34 real estate agents in the Toronto area have lost the provincial registry that allows them to sell real estate in Ontario after Humber College found “deliberate and organized fraud” in connection with exams in their real estate education program.
In a statement issued on November 2, the college said it is aware of dishonesty around the end of exams and that it will review past, present and future exams to identify other instances of dishonesty or suspicious behavior.
The details of the dishonesty are still unclear.
Humber says it has suspended and sanctioned those responsible, and it has notified the industrial regulator, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), of the registered sellers who were guilty of the offense.
RECO’s website shows that it completed the registration of 34 sellers on October 29th. In each case, the council cited “failure to complete the designated training courses required to be eligible to practice under the Real Estate and Commercial Realtors Act, 2002.”
In an email statement, Humber said it takes academic integrity seriously and that the real estate program “has robust measures” to monitor exams, along with policies to counter academic dishonesty. It said these measures are in line with other programs of the College and programs of other institutions.
All Humber exams, including those conducted online, are subject to proctoring using a virtual service called Proctortrack, the college’s website says.
Humber’s “policy of fraudulent conduct for students” mentions plagiarism, copying, the purchase of exams, and collaboration on the performance of tasks as being subject to sanctions.
Brokers are required to take five courses and two rounds of business simulations to qualify for registration with RECO. Thereafter, agents have two years to complete three additional courses.
To enroll in the Humber real estate program, an applicant must have completed high school or have a designated equivalence. It costs $ 3,590 to take the pre-registration program. The three courses after registration cost $ 570, according to the college’s website.
In 2019, RECO gave Humber the responsibility of training new real estate agents. Until then, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) had provided training for the sector. At the time of the change, OREA expressed concern about the rigor of online education and testing.
On Friday, however, it sent a statement to Star praising the swift action of RECO and Humber.
“Anyone who gets caught cheating during exams in real estate programs should be kicked out of the subject and a thorough investigation should be made of any existing agency or brokerage firms that may have helped,” said OREA CEO Tim Hudak.
He said the association is working with RECO and Humber “to support the robust measures taken to preserve the integrity of the real estate industry and weed out anyone who did not legally pass their licensing exams.”