Brokers from outside the province: How to get the right to practise in Québec
Are you an agency executive officer or a real estate broker from another province, Canadian or territory or another country and wish to practise in Québec? Here is how your professional qualifications could be recognized.
Under the Real Estate Brokerage Act and its regulations1, the real estate brokerage practice is regulated in Québec by the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ). Note that although leasing brokerage is no longer reserved for brokers, brokers or agencies from outside Quebec are required to obtain a licence or special authorization from the OACIQ to carry out leasing brokerage activities in Quebec.2
To promote the mobility of professionals practising outside of Québec, the OACIQ can issue licences to individuals who are qualified and authorized to engage in brokerage transactions (within the meaning of section 3.1 of the Real Estate Brokerage Act) in another province or Canadian territory.
What is labour mobility in Canada?
It is a principle provided for in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) by means of which workers' professional qualifications should be recognized to facilitate mobility between provinces and territories while practising their profession.
However, the principle of labour mobility must not be interpreted or applied to avoid the application of the general terms and conditions for licence issuance set out in the Real Estate Brokerage Act.
To benefit from this recognition, the applicant must hold a valid licence issued by a Canadian province at the time of application.
In addition, since each application is unique, assessing it to determine whether an applicant is in a labour mobility situation is done based on all its specific circumstances. In some cases, to assess an application, the OACIQ may request the applicant's licence history from the regulator in his province, as well as proof that he has already carried out transactions.
Finally, it should be noted that under the CFTA, certain conditions may apply, especially when an applicant has not practised the profession for a certain period.
Obtaining an OACIQ licence
An equivalent licence in the same field of practice (“issuing a licence on presentation of another licence”) can be issued by the OACIQ if:
- The candidate holds a valid real estate broker’s or agency executive officer’s licence from another province or Canadian territory at the time of application;
- The candidate passes the OACIQ interprovincial challenge examination;
- The candidate demonstrates his knowledge of French language, see the OQLF's French exam page;
- The candidate meets other issuance conditions.
Obtain a special authorization from the OACIQ when you are not in a labour mobility situation
The OACIQ may also issue a special 12-month authorization to a broker and agency from another jurisdiction (or another country) or to a broker who is not in a labour mobility situation. The special authorization may be for punctual and occasional brokerage transactions in Quebec3, for example, to carry out a leasing brokerage activity.
During the validity of his special authorization, the licensee shall, among other things:
- hold a valid licence issued by the real estate brokerage regulator in his jurisdiction;
- respect all the obligations of OACIQ licensees as if he is one of them;
- deposit all sums entrusted to him into a trust account maintained by an OACIQ licensee, if applicable;
- be assisted in his activities by an OACIQ licensee designated by the OACIQ or chosen by the holder of the special authorization;
- indicate his jurisdiction of origin and specify that he holds a special authorization from the OACIQ in all advertising, solicitation and representation related to brokerage transactions.
The application for a special authorization shall be submitted in writing. It must be sent to the OACIQ, to the attention of the Certification Department, at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application for the special authorization must include the following:
- Applicant's contact information;
- Proof of holding a valid real estate brokerage licence in another province or state;
- The nature of the proposed brokerage activities, including the property involved and the term of the brokerage contract;
- The name of a contact person who holds a real estate brokerage licence in Quebec to assist him in his activities and who holds a trust account, which may be used for the purposes of the proposed transaction;
- A statement by the applicant that he undertakes to act within the limits of the special authorization to be issued to him by the OACIQ.
After the issuance of his special authorization, the holder shall include the following statements in all his advertisements:
- mention of the Canadian province or territory or the country where the holder is legally authorized to engage in brokerage transactions (within the meaning of section 3.1 of the Real Estate Brokerage Act); and
- mention to the effect that the holder is specially authorized to engage in brokerage transactions in Québec (within the meaning of section 3.1 of the Real Estate Brokerage Act).
The holder must also specify the limits on the special authorization. In addition, the holder of a special authorization must immediately inform in writing every person with whom he is dealing in connection with brokerage activities in Québec of the special authorization and of its limits.
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1 For more information on the regulatory framework, read the Regulation respecting broker’s and agency licences (CQLR, c. C-73.2, r. 3)available on the Act, By-laws and Regulations page.
2Act to amend various legislative provisions mainly concerning the financial sector, SQ 2021, c. 34, s.55. (In force since December 8, 2021).
3Section 40 and following of the Regulation respecting broker’s and agency licences.