Québec real estate organization calls for withdrawal of financial sector regulation bill

The Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB) joined the provinces three other major consumer protection bureaus in calling for the withdrawal of Bill 141, which aims to introduce further regulations in the province’s financial sector.

Although the QFREB acknowledges the need to rethink regulation of Québec's financial sector, it claims Bill 141 represents a step backward in public protection. The group said the current legislation tabled is extremely lengthy, and the current deadline does not allow sufficient time for it to be properly studied.

"Our federation supports the proposal to establish an expert panel that would take more time to examine the issues — particularly those defining real estate brokerage operation — and could recommend an approach fully relevant to the current context," QFREB President Patrick Juanéda said.

QFREB represents the province's 12 real estate boards and their 13,000 broker members.

The bill has divided opinions among players in the province’s finance industry. Mortgage Professionals Canada, for example, is lobbying for it, as the legislation could put an end to banks paying realtors there referral fees.

“We’re basically lobbying for banks to pay somebody who has a financial or mortgage license,” said Montreal-based George Macris of DLC Centre-Ouest. “Mortgage Professionals Canada is lobbying for it. At the end of the day, the bank can pay a real estate broker or a firm right away, so one of the underlying points is the bank can continue to pay someone a referral, but it has to be someone from the financial field with a license in place. But one key point is to stop paying realtors referral fees.”

Juanéda warns against fast tracking the bill through the National Assembly. "Given that the protection of the public is at stake, it is essential that the government take the necessary time to properly and democratically assess the repercussions of the legislation.”

Onb the housing resale market, QFREB said the deregulation proposed by officials— whereby anyone would be able to act as a real estate broker, with no regulatory framework to govern the practice — would compromise public protection in property purchase transactions.


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