ANNUAL REPORT 2017
REAL ESTATE BOARD OF GREATER VANCOUVER
The poet Maya Angelou once said, “All great achievements require time.
If you don’t like something, take the time to change it.”
Success doesn’t happen overnight. It requires foresight, cooperation, tenacity, and some luck. In 2017, preparation and opportunity intersected to create changes we’ve been striving to achieve for years.
We partnered with real estate boards across BC and Canada last year to remove barriers that have long hampered our profession. We also worked with senior staff to create a strategic plan that sets a bold new agenda. Our vision is clear. We want to:
Our Board turns 100 next year. We want to create the conditions today for our profession, and our clients, to thrive over the next 100 years.
Changes at BCREA
My proudest achievement as your president occurred at the provincial level.
Every year, you pay dues to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA), and your Board. Last year, we collected $4.2 million in annual national dues from you that we sent to CREA. We collected $3.2 million in annual provincial dues from you and remitted them to BCREA. That means you pay $2.3 million more for combined BCREA/CREA dues than you pay for REBGV dues.
For years, we’ve called on BCREA to eliminate unnecessary spending and focus on its core mandate. The analysis conducted during the Realtors of BC project in 2016, followed by our own financial review of BCREA’s operations, confirmed that BCREA could restructure its funding model and do more with less.
After months of negotiation and analysis, the 11 BC real estate boards and BCREA reached an agreement. In December, BCREA agreed to reduce its annual dues by 38 per cent for every Realtor in BC beginning April 1, 2018. This reduction will save BC Realtors over $2 million a year.
This agreement isn’t just a budget cut. It also calls on BCREA to provide more focus and resources on government advocacy and education — the two provincial services that Realtors value most.
I can’t tell you how excited I am that we, along with our partner boards in the province, were able to achieve these reforms. This is a historic change made possible by the persistence of a lot of people, working on your behalf, over many years.
The Three-Way Agreement
It’s our responsibility, as your elected representatives, to ensure you get full value for the dues you pay at your local, provincial, and national associations.
We’re challenged in meeting this responsibility at the provincial level because of something called the Three-Way Agreement. As members of CREA, this national agreement requires us to be members of BCREA.
We’ve been working with the Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Edmonton real estate boards to create a process that would allow boards to become direct members of CREA without requiring membership in a provincial association.
We’re sensitive to concerns that have been voiced through the course of a national dialogue on this topic. In the main, there are fears that boards, large or small, would immediately abandon their provincial associations in the event the motion is approved. That is not the intent.
Our aim is to keep organized real estate (ORE) in Canada intact. We’re stronger together, as a unified unfractured whole. That does not signify that all three levels of organized real estate may be necessary in all provinces as we move ahead. We also believe we must all be accountable to the Realtors on the street who pay for the three levels. We believe that choice leads to increased accountability – a hallmark of any great profession.
At the upcoming CREA AGM on April 16, elected representatives from the country’s real estate boards and associations will vote to establish a process whereby boards could become direct CREA members if that was their membership’s wish. Such a process would include rigorous requirements, including:
We’re living in an era of significant government intervention. Public pressure from rising home prices and high-profile allegations of Realtor misconduct got us here. Our challenge is to navigate our profession out of this environment with a regulatory environment that protects our clients and makes our profession stronger.
More regulatory changes are coming as the superintendent and Council implement the Independent Advisory Group’s 28 recommendations. Many of you are confused, concerned, and frustrated with the government’s process for creating and implementing new rules. As a Realtor, I share your concerns.
Your board is fighting for you on these issues every day. We’re assessing every opportunity for ways to get your voice heard.
Together with BCREA and the BC real estate boards, we participate on a provincial advocacy steering committee tasked with navigating our advocacy efforts with regard to new rules and interpretations. Our COO Eileen Day and Communication Manager Craig Munn are on that group.
One of the team’s first initiatives was to launch an MLA letter-writing campaign in protest of Council’s interpretation of the new rules around loss of limited dual agency, which would've required Realtors to abandon both sellers and buyers in certain situations.
More than 4,100 Realtors sent letters to their MLAs. The campaign had the desired effect.
The superintendent moved the implementation date for the ban on limited dual agency to June 15 from March 15. He also reacted quickly and met with us to hear our concerns about double recusal. His office recently created rules that outline how licensees can manage representation conflicts and continue to represent one party in a transaction.
These changes were a win for our clients and for us.
We also discussed a better process for developing and announcing future rule changes. He expressed a willingness to work with us to ensure that new rules, interpretations and training reflect how real estate is practised.
