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Real estate regulators across Canada: How the industry works by province or territory

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Covering nearly 10 million square kilometres, each of Canada’s different provinces and territories has its own set of rules, regulations and legislation, in countless areas. Real estate is no exception.

A real estate regulator is an independent organization that is given the role of administering and enforcing their respective province or territory’s Real Estate Act. These organizations operate throughout the country, from the West Coast to the Maritimes.

Here’s our guide to some of the different real estate regulators across the country.

 

British Columbia

 

Number of agents: 26,000+

Regulator: BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA)

Key takeaways: 

  • Dual agency, sometimes referred to as double-end deals, is where an agent represents both the seller and buyer. Due to the risk involved, dual agency is not permitted in B.C., except in the case of properties in extremely remote or rural locations.
  • All licensed real estate agents must renew their license every two years, the date dependent on each individual agent.

 

Alberta

 

Number of agents: 12,500+

Regulator: Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA)

Key takeaways: 

  • All real estate licenses expire on September 30 of each year.
  • RECA has a “Good Character Policy” in place as part of its licensing requirements. While the province’s Real Estate Act does not explicitly define “good character”, RECA considers it to include characteristics such as moral strength, integrity, empathy and honesty.

 

Saskatchewan

 

Number of agents: 1,650

Regulator: Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission (SREC)

Key takeaways: 

As of January 1, 2024, changes were made to SREC’s education model. Previously, agents were able to trade in all three categories — residential, commercial and farm — after completing the standard coursework. Now, agents must complete two phases of coursework, Phase 1 – Real Estate as a Professional Career and Phase 2 – Residential Real Estate as a Professional Career, to become registered.

 

Manitoba

 

Number of agents: 2,400+

Regulator: Manitoba Securities Commission

Key takeaways: 

  • The province saw major change in 2022 when the new Real Estate Services Act and Real Estate Services Regulation replaced the Real Estate Brokers Act (REBA), which had been the law since 1947.
  • The implementation of the new Real Estate Services Act is part of the province’s efforts to modernize: one example is the current ongoing changes to its investigation process.

 

Ontario

 

Number of agents: 105,000+

Regulator: Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO)

Key takeaways: 

  • Unlike B.C., multiple representation (or dual agency) is permitted in Ontario — but only if each of the clients involved agrees. It’s recommended to seek professional advice first.
  • As part of RECO’s complaint process, while they are given the power to take certain actions (such as administrative steps or prosecution pursuit), they cannot order monies to be refunded, contracts to be canceled or damages or restitution to be awarded to complainants. 

 

Quebec

 

Number of agents: 17,000+

Regulator: Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ)

Key takeaways: 

  • In Quebec, regulators conduct annual inspections to confirm that their registered brokerages are properly using the required forms, created by OACIQ and approved by Quebec’s finance minister.
  • A real estate broker in Quebec is required to present their client with all the properties available on the market that meet their criteria. In addition, they must provide reasons for not presenting them with certain properties. 

 

Nova Scotia 

 

Number of agents: 1,900+

Regulator: Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission 

Key takeaways: 

  • As per the province’s Advertising Guidelines, agents can only operate a brokerage under a company name.
  • Every real estate license expires on June 30 at midnight following the date of issuance.

 

Prince Edward Island

 

Number of agents: Approximately 250

Regulator: Government of Prince Edward Island

Key takeaways:

In PEI, there is a distinction between a real estate salesperson and a real estate agent. The cost of a salesperson is less than that of an agent, but a salesperson needs to be employed, appointed or authorized by an agent.

 

New Brunswick

 

Number of agents: 1,000+

Regulator: New Brunswick Real Estate Association (NBREA)

Key takeaways:

NBREA co-regulates the province’s real estate sector alongside the Financial and Consumer Services Commission.

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

 

Number of agents: 500+

Regulator: Digital Government and Service NL

Key takeaways:

A relatively new practice in the province, the Real Estate Trust Account Dispute Resolution is an online form/process that has been set up for buyers and/or sellers to address concerns.

 

Yukon

 

Number of agents: Approximately 40 or less

Regulator: Government of Yukon 

Key takeaways: 

Yukon, the only Canadian territory in this guide, is regulated by its government. Applying for a real estate license involves an online process; other professionals such as chiropractors, nurses and insurance agents also follow a similar process.

 

Northwest Territories

 

Number of agents: Approximately 100

Regulator: Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA)

Key takeaways:

The Northwest Territories is governed by the Real Estate Agents’ Licensing Act, and MACA’s Consumer Affairs division licenses real estate salespeople and agents.

 


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