is referred to Council’s legal department for disciplinary action, the Council’s legal department may issue a notice of discipline hearing in accordance with section 40 of RESA. The Council may proceed with discipline proceedings against the brokerage and/or the managing broker regardless of whether or not the contravention is remedied.

 

REFERENCES

Show/Hide AnswerCouncil Meetings Policy Statement

 

Effective: April 1, 2018

The Real Estate Council of BC (Council) is a “public body” for the purposes of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and is subject to that Act’s public disclosure and privacy protection requirements. The Council is committed to the principles of openness, accountability and transparency. Open meetings of the Council advance accountability and transparency by providing the public with an opportunity to observe the decision-making of the Council. Having an understanding of the considerations underlying the Council’s decisions helps to build trust and confidence in the Council.

 

The Council is committed to a transparent and accountable decision-making process and to balancing this with its duty to protect the interests of the organization and the privacy of individuals. Although as much as possible will be addressed in the open portion of a Council meeting, there may be certain topics where the interests in maintaining the confidentiality of those matters outweigh the benefit in those matters being open to the public. Generally, where there is a reasonable and identifiable possibility of damage to the interests of the Council, the public, the government or a third party and the risks of public disclosure of those matters outweigh the benefits of public transparency, those matters will be discussed in a closed portion.

 

This policy outlines procedures for Council meetings to provide a clear and consistent approach to what portions will be open to the public and what portions will be closed. It also sets out the Council’s expectations for any member of the public attending a Council meeting.

 

SCOPE

This policy applies to all regular meetings of Council members.

 

DEFINITIONS

in camera portion” means a portion of a Council meeting that is not open to the public where Council members meet with senior management to discuss items that are confidential in nature and not appropriate for the open portion;

“closed portion” means any portion of a Council meeting that is not open to the public, i.e. any in camera portion or Council-only portion;

“Council-only portion” means a portion of a Council meeting that is not open to the public where only Council members are in attendance; and

“open portion” means a portion of a Council meeting where members of the public may attend, subject to Council’s public attendance policy, and members of Council’s staff or senior management may be in attendance.

 

GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND PROCEDURES

Each Council meeting is normally compromised of an open portion and a closed portion. The open portion of the meeting will usually be held at the beginning of the Council meeting.

 

A. OPEN PORTION

1. Agendas and Minutes:

Agendas for open portions of Council meetings are posted on the Council’s website approximately two weeks in advance of each meeting. Supporting materials are distributed only to Council members and executive staff. Approved minutes of the open portion of meetings are posted on the Council’s website within two weeks of each meeting date.

 

2. Observers at Meetings: 

The number of observers at Council meetings is limited by seating space. To ensure seating, individuals wishing to attend the public session of Council meetings as observers must notify the Council’s Manager, Communications at least 72 hours prior to the meeting. Individuals who indicate their interest in attending a Council meeting after the 72 hour notice period may be admitted at the discretion of the Council Chair. All attendees must identify themselves and their affiliation, if any.

The Chair, in consultation with the Executive Officer and Council members, reserves the right to limit the number of public observers due to space limitations, and to request any disruptive observers to leave the meeting. The Council also reserves the right to limit attendance to one representative per organization.

 

3. Recording Devices Not Permitted:

Use by observers of recording devices, videotaping or photography is not permitted at the Council meeting.

B. CLOSED PORTION

4. Agendas and Minutes:

Agendas for closed portions of Council meetings and supporting materials, as well as minutes of the closed portion are distributed only to Council members and, where Council considers appropriate, selected Council staff. The general principles and procedures relating to closed portions of a Council meeting also apply to any meeting of a Council committee.

 

1. Matters Appropriate for Consideration

Closed portions of Council meetings are designed to address specific sensitive matters. Matters that may be dealt with in an in camera portion include, but are not limited to:

  • Advice or communications that are subject to solicitor-client privilege;
  • Financial, contractual and/or other matters for which a decision must be made and premature disclosure would be prejudicial;
  • Information that would reveal policy advice or recommendations developed by or for the Council;
  • Conflict of interest situations;
  • Human resources issues, including contract negotiations with staff, or issues that may affect the privacy of an employee (such as hiring, dismissal or disciplinary matters);
  • Matters relating to litigation or potential litigation affecting the Council; or
  • Information that the Council is required by law to keep confidential.

Where appropriate, decisions made in in camera portions may be communicated at the next open portion.

Council-only portions are an opportunity for Council members to discuss particularly sensitive matters (e.g. the evaluation or compensation of the Executive Officer) or internal governance matters (e.g. the functioning of Council meetings). Following a Council-only portion, the Chair will report to the Executive Officer on any decisions made at the meeting.

