The last year in real estate was one to remember. The Ontario Real Estate Association was at the forefront of some big issues affecting Ontario Realtors, the real estate industry and most importantly, Ontario’s homeowners and those wishing to join their ranks.
Looking back on my year as OREA’s 2018 president, there are many accomplishments that make me proud to be an Ontario Realtor. But if I had to choose, these are my top five:
The rules governing Ontario Realtors are badly out of date, which is impacting our professional standards. Last year, OREA fought hard to modernize REBBA, the legislation that governs Realtors in Ontario. We lobbied for a full review of the Act and engaged thousands of members in a conversation about the future of the profession.
Our REBBA Review Taskforce shared 37 recommendations with the provincial government that, if implemented, would raise the bar on education, strengthen professional standards, allow for personal real estate corporations, create a speciality licensing class, and hold those who break the rules to the highest level of discipline. This January, we heard the great news – after years of knocking, the Ontario government opened the door for REBBA reform and a review is officially underway.
Housing Supply Action Plan:
The dream of home ownership is slipping away for thousands of young families, due to lack of supply, mortgage stress tests and slowly rising interest rates. In 2018, we launched our Keep the Dream Alive campaign, urging governments at all levels to make home affordability a priority by tackling the housing supply crisis. In response, the provincial government launched its Housing Supply Action Plan, inviting OREA to be a key advisor. This plan will lay the ground work to increase housing supply and lower taxes to create a new generation of homeowners.
Our forms team spends every day ensuring that the most important tool in your Realtor tool box – Standard Forms – are kept up-to-date for you and your clients. In 2018, we ramped up our Standard Forms and Clauses Update presentations, setting up in-person talks at local boards and associations and hosting more webinars to give members direct access to our experts. We even launched a new forms resource called Practical Guidance Mini Series Tutorials to provide members with tips on using OREA forms. In doing so, we were able to connect with thousands of members, providing resources to support them in their day-to-day businesses.
The Peak Leadership Summit:
At OREA, we put a big focus on developing our leaders and volunteers to become some of the strongest in the country. That’s why we hosted the Peak Leadership Summit – a two-day learning and networking event with a focus on advancing leadership skills. Strong leadership at the provincial and local levels better positions real estate boards and associations to respond and anticipate changes affecting the profession. So, we expanded the event this year and doubled our attendance, opening it up to staff leaders and volunteers from boards and associations across the province for the first time ever.
It’s important to be prepared to take on the challenges that face our profession, and we’re looking forward to continuing to support the leaders that work hard for our members.
Last year, we gave our members many opportunities to connect with industry professionals. We started the year off with a bang, with more than 900 Realtors attending our first-ever REALiTY Conference in February. It brought together some of the biggest disruptors and trailblazers for three days of information downloading, and an unvarnished, clear-eyed and bold examination of the biggest issues confronting Canadian real estate today. We kept the momentum going and finished off the year with the Ontario Realtor Party Conference (ORPC) – OREA’s annual political affairs conference that hosted an unmatched line-up of political heavyweights, insiders, government officials and all four provincial party leaders. These conferences gave members the chance to connect over issues impacting the real estate landscape, and we’re looking forward to hosting more in 2019.
With a new year comes a fresh start – a chance to do even better, push even harder. I couldn’t think of a better person to lead you in your pursuit of building stronger communities than 2018 OREA President-elect, Karen Cox. You’re in great hands, and I look forward to seeing what we all accomplish, together, in 2019.