The discipline committee
The Discipline Committee rules on complaints concerning ethical breaches committed by brokers or agencies and imposes penalties if they are found guilty in the course of public disciplinary hearings.
Completely autonomous and independent from the board of directors and staff of the OACIQ and created under the Real Estate Brokerage Act, the Discipline Committee is made up of two brokers (in disciplinary law, defendants are judged by their peers), and its decision-making is presided over by a lawyer appointed by the government.
Disciplinary hearings may include two parts: the hearing itself, during which plaintiff and defendant will each try to prove their version of the facts, and the hearing on the penalty, if the defendant is found guilty. A hearing on penalty is held only if the defendant pleads guilty. During the hearing, the Syndic's lawyer and the defence will announce the penalty deemed appropriate.
Any proceedings before the discipline committee are public. If, in its opinion, public order so requires, the discipline committee may, however, require that:
- the hearing be held in camera;
- access to a document or the disclosure or release of information or documents specified by the committee be prohibited or restricted; or
- the anonymity of the persons involved be protected.
During hearings on penalty, the Discipline Committee may:
- impose fines ranging from $2,000 to $50,000;
- suspend or revoke the licenses of brokers or agencies (including those of their administrators or officers) found guilty of a violation of the Real Estate Brokerage Act;
- order a broker or agency to pay a sum of money to a person or firm to whom it is owed;
- order a broker to attend a specific training activity.
The Discipline Committee cannot compensate victims the way civil courts can in a damage suit.
A right of appeal on the file exists, meaning that a judge will render his decision in the light of items contained in the file and, as a general rule, without hearing witnesses.