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B.C. creates new Crown agency to regulate real estate industry

Towers of offices and condos continue to rise across the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada skyline on Saturday, September 30, 2017.
Towers of offices and condos continue to rise across the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada skyline on Saturday, September 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Don Denton

The B.C. government has established a single Crown agency tasked with regulating the province’s real estate industry.

The move merges the new BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) with the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) and the Real Estate Council of B.C. (RECBC).

READ MORE: Just 2 years after being restructured, B.C. real estate regulators face new NDP review

The government of former premier Christy Clark ended self-regulation of the real estate industry in 2016, after an independent report into misconduct in the real estate industry and shady practices such as “shadow flipping.”

The NDP government then launched a review of the regulatory system in 2018.

New real estate regulations better protect buyers and sellers
New real estate regulations better protect buyers and sellers

That review, headed by former civil servant Dan Perrin, recommended creating a single office with responsibility for regulating the industry. The Expert Panel on Money Laundering’s May 2019 report echoed that recommendation.

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READ MORE: Reports from independent group looking into shadow flipping tell differing stories

According to the Ministry of Finance, the BCFSA will now be tasked with real estate licensing, conduct, investigations and discipline.

It says the new agency will streamline and modernize regulation, and better monitor the industry for money laundering.

The ministry says the RECBC and OSRE will be integrated within the new agency.

New real estate regulations will ban dual agency
New real estate regulations will ban dual agency

The BCFSA was established on Nov. 1, and initially tasked with regulating mortgage brokers, private pension plans and financial institutions.

READ MORE: B.C. government will take over regulation of real estate industry

It assumed the responsibilities of the Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM), which operated as a branch of the Ministry of Finance.

The new agency is governed by a board of directors, appointed by the government of the day, and currently headed by CEO Blair Morrison.