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The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) represents the 45,000+ real estate brokers and salespeople who are members of Ontario's 42 real estate boards. In addition, OREA provides all real estate licensing courses in Ontario through the Ontario Real Estate College.
In 1922 a new organization was founded in Toronto, to organize real estate activities on a province wide basis. The new organization was formed to promote higher standards to protect the public, and to champion the interests of the real estate organization members to government. The new organization was called The Ontario Association of Real Estate Brokers.
The general consensus of real estate men held by the public at that time was described by Charlie Purnell, President of the Hamilton Real Estate Board, 1940–1942 in this statement “The forming of the Hamilton Real Estate Board by the men interested, was not so much to increase their earnings, but to better the image of the real estate business generally, which was looked down upon to such an extent, that people going into the real estate business were referred to as going into a racket.”
After eight years of lobbying the provincial government, the Ontario Association (of which all local boards were members) scored a major victory, when the government brought into law the Real Estate Brokers Act (1930). The government of Ontario, at the urging of the Ontario Association of Real Estate Brokers, found it necessary to codify and regulate the Real Estate Brokers occupation. A new law was enacted, under the supervision of the Ontario Securities Commission called ‘Act for Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salesmen’.
Bill 150 was introduced into the Legislature on March 21, 1930 by Mr. Ferguson MPP, 2nd Reading was March 26, 1930, House in Committee March 26, 1930, 3rd Reading March 27, 1930 and Royal Assent was given on April 30, 1930. It took only 12 days to become law after having been introduced into the Legislature. An attempt was made to search for Legislative debates on this issue but none were found. It appears there was not much opposition for the passage of this Bill. One could make an inference from the lack of debate, that the disreputable practices of unregulated real estate brokerages had attracted attention for some time.
The Regulations, Chapter 247 of the Real Estate Brokers Act (1930) stipulated the rules which had to be followed, if one wanted to practice real estate in Ontario. Initially, the rules were not very stringent. If one wanted to practice, all that was required was to make an application in writing on the forms provided by the Registrar, accompanied by the prescribed fee, and supply a $500 surety bond. A Broker who carried on business in a city, or within 5 miles from the boundaries of a city, having a population of 100,000 paid a $15.00 fee, and all other Brokers paid $5.00. Salesmen also required to be registered through a registered broker. The fee for Salesmen was $3.00 and there was a $1.00 fee for a salesmen notifying that he had changed brokers, or for any other change in registration such as an address change. In 1931 there were 668 Brokers and 400 salesmen registered under the new Act.
The Act was amended in 1940 and again in 1949 but there were still no academic qualifications required and no formal training in the real estate business was required.
The Ontario Association started an educational program in four different locations in the Province in 1954. Finally, in 1959 individuals had to pass a short examination, on their knowledge of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act.
By 1975 the Ontario Association was successful, in convincing the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations in Ontario, (who by that time was responsible for supervising the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act,) that mandatory education, for registration of all registrants in the province, be elevated to 150 hours of study, with an examination that had to be passed with a 75% pass mark. There were also new Broker courses introduced, along with a new Certificate Program, which had to be passed with the same 75% mark, to qualify for registration as a Broker.
An articling program was launched in 1988, which required all new registrants to complete and pass, three more forty hour courses, within their first two years of registration, failing which, they would not have their registrations renewed, until these requirements were satisfied. The Ontario Real Estate Association and the provincial government signed an agreement in 1997 which granted the right to self management and  The Real Estate Council of Ontario was established to administer the Real Estate Brokers Act, on behalf of the Provincial government. In addition to the articling program, a new requirement to maintain ongoing education by attending 30 hours of mandatory continuing educational courses was made a regulation, during each two year registration cycle. This regulation came into effect in 2000 and includes a 6 hour RECO Update Course which is mandatory. The rest of the hours are selected from a course calendar supplied by the Ontario Real Estate Association College of Continuing Education.
OREA's Mission Statement is to: "To help Ontario REALTORS, Member Boards and Associations succeed."
The OREA Real Estate College is currently RECO's nominee to provide Real Estate educational courses, and to administer examinations leading to registration of salespersons, brokers, and brokerages.
OREA provides Real Estate Boards with advice and support concerning day-to-day operations.