Following the Minister’s Orders received in January 2024 to establish an advisory council comprising members representing the interests of registrants, RECO has disbanded the joint Consumer & Industry Advisory Group (CIAG).

Please refer to the new councils: the Industry Advisory Council (IAC) and the Consumer Advisory Council (CAC).

Meeting Details

Date: October 17, 2023 
Location: Online (Microsoft Teams) 


Registrant members

Subhir Uppal, Chair
Tamara Jorgenson, Vice-Chair
Susan MacKinnon
Michelle Imrie
Robert (Bob) Fraser
Ann Forbes Arndt

Consumer members

Daniel Fleming
Anil Bhalla
S.S. Rishad
Carmen Sze
Austin Spademan

Jerry Udell

RECO staff

Michael Beard, CEO
Joseph Richer, Registrar
Kym Robertson, Director, Stakeholder Relations
Alineh Haidery, Senior Advisor, Stakeholder Relations
Jessica Picton, Senior Advisor, Stakeholder Relations
Lucas Singh, Stakeholder Relations Specialist

1. Call to order

The Chair called the meeting to order at 10:07 a.m.

2. Welcome

The Chair welcomed CIAG members and thanked them for their ongoing participation. The CEO also thanked the members for their participation and reminded them that perspectives of both registrants and consumers play an important role in the organization’s mandate of consumer protection.

3. Acceptance of agenda

The agenda was accepted without changes.

4. Conflict of interest and confidentiality

RECO’s CEO provided an overview of conflict of interest and the importance of confidentiality when it comes to matters discussed, and materials shared with CIAG members. No members declared a conflict of interest.

5. Acceptance of minutes of April 20, 2023

The minutes of the April 20, 2023, meeting were accepted without changes.

ACTION: RECO to explore accelerating the approval of minutes in anticipation of posting the minutes on the RECO website in a timely manner in future.

6. Auditor General public action plan

The CEO shared that RECO is on track to complete 75% of the action items outlined in the report by the end of 2023.

Feedback on the Auditor General's report included that:

  • The report could create a negative perception of those in the industry.
  • The report is not inherently negative towards RECO and/or the real estate industry and the merit of the report lies in the valuable information that consumers can draw from the report’s findings.

7. Content strategy for consumers

RECO’s Director of Stakeholder Relations discussed the importance of finding different ways to engage consumers. She presented approaches RECO could take in organizing website content for consumers and invited feedback. The feedback from the group was as follows:

  • There was general agreement that framing material from a transaction process and life events/milestones process would assist consumers.
  • Some members expressed that the information needs to be presented in a straightforward way using plain language, especially when engaging with younger consumers or first-time homebuyers.
  • The use of short form video, social media, and an interactive user interface on RECO’s website were highlighted as opportunities to engage consumers.

Breakout groups

Members then participated in breakout groups, with their discussion guided by questions to generate feedback on how informed consumers are about buying and selling real estate, the type of information that would be helpful for them, and how RECO can support them.

Summary: Consumer breakout group

  • Consumers are not well informed, being assessed at 1 on a scale from 1-5 with 1 being not informed.
  • First-time homebuyers are the least informed, and those with prior experience are the most informed consumers.
  • Forms are not well understood by consumers.
  • The key pieces of information that would be helpful when engaging in a real estate transaction would be:
    • Information on forms: Buyer representation agreement, listing agreement, etc.
    • Understanding how commission works.
  • One suggestion was for RECO to consider exploring a simplified plug and play system for forms like Turbo tax does for tax forms.

Summary: Registrant breakout group

  • Consumers are moderately informed, being assessed at 5 on a scale from 1-10 with 1 being not informed.
  • Repeat clientele were identified as the most informed.
  • First time homebuyers and out-of-country buyers were believed to be the least informed.
  • Misinformation amongst consumers was a concern.
  • Buyers who stayed up to date with current affairs and market trends were typically more informed.
  • Consumers need to better understand the concept of representation by a registrant.
  • Consumers need more support to better understand the forms and documents they before signing them.
  • RECO could consider focusing more on registrant knowledge; to train registrants to better understand consumer wants, needs and expectations.
  • Short form Q&A style videos like Toronto Police Service’s “Ask a Traffic Cop” were noted as an engaging idea to attract attention.

