Get to Know BCREA Government Relations: The Voice of BC’s REALTORS®

Jan 17, 2022

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Posted by
Pearl Zhou
Communications Coordinator

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When there are more than 23,000 REALTORS® in British Columbia, having a collective, industry voice can be difficult. This is why BCREA has a dedicated Government Relations department to support BC Realtors.

Sometimes, new Realtors overlook the importance of public policy related to the real estate industry, affecting the profession—especially now, when change has dawned upon the sector.

To ensure BC Realtors are heard, BCREA’s Government Relations team works with all levels of government to advocate for public policy relating to the real estate industry and real estate practice. They make policy recommendations to the provincial government, have an ongoing dialogue with provincial officials, and collaborate with industry stakeholders to guarantee the sector is included in policymaking.

Some of BCREA’s top advocacy priorities include:  

The Government Relations team publishes Connections, a quarterly newsletter highlighting advocacy news, focusing on BCREA’s government relations activities to keep in touch with Realtors.

Their recent works include participation in the Cullen Commission, consultation to reforming the provincial regulator, and advocacy during the 2021 Federal Election. Read more about the Government Relations’ advocacy work on the BCREA Blog.

But for now, let’s get to know our Government Relations department with a few questions with BCREA Vice President Trevor Hargreaves.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your career at BCREA.
    • My career background of more than 25 years has been a slow transition from journalism to corporate communications to government relations. Before joining BCREA, I was heavily involved in international trade policy related to CETA, TPP and NAFTA on the government relations side and with various commodities sectors, emergency management and First Nations issues.

      I’m thankful that my career has repetitively positioned me in the middle of evolving national issues, as we are currently amidst escalating pressure on our sector tied to housing affordability and consumer protection.

      When we talk about the Government Relations team at BCREA, by no means am I a solo show. My department is staffed by Advocacy Projects Manager Mark Sakai and Senior Policy Analyst Matt Mayers.

      Aside from work, I’m an avid skier and hiker, and I have two children bordering their teenage years, which is its own complex policy dynamic.
  2. Why is it essential for new real estate professionals to stay informed with public policy?
    • Change is upon the real estate sector, and it’s happening now. Public concern about housing affordability is high, and federal and provincial governments feel pressure to enact change.

      We know the real fix is market supply, and so do they, but interim measures to curry favour are becoming ever more common. These temporary measures put our sector at risk.

      To navigate these challenges, we need to act strategically, professionally and united at the national, provincial and board levels over the next few years. In many ways, we’re better equipped to find solutions for broad housing issues than the government, and we need to work together to get to these solutions before the government mandates less thought-out options upon us.
  3. BCREA has several advocacy resources. Which resources do you recommend new Realtors have a look at first?
    • Advocacy Update is our core Government Relations communications initiative for the time being. As we gateway into 2022, we’re reviewing our communications structure and better informing the membership on the various quickly developing issues. It’s important that we increasingly utilize methods to equip concerned membership to amplify our voice with government, media and the public amidst our advocacy efforts.

      I also suggest following the BCREA blog posts on our website to keep up with various issues as they evolve.
  4. Could you tell us a little about the Advocacy Update newsletter and how it benefits new Realtors?
    • Advocacy Update serves as a monthly update on all things internal Government Relations. Aside from the written content on issues, meetings and advocacy direction, it often includes a quick video debrief update on what’s happening and any notable announcements.

      I can certainly say that within my time at BCREA, policy work and relations are pressured and moving quickly. So, there has never been a better time to educate yourself on all that is happening.
  5. Since your time at BCREA, what’s one project you worked on that you’re most proud of?
    • Our anti-money laundering issue positioned the sector ahead of the government and highly collaborated with other industry stakeholders. In addition, our work on advocacy around supply has significantly grown to influence the national dialogue.

      I’m also incredibly proud of our swift action after the intention of a cooling-off period was announced by the province. The announcement was highly concerning to us at BCREA and right across the sector—especially regarding the consideration of market intervention.

      I have never seen the sector align to take a more coordinated, strong set of steps in response. Such actions speak to how we need to address our collective futures by working together. I’m optimistic about our next steps as a sector and how we shall take a stronger and united set of steps in 2022.

      Change is happening now, and it’s exciting! I encourage you, as new Realtors, to get increasingly knowledgeable about our core issues, take a more active role and be part of that change.

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