 

1. Procedure

 

Before the closed portion

The open portion of a meeting will usually be held at the beginning of the Council meeting. Before moving into a closed portion of a Council meeting, the Council will pass a motion in the open portion:

  1. adjourning the open portion of the meeting;
  2. stating that the meeting is moving into an in camera or Council-only portion, or both (as applicable); and
  3. stating that following the in camera or Council-only portion (as applicable), the Council meeting will be adjourned.

 

During the closed portion

Any debate on the suitability of items for discussion in a closed portion should be debated and voted on during the closed portion of the meeting. Therefore, this process should be the first item on the agenda of a closed portion of the Council meeting:

  1. The Chair or a designated staff advisor will explain the justifications for including the various items on the agenda of the closed portion of the Council meeting.
  2. The Chair will then ask whether anyone objects to including any of the stated items on the agenda.
    1. If no one objects to the inclusion of any item on the agenda, a motion will be introduced to adopt the agenda.
    2. If one or more members object to the inclusion of one or more items on the agenda, a motion will be introduced to authorize the placement of the unchallenged items on the meeting agenda, followed by separate motions on each challenged item.
      1. Debates on these motions should focus exclusively on the procedural issue, i.e. whether the risk of harm associated with discussing a certain item in public sufficiently large to classify the item as confidential and forego public debate on it.
      2. Majority vote is required to adopt each of the motions to include a challenged item on the agenda of the closed portion of the Council meeting.

Prior to adjourning the meeting, a resolution may be passed that any of the matters discussed at the in camera or Council-only portion be brought forward for discussion at the next open portion of a Council meeting, if appropriate.

 

After the closed portion

Details of the discussion of a matter at any in camera or Council-only portion must be held in strict confidence by all those in attendance.

Meeting minutes will:

  • only record the topics and outcomes of the meeting. They should exclude any verbatim quotes of individuals or summaries of discussions;
  • be recorded by the Council’s Corporate Secretary during in camera portions, and be recorded by a designated Council member during Council-only portions;
  • be stored separately from open portion minutes and distributed only to those individuals who were authorized to attend the meeting; and
  • be approved at the next in camera or Council-only portion, as applicable.

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS POLICY

Questions about this policy should be directed to the Council’s Corporate Secretary at 604-683-9664.

 

REQUESTS TO ATTEND A COUNCIL MEETING

Requests to attend a Council meeting should be directed to the Manager, Communications, by email at [email protected] or by phone at 604-683-9664.

 

Show/Hide AnswerFinancial Reporting Requirements Policy Statement: Eligibility to File a Notice to Reader Report

Effective January 1, 2009

ELIGIBILITY TO FILE A NOTICE TO READER REPORT

Section 25 of the Real Estate Services Act (RESA) stipulates that a brokerage must keep proper books and records in accordance with the rules; section 7-7 of the Rules specifies the annual reporting requirements of such books and records; section 4-9 of the General Bylaws under the Act provides the detailed requirements.

 

The Council has developed a policy which will allow a brokerage to qualify to file a Notice to Reader Report along with financial statements.

 

A brokerage will be eligible to file a Notice to Reader Report if the brokerage has:

  1. filed either a Review Engagement Report or Audited financial statements with Council for at least three fiscal years;
  2. during that three year period there has been no significant trust or general books and records exceptions reported, or discovered in any Office & Records Inspections conducted in that time period; and
  3. a positive working capital position for each of these three fiscal year ends reported to Council.For the purpose of this policy, Council staff will have the discretion to exclude the following current liabilities from a brokerage’s working capital position:
    1. Shareholders loans
    2. Bonuses payable to owners
    3. Deferred management wages/salaries to owners
    4. Unpaid dividends
    5. Redeemable preferred shares
    6. Money due to related parties
    7. Current portion of long term debt/capital leases

The brokerage will be notified by Council of its eligibility and will have the option to file a Notice to Reader. The brokerage will be notified within two weeks after their fiscal year end what report will be required, at minimum, by Council. All other reporting requirements, including the trust audit, remain the same and the brokerage must file an Accountant’s Report, and a Brokerage Activity Report with the specified financial statements.

 

Show/Hide AnswerLicensing Policy Statement: Broker’s Education Requalification

Effective January 1, 2005

 

BROKER’S EDUCATION REQUALIFICATION POLICY FOR RELICENSING AS A MANAGING BROKER OR ASSOCIATE BROKER

An applicant for a new managing broker’s or associate broker’s licence who has been previously licensed as a managing broker or associate broker is required to meet the requirements of section 2-8(4) [educational requirements for managing broker and associate brokers] of the Rules. However, section 2-7(3) [waiver of educational requirements] of the Rules states that the Council may waive, on the basis of the applicant’s previous knowledge or training, some or all of the requirements in relation to a course, a corresponding examination, or a course and its corresponding examination.

