Application for an agency licence
Is running your own real estate agency part of your career plan? If so, read the information below.
As a regulator with the mission of protecting the public, the OACIQ has specific requirements regarding agency licence issuance (natural person, legal person and corporation).
Due to new emerging business models and new agency structures, a deeper analysis of each application is required to ensure greater regulatory compliance. These additional verifications have an impact on the processing time of this type of application. Therefore, a minimum period of 30 days is required before the OACIQ can respond to an agency licence issuance application.
Here are the steps to follow to get an agency licence.
Step 1: Meeting the requirements
You must first ensure that you have the required qualifications to get an agency licence. The agency must be run by the holder of a valid broker licence who is qualified to act as agency executive officer. Please read the article Mandatory basic training: Becoming agency executive officer or acting on your own account for the steps to follow to qualify as an agency executive officer.
In addition, if you have never acted as an agency executive officer before or if you have previously acted as an agency executive officer but not in the past two years, you will need to show that you have completed the self-study courses Compliance and performance: A combination that pays off! and Electronic Document Management: For a successful EDM, within the two years prior to your appointment. Otherwise, you will have to take these training courses before you can act as agency executive officer.
You must then read the requirements of the Compliance Program, which was designed to reinforce the real estate brokerage oversight and promote a culture of compliance among licence holders. As agency executive officer, you are responsible for implementing and enforcing your own compliance program within your agency. In this regard, after the analysis of the Certification Department, you will be contacted by the Inspection Department to provide you with additional information about the Compliance Program. In addition, you must ensure that all agency directors, brokers, and employees comply with this program and act in accordance with the regulations.
Legal person, corporation, or natural person
The agency licence holder may be a legal person, a corporation, or a natural person.
In the case of a legal person or a corporation, the corporation must be active and registered with Registre des entreprises using the name under which you wish to do business. Refer to the section below for name selection.
In the case of a natural person, if you wish to practise under a pseudonym that does not include your first and last names as they appear on your licence, you must register the name with the Registraire des entreprises.
An agency licence holder may carry on his real estate brokerage activities under only one name (excluding its English version). The agency name must meet several criteria and comply with the regulations. Under the general duties set out in section 62 and following of the Regulation respecting brokerage requirements, professional conduct of brokers and advertising, an agency licence holder must not choose a name that may compromise the honour or dignity of the profession or cause controversy.
For the name of a franchised or sub-franchised agency, you must ensure that you have the franchiser's authorization to use its name and logo.
In all cases, the selected name must comply with section 113 of the Regulation respecting brokerage requirements, professional conduct of brokers and advertising. Notably, the name must not:
- contain information that can be confusing or misleading, including as to the company’s activities (e.g. "The Contractor Agency", the type of products and services offered ("Real Estate Lender Agency,” “Investment Management Agency,” “Investor Management Agency”), geographical location as the licence is issued for Quebec ("Canada Brokers Agency"), existing trade names or trademarks, etc.
- suggest that it designates more than one agency or that this agency is not an OACIQ licence holder (e.g.: “No middleman agency”);
- be like another profession. In such a case, you will have to check with the professional order or the regulatory body concerned (e.g.: "Building Engineer Agency", "Real Estate Doctor Agency");
- suggest that the agency holds a specialist title (e.g.: "Condo or Real Estate Experts Agency"). The use of the following terms or expressions is prohibited: “Specializing in”, "specialized in", "specialist in", "specialties" or "specializations".
To ensure that the name chosen for your agency meets the above-mentioned criteria and complies with the regulations, you must apply to the OACIQ for approval and get its response before registering with the Registraire des entreprises du Québec and paying various fees. To do this, please send an email to the Certification Department and indicate your name, licence number and the desired name for your agency. Of course, it is recommended to check the availability of the desired name in the Registre des entreprises before submitting your application to the OACIQ.
When the name is approved by the OACIQ, you will be able to register it with the Registraire des entreprises du Québec (REQ).
Registering the name with the REQ
Please note that the name registration is not the responsibility of the OACIQ. You must yourself take the necessary steps to register it with the Registraire des entreprises (you may contact directly for the applicable terms and conditions if necessary).
The name must comply with the limits imposed by the Act respecting the legal publicity of sole proprietorships, partnerships, and legal persons. For example, it must not be identical to that of an existing company, be easily confused with the name of another company, or be misleading as to the company’s activities. For more information in this regard, read the Advertising guide for real estate agencies and brokers (chapter 2) and the article entitled The statement of registration: sometimes a condition for issuing a licence.
Once the name already approved by the OACIQ is registered with the REQ, go to the next step.
IMPORTANT WARNING: We recommend that you wait for the OACIQ approval before creating your promotional tools, such as your website, business cards, etc., because the OACIQ may not be able to respond favourably to your licence application after the analysis of the file.
