The main steps to becoming a broker are:
- Successfully complete a basic training program recognized by the OACIQ and obtain access to synbad.com at the very beginning of one’s real estate brokerage studies;
- Prepare for the OACIQ certification examination;
- Submit an application to take an OACIQ examination after checking the calendar to this effect;
- Be called for the exam, pass it and receive one’s results by email;
To pass the certification examination, the candidate must master all the competencies described in the framework corresponding to the field in which he wishes to practice. Competency frameworks form an integral part of the basic training programs recognized by the OACIQ. They are used as a basis to prepare OACIQ certification examinations, hence the importance of responding to all elements of the certification examination1.
No exam results are given over the phone. A grade review may be requested. To do so, the candidate must send the duly completed Request for examination grade review form to the OACIQ no later than the 15th day following the date on which the results were mailed;
- Submit a licence application within 12 months of receiving your results (for more information, see the section Broker licence issuance);
- Obtain confirmation from the OACIQ that the licence has been issued.
1Since May 1, 2020, applications for a mortgage broker's licence must be made to the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF). For more details about applying to the AMF, please visit their website.
A person who successfully takes the OACIQ residential or commercial real estate brokerage certification examination may apply for issuance of a licence in the corresponding field of practice. This must be done within 12 months of receiving the examination’s results.
The Real Estate Brokerage Act mandates the Licence Issue and Maintenance Committee (LIMC) to assess each application received.
In accordance with section 37 of the REBA, the LIMC may refuse to issue a licence or may impose restrictions or conditions if the individual applying for the licence:
- has already had his licence revoked, suspended or made subject to restrictions or conditions by the Discipline Committee or by a body in Québec responsible for overseeing and monitoring real estate brokerage, or by such a body in another province or State;
- has made an assignment of property or been placed under a receiving order pursuant to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (R.S.C. 1985, c. B-3);
- has previously been convicted, by a court, of an offence or an indictable offence which, in the Organization’s opinion, is related to brokerage transactions, or has pleaded guilty to such an offence; or
- has been assigned a tutor, curator or adviser.
Learn more about the criteria used by the LIMC to assess licence issuance applications in this article. A broker whose licence has been revoked but who benefits from acquired rights has 12 months from the date of revocation to apply for issuance of a licence (see the section Broker licence status: suspension, revocation, conditions and restrictions for more details.)
The validity period of a real estate broker licence is from May 1 to April 30. For the licence to remain valid, the broker must complete various steps before April 30 of each year, including paying the applicable fees and updating his personal information. In addition to the annual renewal steps, the broker must meet certain requirements, such as completing the training activities under the Mandatory Continuing Education Program (MCEP). Failing this, the broker’s licence could be suspended, revoked or made subject to conditions or restrictions.
A broker who wishes to maintain his real estate brokerage licence with the OACIQ must meet the following obligations.
- Update his personal information
No later than April 30 of each year, following receipt of his notice of licence renewal, the broker has an obligation to update his personal information via the OACIQ’s Online Checkout. At that time, in addition to updating this information, including his e-mail address, the broker must notify the Certification Department of any change to the information provided with a previous application for issuance or since his last update. The broker must also notify the OACIQ of any criminal act or offence of which he was found guilty by a criminal or ethics tribunal, as well as of any bankruptcy, whether or not discharged. The broker’s file is then analyzed to determine if it should be submitted to the Licence Issue and Maintenance Committee (LIMC). If warranted for public protection purposes, the LIMC may impose one of the measures outlined in section 38 of the Real Estate Brokerage Act, including suspending or revoking a licence or making it subject to conditions or restrictions.
- Pay the annual fees, including the contribution to the Real Estate Brokerage Indemnity Fund (FICI)
By April 30 of each year at the latest, the broker must pay his licence fees upon receipt of his renewal notice. An Online Checkout is available to do so during the licence renewal period.
The FICI contribution must be paid with the licence application, and annually thereafter.
- Complete the Mandatory Continuing Education Program (MCEP)
Every two years, the broker must fulfill the requirements of the current cycle of the Mandatory Continuing Education Program (MCEP) by obtaining a predetermined number of continuing education units (CEU). The broker must complete elective and OACIQ mandatory trainings based on the field in which he is authorized to practice or on his licence designations.
