The broker’s and agency executive officer’s duty to collaborate with the OACIQ
In accordance with section 105 of the Regulation respecting brokerage requirements, professional conduct of brokers and advertising (hereinafter called “Regulation respecting brokerage requirements”), the broker and agency executive officer must collaborate with the OACIQ during the following operations:
- An inspection;
- An investigation conducted by the syndic or assistant syndic;
- Process by the Assistance Department to obtain information;
- Process by the Indemnity Committee to obtain information;
- Proceeding related to mediation, arbitrage or conciliation conducted by the OACIQ.
Under this same section, the duty to collaborate requires from brokers or agency executive officers to disclose all the facts they are aware of, produce all relevant documents and reply as soon as possible to every request in the manner determined by the person making the request. In the case of a broker carrying on activities within a business corporation, it is important to mention that this broker must also ensure the collaboration of the corporation, its executive officers and its employees, if applicable.
During the performance of his duty to collaborate, brokers or agency executive officers must abstain from exaggerating or concealing facts, or making a misrepresentation when providing documents or information during one of the operations listed above (section 106 of the Regulation respecting brokerage requirements). They must not also urge a person holding information relevant to such operation not to collaborate. Finally, they must not refuse to authorize a person to disclose such information (section 107 of the Regulation respecting brokerage requirements).
Moreover, it is important to know that the syndic and assistant syndics have the powers and immunity of commissioners appointed under the Act respecting public inquiry commissions, except the power to order imprisonment (section 89 of the Real Estate Brokerage Act). They have broad powers including that of issuing a warrant of arrest. They can order a bailiff to bring any person whose testimony is relevant to an investigation and who refuses to appear before them although duly required to do so by a subpoena. Failure to collaborate with other bodies of the OACIQ may also result in the issuance of such a warrant by the syndic.
Brokers’ and agency executive officers’ collaboration allows the various bodies of the OACIQ to play their role efficiently. Failure to comply with this obligation may not only have serious consequences on public protection, but also discredits the profession as whole. It unduly delays and even paralyses the operations concerned. This needlessly prolongs the uncertainty that hangs over the persons involved (brokers, agencies, clients, etc.).
Finally, it is important to note that if a broker or agency executive officer fails to comply with his duty to collaborate with the OACIQ, he may be the subject of a complaint before the Discipline Committee. A few recent disciplinary decisions have in fact confirmed the importance of the duty to collaborate and the seriousness of the non-collaboration offence.