The legal services unit has primary responsibility for fulfilling the Real Estate Act statutory objectives relating to disciplinary proceedings. It has a mandate to enforce industry conduct standards and protect the public. The legal services team is comprised of a director, legal services coordinator, case presenters, a privacy officer, a hearings coordinator and an administrative staff person.
The director of legal services is responsible for leading the unit’s activities. The director oversees unit operations and disciplinary cases, provides legal advice to Council, committees, the executive director and staff, as well as manages litigation, privacy matters and Assurance Fund claims. The director is also a resource to the hearings committee and responsible for ensuring panel member training, including external and internal panel training.
Each year, the legal services unit closes 80 to 100 disciplinary files. Case presenters review investigation files to determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence of conduct deserving of sanction for the matter to be referred to a panel. If there is likely misconduct, the case presenter will undertake efforts to reach agreement with the industry member in order to avoid a contested hearing. The parties may enter into a consent agreement. When this is not possible, the matter proceeds to a contested hearing. Appeals or other court action may follow.
The hearings coordinator, together with hearings committee members, is responsible for RECA panel appointments and general panel administration.
The legal services unit is responsible for administration of Assurance Fund claims. Members of the public may claim payments from the fund in circumstances where an industry member has committed a fraud or breach of trust against the member of the public and has failed to pay. Claim limits apply.
Privacy matters are also an important unit responsibility. Members of the public and others may complain that RECA is not in compliance with the Personal Information Protection Act. Response to such complaints falls to RECA’s privacy officer.
The work done in the legal services unit is for the purpose of fulfilling the statutory obligations under the Real Estate Act and in furtherance of RECA’s efforts to protect the public.