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Letter to the Editor: When it comes to ORWP, embracing change is for the greater good

Editor’s note:

 

In the interest of safeguarding the author’s well-being and preserving an open environment for diverse opinions, we have chosen to publish the following letter anonymously. We would like to assure our readers that the author’s identity has been thoroughly verified. The author is a respected veteran realtor within their community and is not currently serving on a board or in an elected position.

 

The decision to withhold the author’s identity was made to protect them from potential harassment or backlash that has unfortunately been experienced by some contributors, allowing the focus to remain on the content of the letter rather than the author’s identity.

 

At Real Estate Magazine, we value and encourage open discussion; we also believe in providing a safe space for  voices to be heard. 

 

Throughout my 38 years as a realtor, I’ve witnessed countless heated debates in our industry. Having served as a two-time past president of my local association and getting involved in local politics, I’ve definitely faced resistance to change from friends and colleagues.

I still remember the intense backlash we received when introducing the Data Distribution Facility (DDF). People were furious, claiming we were “giving away their data.” Of course, as time went on, fellow realtors realized that the DDF actually gave us more control over our data, and now it’s just standard practice.

When I came across OREA’s initiative to create a benefits program for all members, particularly the Ontario Realtor Wellness Program (ORWP), it stirred up much controversy, especially on social media.

When I first heard about the plan, I wasn’t supportive either. I thought it was redundant since I already had benefits through my wife, a retired teacher. But my perspective changed after digging into the details and speaking with former TRREB President Kevin Crigger, who helped create the plan.

I became a proponent of the plan once I realized that the ORWP would complement my existing coverage. It’s not just about me; I see the value it brings to our profession. Many across the province who previously lacked coverage will now have access to various benefits, including my son, who lacks any coverage.

Sure, I understand some aren’t thrilled that the ORWP is mandatory, and they’d prefer the option to opt-out. But practically speaking, for it to be an affordable group plan, everyone needs to participate.

Considering their extensive services, I’ve always believed that OREA’s annual dues were good value. Now, with the benefits plan coming at a cost that’s less than what most of us spend at Starbucks or Tim Hortons in a year, it’s evident that we’re getting excellent value for our money.

In my many years of selling homes and cottages, I’ve come to love the people in this profession. I know we realtors are fiercely independent, and that’s probably why there’s some pushback against the ORWP. But I really wish some critics could be more constructive in their feedback towards the volunteers who worked hard on this plan. After all, they’re realtors like the rest of us, volunteers who genuinely want to support their colleagues and raise our professional standards.

It’s never pleasant to be yelled at while trying to do good; I’ve experienced it myself. So my advice to fellow realtors is to take the time to read up on the ORWP. Ask questions, voice concerns, and seek clarity— it’s your right. I did it, and despite my initial reservations, I believe it’s a good plan.

Looking ahead, OREA’s planning an extensive communications campaign, and it would be great to have as many in-person meetings as possible. Zoom fatigue is real, and meaningful conversations are more likely to happen face-to-face. We excel at selling, so let’s use that skill to communicate effectively.

Doing the right thing isn’t always popular, at least in the short run. But I genuinely believe the ORWP is right for us, and it’ll have a lasting, positive impact on realtors in Ontario.

 

 

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