- Update his photo
Every five years, the broker must update his licence photo in My record on synbad.com. In accordance with section 12 of the Regulation respecting of broker’s and agency licences, the broker must submit to the OACIQ a photo taken in the last six months. Since the photo will appear on the licence and in the Register of OACIQ licence holders, it must be current for identification purposes and for the protection of members of the public doing business with a broker. An assessment by the Certification Department is made regarding compliance with professional image standards. There is no charge for updating the photo if done within 12 months prior to the five-year deadline. After of this period, fees apply.
- Commit to complete a given training requirement within a certain period
A broker may be required to complete a training session within a given period following a commitment made with the Syndic, the Public Assistance Department or the Inspection Department of the OACIQ. Training may also be required by the LIMC or by the Discipline Committee. If the broker does not comply with this commitment or decision within the prescribed period, his license will be suspended.
- Maintain a professional liability insurance policy
All real estate brokers in Québec who hold a valid licence issued by the OACIQ have insurance coverage under the Fonds d’assurance responsabilité professionnelle du courtage immobilier du Québec (FARCIQ). In accordance with the Real Estate Brokerage Act, annual enrollment in the FARCIQ insurance policy is mandatory for all licence holders during the licence renewal period.
- Maintain a trust account for brokers acting on their own account
A broker acting on his own account must maintain a trust account. To this end, he must, during the annual self-inspection period and no later than March 31 of each year, submit a Trust Account Transaction Report, this even if there has been no activity in the account during the year or if the balance remained at $0. Failure to comply with this obligation in a timely manner could lead to certain measures, including the filing of a disciplinary complaint.
Note that brokers are exempt from this obligation if they receive no deposit, advance on remuneration or costs from their clients or any other sum for others. When they are no longer in this situation, they must immediately notify the OACIQ in writing and comply with the obligations relating to trust accounts.3 Read this article for more information.
- Comply with the conditions of the licence
Needless to say, the licence holder must comply with the conditions associated with his licence at all times, as defined in the REBA and its regulations (for example, the requirements relating to operating within a business corporation). He must also comply with the rules of ethics at all times, as failure to do so could result in the filing of a disciplinary complaint by the OACIQ Syndic, and the suspension or revocation of his licence by the Discipline Committee. Elements such as a conviction for a criminal act in the course of the broker’s career can also affect the real estate broker’s licence, because the LIMC could, for example, impose conditions or restrictions on the licence or even suspend it in order to ensure public protection (section 38 REBA).
2 Sections 10 and 11 of the Regulation respecting the broker’s and agency licences.
3 S. 24 of the Regulation respecting brokerage requirements, professional conduct of brokers and advertising
If the broker fails to comply with his regulatory obligations outlined in section 6.3.1 and his licence is suspended or revoked, he must:
- cease all brokerage-related activities without delay;
- remove all advertising;
- if acting on behalf of an agency: notify in writing without delay the parties he represents that he is no longer authorized to act on the agency’s behalf, and inform them of the identity of the broker appointed to replace him. This notice must inform the parties of their right to continue doing business with the agency or to terminate the contract (see this article for more details);
- if acting on his own account, notify his clients without delay that his brokerage contracts have been automatically terminated.
Before being allowed to return to practice, the broker must:
- declare whether he engaged in brokerage acts during the licence suspension or revocation period. If so, the Syndic will be informed and may take any measures deemed appropriate;
- certify that he has notified all of his clients that he is no longer authorized to act on brokerage contracts in progress;
- if the broker’s licence is revoked, he must also:
- pay the fees applicable to the review of his licence application and his criminal record check (these fees are not refundable if the file is submitted to the LIMC and the latter ultimately decides to refuse to issue the licence), in addition to the applicable fees and any other sum due to the OACIQ;
- complete and forward the form Application for issuance of a licence;
- undergo a criminal record check if one has not been conducted in the past six months;
- if he has a business corporation, fill out the form Application for authorization to practice within a business corporation (PDF) and return it to the OACIQ with the payment of the applicable administrative fees;
- meet all other regulatory requirements.
- if the broker’s licence is suspended, he must also:
- pay the applicable fees for lifting the licence suspension, in addition to any other sum due to the OACIQ;
- complete and forward the form Request for lifting of licence suspension;
- demonstrate that the reason for the suspension no longer exists. For example, the broker could be required to:
- fill out and forward his personal information update form;
- complete his MCEP or a training requirement further to a commitment;
- update his photo.
- meet all other regulatory requirements.
The broker should know that he will have to wait a few days (or a few weeks during busy periods such as the annual licence renewal period) for his application to be reviewed by the Certification Department. A written confirmation from the OACIQ will inform him when he is authorized to resume his activities.