Step 2: Submitting a licence issuance application
You are now ready to apply for an agency licence.
To apply for a real estate agency licence, you need to complete and provide the following documents:
- Application for issuance of a licence – Real estate agency – Legal person and partnership;
- Application for issuance of a licence – Real estate agency – Natural person.
- The form Notice of change of real estate agency. This form must be duly completed for each of the broker’s licence holders who will work for your agency, including the agency executive officer.
- The Application for authorization to practise within a business corporation. This form must be completed by each broker licence holder wishing to operate through a business corporation within your agency.
- A copy of the up-to-date information available at the Registraire des entreprises, if applicable.
If you responded positively to any of the questions in the Declarations section of the licence application, you must also provide:
All required supporting documents of this declaration.
To ensure that the Declarations section of the licence application is properly answered, see question 9 of the FAQ Certification – Agency and the following article: Obtaining a licence, a conditional privilege.
Finally, by filling out this form, you may grant a team member access to synbad.com to become an agency collaborator whose role will be to support you in your duties.
You can email these documents to the Certification Department.
Application examination fee and chargeable fees for the issuance of an agency licence 2022 (valid until April 30, 2023)
- The application examination fee is payable upon the submission of your application. This fee is not refundable and will be deducted from the total amount to be paid for the licence upon issuance of your agency licence. This is because upon receipt of an agency licence application by the Certification Department, several verifications are initiated by various departments of the Organization.
- The fee to be paid for the issuance of your agency licence based on the month in which it comes into effect. The calculation is done on a pro rata basis.
- Where applicable, an administrative fee will apply for processing the transfer of each broker’s file and your own file as agency executive officer.
- Where applicable, an administrative fee will apply for the processing of the authorization requests to practise within a business corporation.
Step 3: Analysis of your file
Verification and examination of application
When Certification Department receives your agency licence application, a thorough analysis will be conducted. If documents are missing, you will be informed by email, this may cause additional delays.
Additional instructions will be communicated to you and a certification agent will call to ask you a few questions to better understand your project, after which recommendations could be made.
Declarations in your licence issuance application
If you responded positively to any of the questions in this section of the application, your file will be examined to determine if it needs to be referred to the Licence Issue and Maintenance Committee (LIMC). In this case, your agency licence issuance will be delayed until the committee’s decision is made.
The LIMC’s role is to determine whether public protection warrants the imposition of one of the measures set out in the Act. In accordance with section 37 of the Real Estate Brokerage Act, the LIMC may refuse to issue a licence or may impose conditions or restrictions thereon if the individual applying for the licence has been convicted of, or has pleaded guilty to, an offence or a criminal act.
For an agency licence application – natural person, the criminal record check will be conducted for the broker’s licence holder making the request.
Meeting with the Inspection Department and adherence to the Compliance Program
After the analysis of the Certification Department, you will be contacted by the Inspection Department. You will be given additional information about the Compliance Program and you will be able to ask questions to the inspector in charge of you file. You will need to develop and explain in writing your own policies, rules, and procedures arising from the Compliance Program.
To guide you, here are a few relevant references to help you start your reflection and writing:
- Competency framework – Agency executive officer
- Your duties towards your brokers and the public
- The agency’s duty to supervise all brokers
- The Agency Executive Officer’s Compliance Program
- My AEO Space: Why is it important to you? (My AEO space)
- Advising, overseeing and supervising are key roles (My AEO space)
- The expectations of the OACIQ from agency executive officers (My AEO space)
Finally, you will have to submit the program you implemented and show your commitment to comply with it. The Inspection Department will analyze this program to ensure that it meets all requirements. If your compliance program does not meet all the requirements from the outset, the Inspection Department may make recommendations to you. You will be able to adjust your program, but you should not submit more than 3 substantially different versions to us.
Please note that if the third version is deemed unsatisfactory, your application for issuance will be rejected. You will then have to re-apply and pay the related fees. Therefore, make sure you are well prepared in advance to avoid additional delays and costs.
Start-up session by the OACIQ Inspection Department
You will be invited to attend a start-up session. During the 3-hour start-up session delivered by an inspector, you will be informed of your new obligations and the OACIQ's expectations, especially regarding the compliance program, as well as the elements which are verified during a regular inspection (verification of records, books and registers, management of trust account, conflicts of interest, etc.).
Opening of a trust account
We recommend that you start the process of opening a trust account as soon as possible, as you will have to provide the OACIQ Inspection Department with proof of the opening of such an account no later than 10 days following your licence issuance, failing which the licence of the agency and brokers acting on its behalf will be suspended (see IMPORTANT NOTICE — Opening and maintaining a trust account).
Your agency licence will be issued if all the conditions set out in section 6 of the Regulation respecting the issue of broker’s and agency licences and the ones listed in this article are met. You will be informed by the Certification department.