British Columbia's real estate watchdog is leaving this summer for Ottawa to take a position with Canada's bank regulator, but not before she completes a review of whether those in charge of the province's white-hot housing market should continue regulating themselves.
Carolyn Rogers is leaving her position as CEO of the Financial Institutions Commission of B.C. (FICOM), which oversees the real estate, credit union, pension and mortgage brokering industries, at the end of July to become an assistant superintendent at the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, the agency that regulates Canada's banks.
She said she will continue leading an independent panel reviewing the real estate industry's self-regulating body, the Real Estate Council of British Columbia. The panel is expected to issue a final report in mid-June, she said on Thursday.
"The end result will be something that serves the consumers of British Columbia well, and I'm looking forward to delivering that report," she told reporters during a conference call.
Ms. Rogers took over the post in 2010. She has served as chair of the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators and was the first chair of the Credit Union Prudential Supervisors Association.
She said overseeing so many industries does require FICOM to prioritize its resources effectively, and the provincial government may want to consider whether the current system is adequate as part of its upcoming reviews into laws governing mortgage brokers and financial institutions.
Ms. Rogers said the independent panel is studying ways in which her successor can have the "tools to be more pro-active" in oversight of the real estate industry. The real estate council has regulated all licensed realtors since 2005, when a new law empowered it to make its own rules. FICOM oversees the council.
In a speech to the province's realtors at the end of March, Ms. Rogers admitted she had not spent a lot of time worrying about their sector until a Globe and Mail investigation earlier this year revealed dubious practices among some agents in Metro Vancouver's frothy market.
"Well, I'm back. And I am worried," she said at the annual general meeting of the B.C. Real Estate Association. "And I can tell you that I have spent little time on anything but your sector in the last two months."
Vancouver MLA David Eby, the opposition housing critic, said the loss of such an experienced regulator could not come at a worse time, as the real estate industry faces impending changes.
"The upside of her going to the federal level, and having fewer attachments at home, is it may make her feel more free to speak the truth about what she's found – without any fear of any kind of retaliation from any special interests," Mr. Eby said. "Her successor is going to have to come up to speed very quickly on the issues in the B.C. real estate market and the lack of public confidence in the oversight of realtors who break the rules."
A provincial finance ministry spokesperson said there is no timeline for replacing Ms. Rogers, but the government will balance the need to find a new CEO quickly with a thorough search for a suitable candidate.