Thirty-four Toronto area realtors have lost the provincial registration that allows them to sell real estate in Ontario after Humber College found “deliberate and organized misconduct” relating to exams in its Real Estate Education Program.
In a statement posted on Nov. 2, the college said it is aware of misconduct around the completion of exams and that it will be reviewing past, current and future exams to identify other instances of misconduct or suspicious behaviour.
The specifics of the misconduct are still unclear.
Humber says it has suspended and sanctioned those responsible and it has notified industry regulator, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), of the registered salespeople who were guilty of the misconduct.
RECO’s website shows it terminated the registration of 34 salespeople on Oct. 29. In each case, the council cited “failure to complete the designated educational courses required to be eligible to practice under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002.”
In an emailed statement, Humber said it takes academic integrity seriously and that the real estate program “has robust measures” to monitor exams, along with policies to discourage academic misconduct. It said those measures are consistent with other programs at the college and those of other institutions.
All Humber exams, including those conducted online, are subject to proctoring using a virtual service called Proctortrack, says the college’s website.
Humber’s “learner misconduct policy” cites plagiarism, copying, buying exams and collaboration on the completion of assignments as being subject to penalties.
Realtors are required to take five courses and two rounds of business simulations to qualify for registration with RECO. After that, agents have two years to complete another three courses.
To register for the Humber real estate program, an applicant must have graduated high school or have a designated equivalency. It costs $3,590 to take the pre-registration program. The three post-registration courses cost $570, according to the college website.
In 2019, RECO gave Humber the responsibility for training new real estate agents. Until then, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) had provided education for the sector. At the time of the change OREA expressed concern about the rigour of online education and testing.
On Friday, however, it sent the Star a statement lauding the swift action by RECO and Humber.
“Anybody caught cheating during real estate program examinations should be kicked out of the profession and there should be a thorough investigation of any existing agency or brokerages who may have been assisting,” said OREA CEO Tim Hudak.
He said the association is working with RECO and Humber “to support the robust measures taken to preserve the integrity of the real estate profession and weed out anyone who did not legitimately pass their licensing exams.”