September 30, 2011 isn't just the deadline for all Alberta real estate, mortgage brokerage and real estate appraisal professionals to renew their licensing or registration with the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA), it is the eve of a new strategic direction for RECA. RECA’s 2011-2016 Strategic Plan will usher in an era of greater professionalism, higher standards and a greater focus on putting the "self" back into "self-regulation."
RECA's new strategic direction centres on five critical success factors, against which all RECA initiatives will be evaluated.
These Critical Success Factors include:
- Advance professionalism of the industry by establishing a clear definition of self-regulation and working with industry professionals to take ownership for and understanding of self-regulation by supporting and promoting responsible and accountable professional behaviour.
- Provide innovative, leading-edge career preparation and training; resulting in highly competent and highly valued new industry professionals.
- Promote quality standards and continuous performance improvement by establishing a professional code of conduct, delivering ongoing professional development, conducting and ensuring transparent, timely and fair practice reviews and solutions, and providing advisory services.
- Build awareness and appreciation for RECA’s self-regulatory value proposition and brand contribution.
- Ensure RECA has the capacity to achieve its vision of excellence in self-regulation by providing the necessary resources, technology, policies and regulatory framework.
What does this mean for me?
With the new Real Estate Act Rules in 2006, a revised Real Estate Act in 2008, and the implementation of transaction brokerage and designated agency (also in 2008), Alberta industry members have had five years of significant changes in their industry, and though RECA's new strategic direction has a number of initiatives to improve the business of industry professionals and the concept of consumer protection, industry members shouldn't expect drastic changes in their day-to-day business practices.
RECA will be looking to Alberta industry members to be active participants in the concept of self-regulation, to be fully engaged in their industry, with their peers and consumers, and to be the standard by which all real estate, mortgage and real estate appraisal industry professionals should be measured.
To support their renewed commitment to effective self-regulation, RECA will launch a number of initiatives for industry members that will improve the strength and reputation of Alberta's real estate industry and its dedicated professionals. Among other things, these initiatives will include:
- Implementation of a Voluntary Broker Resolution Process (VBRP), which provides brokers and other industry members with the opportunity to resolve disputes with clients or customers on their own, prior to any formal investigation process being launched by RECA (the VBRP can, in some circumstances, also be suggested after an investigation has been commenced).
- Adding a practice advisor to the staff at RECA to provide confidential, practice-related advice to industry professionals;
- Launching a mentorship program for new entrants to the real estate and mortgage brokerage industry, to ensure that new industry members are competent, highly trained and ethical;
- Implementation of a certified technology program, through which RECA will highlight technological initiatives, devices and/or programs that will assist industry members in their support of self-regulation, regulatory compliance, and quality standards within the industry; and,
- Development of an online “Professional Standards Manual” for practitioners, incorporating information relevant to the practice of real estate and mortgage brokerages.
As these – and many other – new initiatives come to fruition, RECA remains committed to ongoing cooperation and communication with industry members in all sectors of practice, and with related industry associations and organizations. RECA will seek out every opportunity to meet face-to-face with industry members and invite you to contact us with your questions, concerns and suggestions. In the next five years, we will build on our industry’s already strong foundation, but it will require the dedication and support of all industry members as we work together to increase professionalism and put the “self” back in “self-regulation.”
How will you improve professionalism and self-regulation within your own business practice?