8. Other business

While there was no other business, members generally agreed that more information needs to be given to consumers on clarifying and defining RECO’s purpose.

9. Closing remarks and adjournment

The Chair thanked all for their active participation and closed the meeting at 12:56 p.m.

Next meeting: RECO management will notify members of the next meeting date.

Meeting Details

Date: April 20, 2023 
Time: 9 a.m. – 11:59 a.m. 
Location: Online (Microsoft Teams) 


1. Call to order

The meeting was called to order, and introductions were made. 

2. Welcome (5 minutes) 

Michael Beard welcomed the group and discussed the importance and purpose of the CIAG.  
Michael Beard addressed the recent recommendations from the Auditor General of Ontario regarding the reporting of public consumer interest items and the CIAG. He explained that the CIAG minutes, terms of reference and membership will soon be public on RECO’s website. Additionally, as part of responding to the AG’s recommendations, the CIAG is being asked to discuss and approve a standard operating procedure later in the agenda, which will define the manner in which information from the CIAG is shared.  

3. Acceptance of agenda

The agenda was accepted without changes. 

4. Conflict of interest  

Bob Fraser declared that he is a real estate representative for the Home Construction Regulatory Authority’s Consumer Advisory Council. He was reminded not to share information about both groups.  

5. Acceptance of minutes of November 21, 2022  

The minutes of the meeting on November 21, 2022, were accepted without changes.  

6. CIAG terms of reference  

The group discussed the revised CIAG Terms of Reference.  

Michael Beard presented the more substantive changes, including, but not limited to: 

  • The minimum and maximum size of the group and split of industry and non-industry members. 
  • Industry representatives will include members from the broader sector, beyond just registrants, such as home inspectors, mortgage brokers. 
  • The Chair and Vice Chair positions would be one representative from industry and non-industry members and would take effect the next election cycle. 
  • The member expectations and remedy if a member is not participating as expected.  


That the CIAG accepts the revised CIAG Terms of Reference as presented with added clarification that if a Chair or Vice Chair are removed the successor Chair or Vice Chair will be elected through the election process in the Terms of Reference.  


In terms of process, RECO staff presented the option of scheduling four shorter meetings, rather than two meetings annually. The group had mixed feelings about it, as there were pros and cons to each option.  

RECO staff also explained that it would seek input on the agenda from the group approximately six weeks prior to a scheduled meeting. 


RECO staff will consider options for scheduling two, three or four meetings per year, considering feedback from the group, and present options at the next meeting.  
[April 20, 2023] 

7. RECO’s Public Register

The information required and permitted to be published is changing under TRESA Phase Two. The group was asked to provide input on three particular topics as it relates to the public register, required under the law. 

RECO’s current obligation is to publish information and disciplinary actions on the public registry about existing registrants for a minimum of 60 months. RECO staff proposed extending the publication to 120 months.  

First topic: How long should information be maintained on RECO’s public registry?  

Currently disciplinary action (refusals, revocations, conditions of registration, convictions, and discipline sanctions) information is maintained on the public register for at least 60 months (5 years) and the Registrar is considering a 10-year period consistent with many other regulators.  

Group feedback 

The group was aligned that five years (60 months) is not long enough. There was support for differentiating between less and more egregious disciplinary actions, but it was recognized that this would be difficult to differentiate. Though the consumer representatives thought seven years could be sufficient, it was unanimous that longer than ten years was unnecessary punitive. Overall, the group supported a change to 10 years. 

Second topic: Including former registrants on the public register  

The law is changing to require former registrants to be included in the public register.  
The group was asked about functionality for prospective users of the register.  

Under TRESA, RECO will need to publish information about former registrants  
(e.g., chose not to renew, were revoked, or terminated). RECO is seeking input on how this information should be made available, so it is the greatest value for users.  

Should RECO include former registrants in its existing registry but permit the user to include only current registrants and exclude former registrants?  