 

The Council will waive the requirements in relation to a course or examination if the applicant has been unlicensed for less than five (5) years immediately preceding the date of application. An applicant who has been unlicensed for five (5) or more years immediately preceding the date of application will be required to successfully complete the applicable service category licensing examination and the Broker’s Licensing Course Examination. An application who wishes to become licensed for more than one service category will be required to also complete the applicable supplemental examination(s). 

 

BROKER’S EDUCATION REQUALIFICATION POLICY FOR RELICENSING AS A REPRESENTATIVE

An applicant for new representative licence who has been previously licensed as a managing broker or associate broker and has been unlicensed for five (5) or more years immediately preceding the date of application is required to meet the requirements of section 2-8(1)(b) [pre-licensing examinations] and section 2-8(2) [applied practice course] of the Rules. However, section 2-7(3) [waiver of educational requirements] of the Rules states that the Council may waive, on the basis of the applicant’s previous knowledge or training, some or all of the requirements in relation to a course, a corresponding examination, or a course and its corresponding examination.

 

The Council will waive the requirements in relation to a course or examination if the applicant has been unlicensed for less than five (5) years immediately preceding the date of application. An applicant who has been unlicensed for five (5) or more years immediately preceding the date of application will be required to successfully complete the applicable service category licensing examination. An applicant who wishes to become licensed for more than one service category will be required to also complete the applicable supplemental examination(s).

 

In the case of an applicant who rewrites the Trading Services Licensing Examination, completion of the Residential Trading Services Applied Practice Course will be waived if the applicant has previously completed the applied course within two (2) years of the date of relicensing. Applicants who have not completed the Residential Trading Services Applied Practice Course within the two (2) years preceding the date of relicensing will be required to take the Accelerated Residential Trading Services Applied Practice Course.

Show/Hide AnswerLicensing Policy Statement: Educational Requirements for New Licensees

Effective March 1, 2015

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW LICENSEES

Section 2-8 of the Rules requires that education be completed as a condition of licensing.

2-8 (1) Licensing courses – In order to be issued a licence, an applicant for a new licence who is an individual must have

  1. taken the applicable licensing courses respecting the real estate services in relation to which the application is made, and
  2. successfully completed any assignments corresponding to those courses, no longer than 2 years before the date of writing any corresponding examinations, and
  3. passed the examinations corresponding to those courses, no longer than 1 year before the date of the application.

(2) Applied practice courses – Subject to subsection (3), in order to be issued a licence, an applicant for a new licence who is an individual must have taken the applicable applied practice courses, if any, respecting the real estate services in relation to which the application is made, no longer than 2 years before the date of the application.

(3) Temporary licence exception – An applicant who has not completed the applied practice courses referred to in subsection (2) may be issued a temporary licence under section 14 [temporary licences] of the Act that is conditional on taking those courses, or having them waived by the council, within the period specified in the licence.

With the introduction of the revised Trading Services Applied Practice Course (blended format) in January 2015, and its requirement to complete certain components within required time periods, both prior to licensing and during a temporary licence period, the following policy articulates how the Rule will be applied to applicants.

 

Trading Services Applicants who have completed the 5-day in-class Applied Practice Course
Prior to being issued a licence, a new applicant must have:

  1. passed the Real Estate Trading Services Licensing Examination no longer than one year before the date of application, and
  2. completed the applicable 5-day in-class Applied Practice Course no longer than two years before the date of application.

If it is more than two years from the date of having completed the Applied Practice Course, the applicant must retake the revised Trading Services Applied Practice Course (blended format). Successful completion of Components 1 and 2 are required in order to qualify for licensing as noted below.

 

Trading Services Applicants who complete the revised Residential Trading Services Applied Practice Course (blended format)

Prior to being issued a licence, a new applicant must have:

  1. passed the Real Estate Trading Services Licensing Examination no longer than one year before the date of application, and
  2. completed consecutively, no more than one year apart, Components 1 and 2 of the revised Residential Trading Services Applied Practice Course (blended format) and no longer than two years before the date of application. If more than two years elapses from the date of completing Components 1 and 2 of the revised Residential Trading Services Applied Practice Course (blended format), the applicant will need to retake those components in order to be eligible for licensing.

Applicants are advised that Components 3 and 4 of the revised Residential Trading Services Applied Practice Course (blended format) must be completed during the first six months of licensing.

 

Trading Services Applicants who complete the revised Commercial Trading Services Applied Practice Course (blended format)

Prior to being issued a licence, a new applicant must have:

  1. passed the Real Estate Trading Services Licensing Examination no longer than one year before the date of application, and
  2. completed Component 1 of the revised Commercial Trading Services Applied Practice Course (blended format) no longer than two years before the date of application. If more than two years elapses from the date of completing Component 1 of the revised Commercial Trading Services Applied Practice Course (blended format), the applicant will need to retake that component in order to be eligible for licensing.

Applicants are advised that Components 2, 3 and 4 of the revised Commercial Trading Services Applied Practice Course (blended format) must be completed during the first six months of licensing.

