Our mission at OREA is to help all 78,000 Members succeed in building stronger communities.
That means providing products and services that make a difference to the business success of Ontario REALTORS®.
Services like over 200 OREA Standard Forms and Clauses that Individual Members used last year to complete 200,000 real estate transactions. Services like provincial government relations at Queen’s Park, where just this year, we fought for and helped pass the most pro-home ownership legislation in a generation in the More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019.
OREA’S ACTIVITIES AND RESERVES CONSULTATION
At the 2019 OREA Annual General Meeting of the Assembly (“AGM”), we told you that we were going to conduct extensive consultations with our membership on how we can strategically invest some of OREA’s reserves for the benefit of our Member Boards and grassroots Members.
We’re going to live up to that commitment by conducting our most extensive consultation process to date, ensuring we engage as many Members as possible on how to strategically invest OREA reserves in a thoughtful, prudent way.
This consultation will include numerous opportunities for Boards and Members to provide feedback on a broad list of ideas, that were reviewed just last week at OREA’s summer Board of Directors meeting. This list includes a potential dues reduction, expanded government relations programming, enforcement of professional standards, province wide data sharing and enhanced continuing education for REALTORS®.
The list of ideas is based on discussions we’ve had with Boards across the Province, a review of activities by other provincial and state associations, advice from Past Presidents and interviews with 40 representatives from the real estate industry.
This opportunity is a result of the success of OREA’s Real Estate College, prudent planning and cost management. In just the first four months of 2019, our College registered over 45,700 students – a 67% increase compared to the same period last year and 141% higher than our projections.
We have been and are continuing to work with our tax and legal advisers to ensure we take the appropriate steps as we work through this process, consider best practices in the industry, ensure that we act within the framework of OREA’s constitution, and do not put our status as a tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation unduly at risk. This includes a thorough review of the planned use of OREA’s resources, particularly in the post-College period to ensure that its reserves are supportable and reasonable when taking into consideration OREA’s corporate purposes and currently enacted income tax legislation and applicable corporate statutes.
The unanticipated success of our College and effective cost controls have built up our reserves in the amount of $53 million at the end of 2018 and this year’s sharp unprecedented increase in enrolments will further increase our ability to use some of the funds from our reserves for other activites/member programs.
OREA’s consultation is going to be a transparent and open process.
That’s why we’re sharing the OREA Board’s criteria for evaluating reserve fund ideas going forward. They include:
· Impact: offering provides clear substantial net benefit to a critical mass of Members with consideration to measures that serve to help under-represented segments feel the full value of OREA membership.
· Industry: offering is in the long-term interests of the industry and the profession.
· Sustainability: the offering is financially sustainable over the long-term.
· Partner Support: Member Boards and other key partners align on the value of the offering.
· Core business and competencies: the offering is aligned with OREA’s core business and its existing (or readily accessible) competencies and capabilities.
Ultimately, what to do with some of OREA’s reserves is a decision that will be made by the OREA Board of Directors, after evaluating all member feedback and in accordance with our obligations as a not-for-profit corporation.
Here are the next steps in our process:
· Over the next few weeks OREA leaders will be reaching out to Board Leaders to discuss the consultation process and gather your feedback;
· This Fall, the OREA Board of Directors will meet to discuss a broad list of ideas and decide which ones will move forward for additional consultation with Members;
· The extensive consultation process will feature a multi-channel approach to gather feedback from across our profession; and
· Finally, staff will assemble all feedback and report back to the OREA Board of Directors for final approval of those ideas/initiatives that will move forward.
Thank you and I look forward to working with each and every one of you as we put some funds from our reserves to work for our 78,000 Members across the Province.