Group feedback 

The group agreed that the registry should default to current registrants, with the option to include former registrants, or alternatively to include all registrants, with the option of excluding former registrants. There was no support to be able to search only former registrants.  

As a separate matter, the registrants inquired about including a photo of the registrant on the public register. RECO staff explained that the approach had been considered by RECO and its board on at least two previous occasions, but the decision was made not to include a photo. Primarily, having the create a database of photos for over 100,000 registrants, and requiring someone to attest that it was a current photo provided limited value for investment.  

Third topic: Disclosure of conditions and reporting requirements 

Only conditions ordered through prosecution or agreed to be published by a registrant are required to be published on the public register. Under TRESA, all conditions that are on registration are going to have to be published, regardless of how they were affixed to the registration. 

RECO asked the group about specific types of prohibitions and reporting obligations that should be made public to assist consumers in making informed choices. 

Group feedback 

There was unanimous agreement that prohibitions on registrations should be made public for good consumer benefit and more administrative type reporting obligations should not be made public as there is no consumer benefit. The example given by the group was that there was no need for someone owing taxes. 

8. RECO Information Guide  

RECO will be required to produce an Information Guide, which each registrant is required to provide to prospective clients and self-represented parties before they engage with them.  

The group was asked about the first impression of the guide and input to make a positive impression on RECO and the profession.  

RECO presented the RECO Information Guide to the group to show some design elements and get feedback and first reactions. 

Group feedback 

Overall, the feedback was positive. The design was professional.  

The group agreed that the term “consumer” should form part of the title of the guide for clarity of the audience of the guide.  

General comments were also made about the following for consideration:  

  • The guide must be written in plain language.
  • The group also supported using images of real people, and not vector graphics or cartoon like images.
  • Depending on the length, it might be better to break it into multiple documents, if possible.
  • It was suggested that the guide may need to be in different languages, once the content was well established based on consumer use.  

9. CIAG advisory process standard operating procedure (SOP)  

In order to satisfy an Auditor General’s recommendation, RECO has developed a standard operating procedure (SOP) that defines the consumer advisory process to report to the minister. 

The group reviewed the draft SOP.  


That the CIAG accept the CIAG standard operating procedure as presented. 


The group discussed the timing of the delivery of minutes. It was agreed that it was more helpful to receive the minutes shortly after the meeting. RECO will make efforts to deliver the minutes as soon as possible following the meeting.  

10. Consumer engagement  

RECO conducts annual consumer surveys through an external party on a variety of topics.  

The focus audience of the survey are consumers who recently bought or sold real estate.  

The group made the following suggestions for the type of information RECO might consider collecting from recent buyers and sellers.  

Questions provided by the group 

  • Did the real estate agent provide the consumer with an understanding of each step in the transaction process?
  • ​​​​​​Did the consumer understand what they were doing in the process of buying or selling a house?
  • Did the consumer understand the documents they were signing?
  • What could the real estate agent have done better?
  • Were there questions that the real estate agent didn’t adequately address?
  • Did the real estate agent refer the consumer to an expert if the question was outside of their expertise?
  • Did the consumer feel heard and responsibly managed? 

The group believes these questions will help demonstrate consumer confidence and will provide confidence in the sector.  

11. Title fraud: Consumer/Industry Support  

Recently, there has been considerable media coverage about title fraud. RECO is considering the role it plays in educating and supporting consumers to increase awareness of the issues. The group provided its perspective on the value RECO could provide around the subject and whether it needed to do more.  

Group feedback

  • Title fraud seems to fit under the legal community rather than RECO. Registrants can bring awareness about the topic to consumers and suggest they speak to their lawyer.
  • Important for consumers to know about title fraud. What can a consumer do? What are the solutions? Is there an easier tool for registrants to check the house title? 

The consensus is that RECO and registrants shouldn’t own the issue of title fraud, but do play a role. RECO’s strategy to focus on awareness both for registrants and consumers was appropriate.  

12. Group feedback 

The group asked to receive the shared documents in advance, even for presentations. RECO will work towards circulating the materials more in advance. 

13. Closing remarks and adjournment  

The Chair thanked all for their active participation and closed the meeting.