 

Both Residential and Commercial Course Learners

If more than one year elapses from the date of passing the licensing examination, the applicant must:

  • retake and pass the licensing examination if it is less than two years since the applicant completed the licensing course assignments, or
  • retake the licensing course and pass the licensing examination if it is more than two years since the applicant completed the licensing course assignments.

Re-qualifying applicants

In order to be issued a licence, a requalifying applicant must have:

  1. passed the Real Estate Trading Services Licensing Examination no longer than one year before the date of application, and
  2. completed either the applicable 5-day in-class Trading Services Applied Practice Course or all 4 components of the applicable revised Trading Services Applied Practice Course (blended format) no longer than two years before the date of application.

If it is more than two years since the applicant completed the Applied Practice Course, the applicant must retake the applicable accelerated revised Trading Services Applied Practice Course (blended format) as follows:

 

Residential Course:
For the revised Residential Trading Services Applied Practice Course (blended format), complete Component 1 prior to being issued a temporary licence and, as a condition of that temporary licence, complete Component 3 during the first six months.

 

Commercial Course
For the revised Commercial Trading Services Applied Practice Course (blended format), complete Component 1 prior to being issued a temporary licence and, as a condition of that temporary licence, complete Component 3 during the first six months.

Show/Hide AnswerMedia Relations Policy Statement

Effective April 10, 2018

 

POLICY GOAL

As part of its mission to protect the public interest, the Real Estate Council of BC (Council) responds to requests for information and gives statements to the media on topics relating to the regulation of real estate licensees in BC.

 

This Media Relations Policy outlines processes for providing information to the news media, in order to provide journalists with the most accurate information possible while reflecting the Council’s mandate to protect the public, and while respecting the legislative framework within which the Council’s work is conducted, including duties of confidentiality and protection of personal information.

 

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the Council:

  • provides accurate and timely information in response to media requests;
  • works collaboratively across the organization to ensure information is provided to media;
  • considers the range of communication tools available and uses those most appropriate;
  • respects the access to information, confidentiality and privacy rights of employees, licensees and citizens;
  • strives to achieve a culture of two-way communication with media stakeholders; and
  • conducts media relations in an open, professional, and transparent manner that is in accordance with the Council’s mandate, the requirements of the Real Estate Services Act, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and any other applicable legislation.

 

The ultimate goal of the Council’s Media Relations Policy is to ensure that the information contained in all communication with media is disclosable, consistent, accurate, fair and timely.

 

This policy aligns with several recommendations in the Final Report of the Independent Advisory Group including:

  • The Real Estate Council significantly increase and improve its public education and awareness efforts.
  • The Real Estate Council improve the transparency of its complaints and disciplinary process, and the resulting outcomes.

 

POLICY STATEMENT

The Council appreciates that openness and accountability to the public are critical to regulation and the rule of law. The Council also recognizes the support our media stakeholders may offer in sharing important information that furthers our mandate to protect the public interest. However, these interests must also be balanced with the privacy rights of licensees and third parties and legislated duties of confidentiality.

 

In dealing with media requests, the Council will:

  • handle media requests promptly and professionally;
  • be as open and transparent as possible with information provided to the media;
  • ensure messages and responses are clear and easy to understand;
  • where possible, include references in responses to relevant sections of the legislation, Council material or other background resources; and
  • act in accordance with the requirements of the Real Estate Services Act, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and any relevant Council policies or applicable legislation.

 

SCOPE

This policy applies to all Real Estate Council of BC members and staff including full-time, part-time, casual and temporary employees, volunteers and co-op placements.

 

PROCEDURE

 

Council spokesperson

Unless otherwise authorized, the three designated spokespersons for the Council are the Chair, the Vice Chair and the Executive Officer. 

When appropriate, the Chair or Executive Officer may designate another spokesperson due to their knowledge, experience and expertise, and when the designated spokesperson is adequately prepared to undertake this responsibility.

Designated spokespersons:

  • must discuss only factual information;
  • must not discuss matters that are currently under investigation or matters that are currently or will be under consideration by a hearing panel or the courts;
  • must not discuss matters that could jeopardize the integrity of any investigation or release information that could be in breach of applicable privacy legislation.

Designated spokespersons should contact Communications for support and advice in preparation for media interviews.

 

Spokespersons Media Training

Communications staff, with the help of external consultants, will arrange or provide media training and support to spokespersons.

 

Non-spokespersons

Individual employees may speak to the media as private citizens; however they are not authorized to make statements to the media on behalf of the Real Estate Council of BC, and should make it clear they are not speaking on Council’s behalf, unless explicitly designated by the Executive Officer.

Employees who are not designated spokespersons must refer media inquires to Communications staff, so that proper action can be taken and accurate responses made by the appropriate representative of the Council.

