Published on: September 19, 2018
Article number: 205376

Properties located on former landfill sites: clarifications by the OACIQ

Following a report on the program La Facture on September 18, 2018, the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ) would like to make the following clarifications.

First, the topic is a matter of public interest. It highlights an important issue, to which the OACIQ, as regulator of real estate brokerage, is extremely sensitive: the protection of buyers and sellers of real estate properties.

However, this issue goes beyond the resale of properties located on former landfill sites; before these properties were put up for sale, a lot was purchased, and a building was built. This is an issue that must be shared more broadly with the stakeholders involved in order to ensure that consumers dealing with it are better informed and supported. It was precisely to find a solution to this problem that the OACIQ contacted the Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Isabelle Melançon, in July.

The Organization drew her attention to the fact that despite all the verifications that brokers are required to make, the information regarding the location of former landfill sites is not always available, precise or accurate. We also want to know what the government intends to do to help owners of contaminated lots. The OACIQ very much hopes to have the opportunity to discuss this with the current or the next government.

In addition, the Organization wishes to add to the information that aired on La Facture on September 18.

  • Contrary to what was said, the OACIQ did not wait until after the first report aired on Radio-Canada on November 11, 2015 before taking action. A detailed article on this topic has been available exclusively to brokers since 2006. The article constitutes a directive that describes in detail the duties of brokers in this regard. 
  • In addition, verifying the history of a property’s location in a land registry and informing the parties concerned are part of the duties expected of a broker in accordance with the ethical obligations spelled out in the Real Estate Brokerage Act and enforced by the OACIQ, and, more generally, of a broker’s general obligation to verify, inform and advise. 
  • Finally, it is important to note that eight training activities relating to this issue have been accredited by the OACIQ and are currently available to brokers as part of their Mandatory Continuing Education Program.

The OACIQ is there for consumers

The results obtained by the journalists, using a hidden camera, appear to show that some brokers do not comply with all their research and disclosure obligations when it comes to the history of the soil on which the immovable involved in the transaction is located.

These results are troubling. They show that we must maintain our oversight efforts through training, information and inspection of licence holders’ practices. We take all the situations mentioned very seriously and intend to look into them.

The role of the OACIQ is to ensure compliance with the Real Estate Brokerage Act; consumers who experience problems with a transaction are encouraged to contact us. 


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