Amid the reports that it’s perfectly legal for unlicensed real estate agents to work in BC as long as they’re foreign brokers, the BC NDP Housing Critic says the government is clawing back money that’s supposed to be for tracking illegal transactions.
David Eby says the Financial Institutions Commission of B.C., under whose umbrella the Superintendent of Real Estate falls, can’t do its job because it’s understaffed.
Eby says money the government collects from the real estate industry for regulation has been put into general revenue, while the province pleads poverty for funding auditors.
“In this recent year it was almost $5-million that they clawed back into general revenue, that was supposed to go into paying auditors.”
“In a previous year; $3-million.”
Eby says the move has left FICOM badly under resourced.
“Essentially it’s a hidden tax, it’s supposed to go into hiring these auditors to oversee these industries, and instead the Ministry of Finance is clawing it back into the province’s general revenue.”
An executive director at the Auditor General’s office told a legislative committee last week FICOM would only need the government’s go ahead to raise the pay scales for auditors.
Meanwhile a statement from the ministry says the staff he’s talking about only review credit unions, and don’t audit real estate transactions, it also says FICOM – among other public sector employers – now have more flexibility on hiring given rosier economic numbers.
Nobody from the ministry was available for questions.