Council members should refrain from expressing personal opinions on Council related matters or Council decisions to media. Council members must keep an open mind about any matter before Council and must “speak with one voice” regarding any decision made by Council.

 

Communications Staff Responsibility

Communications staff are able to answer media enquiries by phone, email, letter or in person in order to:

  • provide background information;
  • provide print or electronic written statements attributed to the Real Estate Council of BC;
  • facilitate and arrange interviews with the media;
  • gather information for designated spokespersons ahead of media interviews;
  • provide publicly available material from the Council’s website to media;
  • provide links to Council material on the website; and
  • re-direct media to other organizations.

 

Release of Information

The Council will consider each media request on a case-by-case basis. In doing so it will be guided by the following considerations:

  • the extent to which the media request is likely to contribute directly to informing consumers and industry stakeholders of information that is in the public interest;
  • the internal and external resources and time required to gather and interpret the required information; and
  • whether the Council is legally permitted to release the information.

Where media coverage resulting from a request to the Council contains inaccuracies, the Council may comment in public, using factual information to correct misleading reporting.

 

Declining to Release Information

The Council’s investigations are confidential. Generally, the Council will not confirm or deny whether there may be an investigation underway into the actions of any individual licensee or brokerage, or whether a complaint has been received concerning any licensee or brokerage, unless and until a date has been set for a Discipline Hearing. In circumstances where the refusal to confirm or deny an investigation could undermine public confidence in the regulation of the real estate industry, the Council will make an exception to this policy. Such exceptions will be determined on a case-by-case basis, and will be subject to the approval of the Executive Officer or his/her designate.

When a matter is due to come before a hearing committee, the Council will not comment on the matter until a final decision has been issued.

The Council does not comment on specific cases beyond what is stated in the published decisions. Other comments concerning hearings will be limited to general explanations, in order to promote a better understanding of the Council’s hearing processes.

The Council may issue a media release and/or paid advertisement in the appropriate media outlet when it determines that it would be in the public interest to do so, in accordance with the provisions of the Publication Policy.

The Council also reserves the right to decline to respond to media requests where a response would conflict with the confidentiality requirements of the Real Estate Services Act, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Council’s Publication Policy, or any other applicable law or policy.

The Council does not monitor and cannot comment on real estate market conditions or market trends or other matters outside its mandate.

 

Response Time

The Council responds to media requests as promptly as possible: a communications staff member will make efforts to respond to factual requests within 24 hours. When due to the complexity or scope of information requested this is not possible, the Council will inform the journalist of the additional time required to respond.

Unless in conflict with the operational requirements of the Council, media deadlines are to be respected wherever possible.

Interviews are granted subject to the availability of a spokesperson and adequacy of preparation time.

 

News Releases

Communications staff are responsible for the creation and dissemination of all official news releases and advisories as required by the Council.

News releases will be issued as soon as practicable via a news wire service, as well as being posted on the Council’s website or wherever else the Manager of Communications deems appropriate.

News releases must be approved by the Manager of Communications, and, as appropriate, one or more of the Executive Officer and the Director of Legal Services.

 

Anonymous media requests

The Council reserves the right to refuse anonymous media requests.

 

Annual Review of Policy

The Council will review and update, if necessary, this policy on an annual basis or as needed to ensure compliance with changing regulatory requirements.

 

MEDIA REQUESTS

Interview requests and enquiries from the media should be directed to Communications by email at [email protected] or by phone at 604-683-9664.

Show/Hide AnswerPublication Policy on Hearings, Alternative Complaint Dispositions and Licence Conditions

Effective September 11, 2018

The Council’s Publication Bylaw sets out what will be published regarding hearings, alternative complaint dispositions and licence conditions. Any publication has to be in accordance with the provisions of the Real Estate Services Act and any other applicable legislation, as well as the Real Estate Services Regulation, the Superintendent’s Rules and Council policies.

 

Section 4.3 of the Real Estate Services Regulation states that orders required to be published under section 47 of the Real Estate Services Act must be published by placing a copy on the Council’s website (www.recbc.ca) and, in addition, may be published by any method the Council considers appropriate. This policy is made in accordance with the Regulation and the Publication Bylaw.

 

Publication of Notices of Hearing

Unless the hearing committee orders otherwise, disciplinary, compensation and qualification hearings are open to the public and Notices of Hearing are published on the Council’s website.

 

The Notice of Hearing posting includes:

  • The respondent’s/claimant’s/applicant’s name;
  • Date, time and place of the hearing; and
  • A link to a redacted PDF copy of the hearing notice.
  • The notice will be updated to reflect any changes in the time and place, or any cancellation.

Members of the public, including the media, who wish to attend a hearing should contact the Council in advance of the hearing date in order to confirm that the hearing is proceeding and is open to the public and to ensure there is sufficient room to accommodate all those who wish to attend.

