The past few months have highlighted a serious issue that is endemic, and which requires urgent attention. It is tragic that this awareness has come at the high price of lives lost, great sorrow and anger.
The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) believes in a fair real estate market for all, one that is free of racism, discrimination and hate. We take this issue very seriously.
RECO, like all Canadian real estate regulators, administers the law in the public’s interest.
The Code of Ethics under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 places the following obligations on registrants regarding fairness, honesty, abuse and harassment, along with a duty to ensure compliance:
- A registrant shall treat every person the registrant deals with in the course of a trade in real estate fairly, honestly and with integrity. O. Reg. 580/05, s. 3.
- A registrant shall not, in the course of trading in real estate, engage in any act or omission that, having regard to all of the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded as disgraceful, dishonourable, unprofessional or unbecoming a registrant. O. Reg. 580/05, s. 39.
- A registrant shall not abuse or harass any person in the course of trading in real estate. O. Reg. 580/05, s. 40.
- A brokerage shall ensure that every salesperson and broker that the brokerage employs is carrying out their duties in compliance with this Regulation. O. Reg. 580/05, s. 41 (1).
RECO, and I would suggest all Canadian real estate regulators, believe salespersons, brokerages and organized real estate as a whole must actively engage to effect meaningful change to support a real estate market free of racism and discrimination. We encourage registrants to raise concerns of this nature with their broker/brokerage and alert them if they, or who they are representing, experience unfair treatment.
Though disciplinary action can act as a deterrent for some, it is equally if not of greater importance to educate registrants on the importance of reporting and addressing improper behaviour. Salespersons and brokers must hold their industry colleagues accountable, and brokerages play an important role in holding their employees accountable for their actions.
Given the importance of understanding, learning and education, RECO is reviewing the resources and education it offers and looking to launch the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) Call It Out! course as an MCE elective. In the meantime, RECO is inviting all brokerage owners and salespersons to take a leadership role and encourage everyone to take the course, which is publicly available on the OHRC website along with other resources.
As we have seen in the past weeks and months, this is a complex topic and it will take leadership at every level of the industry to do their part to make a difference.
It’s time for change and RECO is committed to continuing the dialogue. It is our mutual responsibility to ensure that we create and maintain a discrimination-free and harassment-free environment.