Council Member Profile: Rob Gialloreto
Rob Gialloreto is the Vice-Chair of the Real Estate Council of BC, and the CEO of Consumer Protection BC, which promotes a fair marketplace for BC consumers and businesses. Consumer Protection BC is a not-for-profit corporation that regulates a number of industries, including home inspectors, and oversees consumer education, business licensing and investigations, among other areas.
Before joining Consumer Protection BC in 2013, Rob headed Tourism Victoria and Travel Alberta International and served as a senior manager with the City of Calgary. Rob holds a Master’s degree in business from Springfield College and an undergraduate degree in education from McGill University. Most recently, Rob was the recipient of two international awards from Business Worldwide: Best CEO Non-Profit Organization, Canada, and Visionary CEO of the Year, Canada.
Learn more about Council members.
Appointment of Executive Officer
Erin Seeley has been appointed as the Council’s new Executive Officer. Erin has been the Council’s Acting Executive Officer since the retirement of Robert Fawcett in October 2016. She is a talented senior leader with a wealth of experience, having served most recently as Executive Director of the Immigration Programs Branch in the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training, where she was responsible for the strategic direction and operations of BC’s immigration programs.
Erin will be focusing on leading change within the Council in order to effectively deliver on the reforms called for by the Independent Advisory Group (IAG), to restore public confidence in the oversight of the real estate industry and ensure that regulation of real estate is effective, transparent and fair.
Progress Report on Independent Advisory Group Recommendations Published
On June 30, 2017 the Council submitted its first report to government on the progress towards implementation of the recommendations from the Independent Advisory Group. Now the Council is making that report public, in order to share the many changes underway with licensees and members of the public.
The report provides highlights of significant activities up to March 31, 2017, including:
- Raising entry standards by increasing the required passing grade for all licensing exams and Applied Practice Course assessments to 70%.
- Increasing the transparency of its disciplinary processes and the outcomes.
- Improving public access to the complaints and discipline process by publishing notices of hearings on the Council’s website.
- Increasing monitoring of consumer protection issues by establishing a Consumer Protection Issues Identification team.
- Improving public reporting of licensee misconduct by approving plans for confidential reporting channels, including a 1-800 line and secure online tip form.
The Council recognizes that making meaningful changes to enhance consumer protection and increase public confidence requires significant investments of time, resources and energy. The Council is committed to continuing to make these investments, and to continuing to prioritize the work of implementing the IAG recommendations.
We look forward to continuing to provide updates on our progress. Your feedback about the initiatives highlighted in the report is welcome: contact us [email protected].
Read our Progress Report on Enhancing Protection for Real Estate Consumers in BC.
Changes to Language Proficiency Requirements: September 1
Earlier this summer the Council announced a change to the language proficiency requirements for new licensing course students. As of September 1, students enrolled in licensing courses must meet a more comprehensive standard of English proficiency. Students must demonstrate their competence at reading, writing, speaking and listening in English by achieving a level 7 on the four components of the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program – General (CELPIP) test.
Why was this change needed?
Language proficiency is an essential skill for real estate practitioners. A real estate licensee’s ability to communicate verbally and in writing with consumers and other licensees is critical for the delivery of competent services. As part of the Council’s mandate to protect the public interest, it requires all students to demonstrate proficiency in English before they register for a licensing examination.
How did the Council choose the level of proficiency required?
The Council consulted with industry stakeholders and with its partners in education on the language proficiency standards required for competent practice in real estate. Our review identified the level at which real estate licensees must be able to communicate verbally with others in workplace situations, to understand spoken English, and to interpret and respond to written English materials. The CELPIP test measures competency in each of these areas.
Are there exemptions?
Licensing students are eligible for exemptions from the requirement to complete the CELPIP test if they have:
- graduated from a recognized university degree program at an accredited university, college or technical institute at which English is the primary language of instruction, or
- already hold a real estate licence in another Canadian jurisdiction and have satisfied the language requirement in that jurisdiction.
For more information, see:
Council Adopts Abeyance Policy
At its June 2017 meeting, the Council approved an “abeyance policy” for disciplinary proceedings. The policy, which is posted online along with other Council policies, allows licensees under investigation by the Council to request that the Council’s process be paused, or held in abeyance, because of a civil or criminal trial underway on the same matter. The Council can agree to temporarily put an investigation into a licensee’s conduct on hold while there are parallel proceedings in another forum.
The Council retains the discretion to end an abeyance at any point, and to proceed immediately with our investigation when the available information no longer justifies the abeyance.
Learn more: Abeyance Policy
New Council Committee Remuneration Bylaw
At its June 2017 meeting, Council approved a remuneration bylaw, which took effect July 1, 2017. The bylaw simplifies the system of compensation for Council members and non-Council members who sit on disciplinary hearing committees and other Council committees. Under the new bylaw, Council members and non-Council members will now be paid at the same rate.
Previously, some non-Council members were paid for participating on hearing committees and at Council committee meetings, while others participated as unpaid volunteers.
Read the Remuneration Bylaw here: section 3-8, Remuneration and expenses for council committee members.
Strata and Rental Property Management News
Tenants and Personal Information: Know the Law
Earlier this month, BC’s Information and Privacy Commissioner announced that his office would be conducting an investigation into the collection and use of personal information by landlords and rental property managers. The investigation was prompted by an increasing number of complaints from prospective tenants who have been asked for sensitive personal information – such as medical records, T4 slips, or bank statements.
Rental property managers must adhere to the privacy rules of the BC Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). Licensees are reminded to familiarize themselves with the privacy guidelines from the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. In May 2017, the commissioner published an FAQ on the privacy guidelines to assist landlords and rental property managers to meet their obligations in a manner that respects the privacy of tenants and prospective tenants.
Think you know the answers to these questions? Check out the Privacy Guidance for Landlords and Tenants FAQ to be sure!
- What personal information can landlords request from prospective tenants?
- Can a landlord request a credit report from a tenant?
- Can a landlord require a tenant’s banking information?
- Can a landlord request to check a tenant’s criminal record?
- Can a landlord use a tenant’s personal information to collect an unpaid debt?
The results of the investigation into practices by landlords and rental property managers will be published on the OIPC website.
For more information or to ask questions about the OIPC privacy guidelines, contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
Get on the List
Strata managers looking for simple ways to keep their skills sharp and their knowledge current can take advantage of a new resource: the decisions issued by the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). By subscribing to the CRT’s mailing list, you will receive an email notification each time a new decision is posted to the tribunal’s website.
Reading through CRT decisions will help you to:
- give the best advice to your clients,
- assist your clients to develop protocols to ensure compliance with the Strata Properties Act (SPA), and help them to avoid conflicts that could end up at the CRT, and
- inform your strata corporation clients about the services to expect from a strata management licensee.
But remember – while reviewing CRT decisions can be a great way to stay current on the requirements of the SPA and to learn how to avoid offside conduct, it is not legal advice. Whenever clients encounter issues that are outside of your expertise as a licensee, recommend that they seek expert professional advice.