 

Publication of Disciplinary Decisions
Summaries of disciplinary hearing decisions and consent orders are posted in the Disciplinary Decisions section of the Council’s website.

 

Each summary includes:

  • The licensee’s name;
  • Name and location of current brokerage (if currently licensed);
  • Name and location of the licensee’s related brokerage at the time of the sanctioned activity;
  • General nature of the charges;
  • Discipline ordered; and
  • A link to a PDF of the disciplinary hearing decision or consent order, redacted as necessary to protect third party information. If none of the allegations in a Notice of Hearing are proven at the hearing (“no liability”), any information in the decision that would identify the licensee will be redacted, unless the licensee agrees to its publication.

 

Discipline summaries are posted on the Council’s website for the applicable publication period:

  • Decisions where no liability is found are posted for a period of two years and then removed.
  • Licence reprimands and/or fines of less than 20% of the maximum fine limit [including those with multiple sanctions (e.g. courses, licence restrictions, etc.)] are posted for a period of five years and then removed.
  • Licence suspensions of less than one year and/or fines from 20% to 99% of the maximum fine limit [including those with multiple sanctions (e.g. courses, licence restrictions, etc.)] are posted for a period of ten years and then removed.
  • Licence suspensions of one year or greater and/or the maximum fines [including those with multiple sanctions (e.g. courses, licence restrictions, etc.)] are posted in perpetuity.
  • Licence cancellations are posted in perpetuity.

Orders in urgent circumstances and orders to freeze property are posted in perpetuity or until the order is rescinded.

For the duration of the applicable publication period, a link to the summary of the disciplinary decision appears as part of the licensee’s record in the online Licensee Search section of the Council’s website (unless no liability was found).

 

The Council also publishes the full (redacted) text of all disciplinary hearing decisions and consent orders on the Canadian Legal Information Institute website (canlii.org), an internet legal research database that is accessible to the public. Disciplinary decisions are not removed from the CanLII website and they remain available for public viewing in perpetuity on the CanLII website.

 

Publication of Licence Surrenders
Publication of a licence surrender and the disciplinary allegations are posted in perpetuity on the Council’s website, and include a statement that there has been no disciplinary hearing, no admission by the licensee, and no findings of fact.

 

Publication of Licence Conditions and Restrictions
The Council publishes on its website, as part of the licensee search results page, any licence conditions or restrictions currently appearing on the licence of an individual or brokerage, other than conditions or restrictions whose publication would constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy, or which would involve the publication of extremely sensitive personal information.

 

Publication of Qualification and Compensation Hearing Decisions

Qualification and compensation hearing decisions will be posted on the Council’s website. Personal and third party information will be redacted. Summaries will also be posted on the Council’s website regarding the nature of the issues and the hearing committee’s decision.

 

Summaries and decisions are posted for a period of 5 years and then removed.

 

Alternative Complaint Disposition
Anonymous summaries of complaints that were closed without disciplinary action, including by administrative penalties or other alternative means of disposition, may be published on the Council’s website and such other places the Council considers appropriate for the education of licensees and the public.

 

Summaries are posted for a period of 5 years and then removed from the website.

 

Use by Third Parties
While the summaries of decisions are posted on the Council’s website and removed in accordance with the Council’s policy, third parties, such as internet search engines, media outlets and private individuals, often index and/or copy the summaries for the purposes of reposting on other websites, or making the information available through internet searches.

 

The Council does not control the availability of Council decisions on other websites, or the duration of any search engine’s reporting of disciplinary decisions.

 

The Council is not responsible for the decisions of third parties to make content from the Council’s website available for public viewing for periods longer than that set by Council policy. This also applies to news stories based on Council decisions, which a media outlet may choose to post online and make permanently available to the public.

 

Other Publication
The Council publishes summaries of decisions resulting from a disciplinary hearing or consent order, and licence surrenders, in its Report from Council newsletters. Each issue of the Report from Council newsletter is archived on the Council’s website. Therefore, summaries of disciplinary decisions and licence surrenders published in the Report from Council remain available for public viewing in perpetuity. The online archive begins with the February 2004 issue of the newsletter.

 

Other Methods of Publication
The Council may issue a media release, place a paid advertisement in an appropriate media outlet, and/or use other methods of publication and notification when it determines that such actions would be in the public interest, such as in the event of a lengthy suspension, large fine, licence cancellation, order in urgent circumstances, or order to freeze property.

 

Redaction
The full text of decisions resulting from a hearing or consent order, and Notices of Hearing, are made available on the Council’s website through a link to the PDF document. Where necessary, these documents are redacted to remove certain information before posting online. Commonly redacted information includes:

  • Names and contact details of third parties;
  • Bank account details of both individuals and businesses; and
  • Property addresses or other property identifiers.