There are more rules changes to come. The superintendent has said that he’ll next introduce rules that impact requirements of Brokerages and Managing Brokers. He’s looking at a new code of ethics. He’s also commissioned a study around Realtor education, so there could be other changes yet to come.
I urge all of you to stay engaged. Your support is critical for success.
Despite our frustrations with the government, most Realtors agree that we can improve Realtor professionalism.
At our member breakfast meetings in November, we had open discussions with you about whether we should publish our Professional Conduct Committee decisions for the public to see. Doing so would make our disciplinary process more transparent and would provide a greater disincentive for Realtors to violate the rules of our profession.
We polled members at all six meetings and found that roughly 75 per cent believe we should make our discipline cases public in “extreme cases.”
Our Professional Standards department is now consulting with legal counsel and our Professional Conduct Committee to review what other professions do and to consider any privacy implications of making this change. We’re also defining what constitutes an “extreme case.”
The Board of Directors will review this issue and decide whether to put forward a resolution at next year’s AGM for your vote.
It’s important that you’re aware of how we investigate, prosecute, and discipline members who break the rules. This work is fundamental to the health of our profession. We publish every disciplinary ruling in our newsletter and on www.rebgv.ca for members only.
Usually, disciplinary cases cover a wide range of issues. In 2017 our Professional Conduct Committee made 18 rulings and issued $95,000 in fines. Half of these cases dealt with members delaying showings or offers on MLS®. The other half, except three, addressed lockbox infractions and giving clients unescorted access to listings.
It’s clear that these two issues are causing tension among members. In response, we struck a Rules of Cooperation Task Force with the Fraser Valley and Chilliwack boards.
This group is exploring potential changes to help ensure our clients’ homes are always protected during a showing. It’s also reviewing the practice of delayed showings and offers that’s become common with MLS® listings.
We continue to do regular interviews with the major media outlets across the country. We received 184 media interview requests in 2017. The volume of media requests was down from the nearly 500 interviews requests we received during the previous year’s media storm. Our analysis shows that negative news coverage of our Board and members declined from 22 per cent in 2016 to six per cent of total coverage in 2017.
We employed a variety of other public relations and marketing practices last year to engage and shape public opinion:
The state of Realtor public image in our region continues to be a significant concern. To help us with our efforts, we’ve hired one of the most well-regarded marketing and advertising firms in Vancouver to help us create and implement a robust public image campaign over the next two years.
TREB competition ruling
The Competition Bureau continues to focus on the real estate profession. On December 1, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld a 2016 Competition Tribunal ruling that ordered the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) to allow for the release, via virtual office websites, of sold and pending sold data without the informed consent of consumers.
The Tribunal’s decision concluded that certain aspects of TREB’s virtual office website policy constituted an abuse of dominant position under the federal Competition Act. TREB is seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The high court will decide whether to hear the case later this year.
Our legal counsel is reviewing this case to help us understand any potential implications to our Board and members. While the case is under appeal, we’ll refrain from speculating about the potential outcome or give our opinions about the issues.
We’re keeping a close eye on the case and will provide you with more information as we learn more.
I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed working with our CEO Brad Scott and his talented staff. Brad has dutifully served members of our Board now for 40 years! He’s been central to some of the most significant and shrewdest leadership decisions in our 99-year history. He’s a great leader, a strong advocate for our members, and an outstanding person. On behalf of all members, I’d like to thank him for his years of service.
I’d like to also thank our Board of Directors for their dedication and leadership over the past year. It’s been an honour to serve as your president and I know the Board is poised for another great year with Phil Moore as our next president.
On behalf of the Board of Directors,
Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
2017 / 2018 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
(L-R): Taylor Biggar, RE/MAX Westcoast; Lynn Dequanne, RE/MAX Central (BbyHst); Wendy Hunter, Keller Williams Realty VanCentral; Leslie McDonnell, RE/MAX Select Properties; Brian Friedrich, Med, C.Dir, FCPA, ICD.d, Director; Lisa Morris, RE/MAX Masters Realty; Keith Liedtke, Vice-President, RE/MAX Westcoast ; Jill Oudil, President, Coldwell Banker Westburn Realty; Phil Moore, President-Elect, RE/MAX Central ; Catherine Boivie, PhD, ICD.d, Director; Deborah Spicer, Sutton Group – West Coast Realty; Jennifer Quart, RE/MAX Westcoast; Ashley Smith, Royal Lepage Sussex – Klein Group; Douglas Dang, Amex Broadway West Realty; Dan Morrison, Past President, Royal LePage Sussex; Colette Gerber, Sutton Grp – West Coast (w.blvd); Barb Burrows, MacDonald Commercial R.E. Services