COVID-19 Update (April 20)
COVID-19 Health Directives, State of Emergency Bylaw, Temporary Bylaw Changes, Amendments to the Existing Bylaw, Staff Changes, CPE Reminder
COVID-19 Health Directives
The COVID-19 orders, directives, and guidelines we all have to follow are being continuously updated by the provincial and federal governments. View the latest information here:
State of Emergency Bylaw
On April 16, 2020, the Commission Board of Directors passed a state-of-emergency bylaw (238(b)). This bylaw provides the Commission with the overriding authority to extend or vary time limits for carrying out of any requirements of the Bylaw, such as postponing the annual general meeting, temporary changes to fees, extending renewal deadlines, and the manner by which those requirements are fulfilled, like waiving immediate notarization of some documents, and auditors working electronically instead of with paper. The text of the Bylaw is as follows:
The Commission may extend or vary the time for doing, or manner of performing, any requirement under this Bylaw, if the Commission determines it necessary as a result of emergency circumstances. Emergency circumstances may include, but not be limited to, acts of war or terrorism, civil or military disturbances, nuclear or natural catastrophes or acts of God, epidemics, pandemics, quarantines, and interruptions, and states of emergency or other actions of government. As much notice as possible, given the circumstances, shall be provided to licensees of any change which could impact their rights and obligations under the Bylaw.
Temporary Bylaw Changes Due to the State of Emergency
The following changes are in effect under new Bylaw 238(b). For a complete list of the wording of the existing Bylaw and the temporary changes in effect, click HERE.
Bylaw 322: The Commission does not have the ability to safely conduct licensing exams. Exam writings are postponed until further notice.
Board member election and annual general meeting
Bylaw 212: The election will not be held in conjunction with the annual general meeting (AGM) as stated in the Bylaw. The election will open for electronic voting on April 27th and close on April 30th. The successful nominee will be announced in a news bulletin on May 1st.
Bylaw 242: The AGM will be held virtually on May 28th, a month later than specified in the Bylaw.
408(a) and (b): In response to concerns that licensees may have to give up their licence to obtain government benefits the Commission is waiving reinstatement fees from today until September 30th.
It is the Commission's understanding that you can receive emergency benefits while holding a real estate licence, however, if a licensee needs to give up their licence temporarily for financial reasons, they will be able to reinstate their licence without paying a reinstatement fee.
For information about emergency benefits, click HERE.
Bylaw 324, 325, 326, 402, 403: In response to market conditions, the Commission is postponing the licence renewal deadline from June 30th to September 30th for 2020 only. All licences set to expire on June 30th will now expire on September 30th. The Commission will notify licensees when licence certificates with the September 30th expiry date are available on the Licensee Portal.
Bylaw 518: The annual report will be released on April 30th, a month later than specified in the Bylaw.
Temporary changes to the Commission Audit Policy
Bylaw 639 and the Audit Policy:
- Effective April 20th and continuing until further notice the Commission will conduct modified trust audits only for brokerages that require audit(s). Brokers that have trust activity will complete a Form 1, provide trust account bank statements, and the four trust-record keeping requirements. This requested documentation will be provided to the auditor electronically.
- For brokers that complete a Form 2 or Form 3, we will delay the requirement to have the form notarized until the Commission office reopens. Brokers are required to provide either a letter from the bank or trust bank statements for the time period.
Brokers continue to be responsible to ensure compliance with all trust account and transactional record keeping requirements under the Act, the Bylaw and Commission Policy. This temporary audit procedure will focus on trust accounts. If after reviewing the initial required documents the auditor needs more information from the broker, the request will first be discussed with the Compliance Manager. All information requested will be provided to the auditor in an electronic format. If trust activity occurred, the broker will still receive a rating based on trust record-keeping compliance.
Amendments to the Existing Bylaw
The following amendments to the Bylaw were approved at the Board of Directors meeting. These amendments were scheduled to be presented at the Board of Directors meeting prior to the pandemic and are not temporary. They are changes that were identified and made in support of the Audit Policy and are effective immediately.The changes are indicated in bold text and can also be viewed in the Bylaw.
Bylaw 704 (i) New
A broker or managing associate broker shall be responsible for:
(i) being knowledgeable and complying with the Act, the Regulations, the Bylaw and the Commission Policies;
Bylaw 705 (a) Revised
Associate brokers and salespeople shall be responsible for:
(a) being knowledgeable and complying with the Act, the Regulations, the Bylaw and the Commission Policies;
Bylaw 337 (b) Revised (Issuing of licenses)
b) in the case of first-time broker applicants, the Commission shall issue a conditional licence. The Commission shall conduct three audits in the broker's first year of licensing, two of which must achieve a good rating, and conduct a fourth audit in the first half of the broker's second year of licensing, which must obtain a good rating. The audit schedule may be adjusted at the discretion of the Registrar. These audits shall be at a cost to the broker. Should a broker fail to achieve the audit ratings set out in this Bylaw, the broker shall continue to be audited twice a year until a good audit rating is achieved.
b) In the case of first-time broker applicants, the Commission shall issue a conditional licence. The Commission shall conduct audits in accordance with the Commission Audit Policy and upon satisfying the audit requirements, the conditions shall be removed. The audit schedule may be adjusted at the discretion of the Registrar.
Welcome and Farewell
Chloe Kenny has joined the Commission as a Communications Officer. Chloe has a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University. We are thrilled to welcome her to our team!
Danielle Driscoll, Communications Officer, has relocated to the West Coast. Danielle joined us in 2017. We will miss Danielle's enthusiasm and dedication. We wish her all the best in her new home.
Radon Awareness for Real Estate
The CPE mandatory course, Radon Awareness for Real Estate, must be completed by June 15, 2020. This is an online course administered by the Nova Scotia Lung Association. To enroll in the course, you must have your real estate licence number. Your real estate licence number is a seven-digit number that appears on your licence certificate issued by the Commission. Your licence number must be correct and entered without error to ensure you receive credit for the course. For enrollment instructions, as well as how to look up your licence number, click HERE.