Show/Hide AnswerReconsideration of Administrative Penalties

Effective July 10, 2018

POLICY GOAL

To create an efficient, transparent and fair process for licensees seeking to have a Notice of Administrative Penalty (“AP Notice”) reconsidered by the Council.

 

SCOPE

This policy applies where a licensee wishes to have an AP Notice reconsidered by the Council.

 

POLICY STATEMENT

The Council will cancel an administrative penalty imposed in an AP Notice if a licensee establishes a due diligence defence through the procedure set out in this policy.

 

PROCEDURE

Where a licensee who has received an AP Notice wishes the Council to reconsider issuing the AP Notice, the licensee may write to Council within 14 days of service of the AP Notice and provide a written explanation of how the licensee exercised due diligence to prevent the rule contravention(s) at issue in the AP Notice (hereafter referred to as a “Reconsideration Request”).

The licensee’s Reconsideration Request should address how the licensee exercised due diligence (i.e. took reasonable steps or precautions) to prevent the rule contravention(s) at issue in the AP Notice. For example, a brokerage may be able to show due diligence by explaining that it had written policies and procedures in place that, if followed, would have prevented the rule contravention from occurring, and that employees and licensees of the brokerage received training on those policies and procedures. Similarly, a licensee may be able to show due diligence by explaining that she was aware of the need to comply with the rule, and had a regular practice for complying with the rule, but that due to circumstances beyond her control she was unable to follow that practice or to prevent the rule contravention from occurring in this particular case.

Reconsideration Requests may be considered by one of the following:

  • Legal Counsel, Compliance
  • Manager, Compliance
  • Manager, Legal Services
  • Manager, Accounting and Audit
  • Director, Legal Services
  • Director, Accounting and Audit
  • Executive Officer
  • Such other person as to whom Council has delegated the appropriate authority

The person considering the Reconsideration Request must not be the same person who issued the AP Notice.

The person hearing the Reconsideration Request may:

  • Cancel the administrative penalty imposed in the AP Notice, if satisfied that the licensee exercised due diligence to prevent the rule contravention(s) at issue in the AP Notice; or
  • Confirm the AP Notice, in which case the administrative penalty imposed in the AP Notice will immediately become due and payable to the Council.

Where a licensee fails to submit a Reconsideration Request within 14 days of service of the AP Notice, the licensee will be deemed to have acknowledged committing the rule contravention(s) at issue in the AP Notice, and the administrative penalty imposed in the AP Notice will become due and payable to the Council.

 

REFERENCES

Show/Hide AnswerRelicensing Education Policy Statement: Licence Reinstatement

Revised February 26, 2013

POLICY FOR REINSTATEMENT OF A LICENCE

Section 2-8.1 of the Rules requires that education be completed as a condition of relicensing.

 

2-8.1 Educational requirements for licence renewal

  1. This section applies to a licence renewal that takes effect on or after January 1, 2009.
  2. In order to have a licence renewed, an applicant for licence renewal must
    1. have completed the applicable continuing education courses respecting the real estate services and the level of licence in relation to which the application is made, and
    2. have passed the examinations corresponding to those courses prior to the date the licence is renewed.

In order to ensure that all licensees are treated equitably with respect to the Relicensing Education Program (REP) requirements, relicensing education requirements also apply to individuals applying for licensing whose licence has become inoperative, suspended, or has been voluntarily surrendered. The resulting policy is detailed accordingly.

 

Reinstatement Applicants (within licence period)

Reinstatement applicants applying for a licence are not required to complete REP requirements in order to reinstate their licence.

 

Re-licensing Applicants within their Requalification Date (after previous licence has expired)

Re-Licensing applicants who are applying for a licence and have been licensed for any period of time after January 1, 2007 are required to complete one applicable Legal Update course.

 

Re-Licensing Applicants after their Requalification Date(after previous licence has expired)

Re-Licensing applicants who are past their requalification date are required to fulfill the requirements of relicensing set out in the Council’s Representative’s Education Requalification Date Policy and/or the Broker’s Education Requalification Date Policy detailed in the Council’s Education and Waivers Guidelines booklet and are not required to complete any REP requirements. 

Show/Hide AnswerSocial Media Policy Statement

Effective April 10, 2018

 

POLICY GOAL

Communicating with the public through carefully selected social media channels provides an opportunity to convey information to vast online networks about the actions, initiatives and services of the Council.

Like traditional mainstream media (e.g. print and broadcast), social media is a powerful medium. It creates opportunities for the Council to engage in dialogue through modern technology with diverse communities that it would not otherwise reach through traditional channels.

 

POLICY STATEMENT

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the Council develops and manages a social media presence that accurately reflects the mandate of the Council, maintains the integrity of the Council’s brand, and builds awareness of the Council’s role in protecting the public.

This policy also outlines the type of content that the Council posts to its social media channels, and describes the approval process to ensure the Council is at all times protected.

 

SCOPE

This policy applies to Council members, Council committee members, employees, consultants, and any other individual representing or doing work for the Council.

 

DEFINITIONS

Social Media: Any facility or online platform that allows for participants with distinct social/user profiles to create, share and interact with user-generated content, which can include text, images, video and audio. It includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter);
  • Video and photo sharing websites (e.g. Instagram, YouTube);
  • Blogs (including corporate blogs, personal blogs and comments);
  • Online forums and discussion boards;
  • Online encyclopaedias (e.g. Wikipedia); and
  • Any platform that arises after the adoption of this policy.

 

Confidential Information: This includes, but is not limited to: unpublished facts, investigations, reports, projects, financial information and research.

 

Official Accounts: An official Social Media account is one that is clearly identified as representing the Council. These are distinct from the personal accounts of individuals employed by the Council, Council members or individuals who serve as volunteer or co-op students with the Council.

 

PROCEDURE

Authorized Users

Only designated employees within the Council’s Communications department are authorized to post content on the Council’s Official Accounts.

 

Content on Official Accounts

  • Messages posted to Official Accounts must be consistent with the Council Media Relations Policy, the Council Privacy Policy, the overall position of the Council and with other online and printed sources of information we provide.
  • Messages posted to Official Accounts must be factually correct, up-to-date, and presented in a professional manner.
  • Messages posted to Official Accounts must not include Confidential Information.
  • Messages posted to Official Accounts should be focused on delivering value to licensees and consumers, and on building awareness of the Council’s role as a public protection agency.
  • Content generated by the Council may include:
    • Announcements of upcoming Council events, publications and releases of information
    • Links to new web content that deliver valuable knowledge to licensees and consumers
    • Factual information about the real estate profession in BC or the Council
    • Notable disciplinary decisions
    • Orders in urgent circumstances
    • Public advisory notices
  • Content generated by third parties may include:
    • Articles published in mainstream media where the Council is mentioned and the regulatory mandate is clearly evident
    • Media releases and/or content from established stakeholders (government, BCREA, PAMA, UBC Sauder School of Business, CHOA, boards)
    • Thank you messages (where appropriate)
    • Responses to inquiries or comments from consumers (where appropriate)
  • Where relevant, postings should include links to materials on the Council’s website.

 

Social Media as a Source of Official Policy

Information posted to Official Accounts should not be considered as the authoritative source of guidance from the Council. Please refer to the Council’s website for official updates.

 

Council Logo

The Council logo can only be used on Official Accounts.

Under no circumstances should the Council logo be used on any personal Social Media account. The Council does recognize that when individuals re-tweet or “like” postings on the Official Accounts, the Council’s website, or an official LinkedIn account the Council logo may at that point appear on the individual’s posting. This is an acceptable use of the Council logo.

 

Follows, Likes, Retweets and Shares

The Council may follow and “like” social media accounts from its partners, stakeholders, government, members of the media or individuals. Please note that being followed or liked by the Council does not imply endorsement of any kind.

The Council occasionally retweets, comments on or shares content that it deems of value to its audience. None of these actions should be interpreted as an endorsement of the originator, the content they post or of any organization the content refers to.

 

Responding to Social Media Inquiries

The Council monitors and moderates our Official Accounts. We post and respond to posts or comments during regular business hours. We endeavour to read and respond to comments, @tweets, direct messages, etc. within one business day of receiving it. The Council is not able to reply individually to all messages it receives via its Official Accounts.

The Council does not share opinions or information unrelated to the Council’s mandate, and uses its discretion in determining whether or not to participate in conversations.

The Council does not post questions from the media or answer media questions via Social Media. We ask members of the media to send questions to the Council through the normal channels.

The Council does not accept complaints or tips about licensees via Social Media. Please visit the complaints page to make a formal complaint.

 

Content Removal

The Council reserves the right to report and/or block anyone who posts inappropriate material, as determined by the Council, on Social Media.

The Council also reserves the right to remove from view comments on Official Accounts that are deemed by the Council to be:

  • Offensive, profane, hateful, insulting, rude, abusive, aggressive, violent, obscene, explicit, pornographic or sexual comments;
  • Content that promotes, fosters or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, age, creed, gender, marital status, socio-economic status, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation;
  • Personal attacks and/or defamatory statements;
  • Serious, unproven, unsupported, or inaccurate accusations;
  • Messages for advertising/marketing purposes;
  • Messages that conduct or encourage illegal activity;
  • Messages that impersonate or misrepresent someone else;
  • Comments containing spam or posted by anonymous or robot accounts; and
  • Unintelligible messages.

 

Annual Review of Policy

The Council will review and update, if necessary, this policy on an annual basis or as needed to ensure compliance with changing regulatory requirements.

 

MEDIA REQUESTS

Interview requests and enquiries from the media should be directed to Communications by email at [email protected] or by phone at 604-683-9664.