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BCFSA’s Discipline Hearings conducted under Real Estate Development Marketing Act are open to the public unless otherwise indicated.
Currently, all proceedings will be heard by audio or video conference or conducted in writing, following BCFSA’s Virtual Proceedings Procedures.
To ensure fairness of the hearing process, the Superintendent has delegated the authority to hear matters to Hearing Officers who will preside over and conduct hearings under section 29 of the Real Estate Development Marketing Act.
A Notice of Hearing is not a finding of non-compliance.
Hearing decisions are published in Decisions.
Section 15 of the Real Estate Development Marketing Regulation sets out that every policy statement, matter respecting exemption, suspension or cancelation and order is to be made freely accessible to the public.
BCFSA does not publish information about developers or persons that would be considered unreasonable invasions of privacy and redacts third-party information in any published material.
Hearings are open to the public unless the Hearing Officer(s) determine that a hearing, or portion of a hearing, must be held in camera to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of financial or personal matters, or other confidential information that would be damaging to any of the parties. In determining whether a hearing, or a portion of a hearing, should not be open to the public, the Hearing Officer will consider whether:
- A public hearing would be unduly prejudicial to a party or a witness; and
- Whether it would not be prejudicial to the public interest to order that the public be excluded for all or part of the hearing.
If you plan to attend a hearing: Please register in advance by contacting the Hearing Coordinator at least 7 days prior to the scheduled hearing date. Advance registration is required to ensure there is sufficient space to accommodate all those who wish to attend. Observers must agree to abide by the Observer Guidelines.
If you are attending a hearing as a witness or participant, you do not need to register in advance. A Witness/Participant List will be submitted to the Hearing Coordinator by the party who has asked you to participate during the hearing.
Before you attend a hearing: Confirm that the hearing is on schedule by checking the Upcoming Hearings Page or by contacting the Hearing Coordinator.
Members of the media: Please contact [email protected] in advance of the hearing date if you plan to attend a hearing. Advance registration is required.
Generally, the public does not have access to copies of hearing materials, including exhibits and the submissions of the parties. A person who requests access to hearing materials must make an application for access to BCFSA’s Hearings Department. A Hearing Officer will consider applications for access having regard to the public interest and privacy interests.
In considering an application, the Hearing Officer may:
- Consult the parties to the proceeding;
- Give the parties the opportunity to provide redacted copies of the requested hearing materials; or
- Require the person who obtains access to hearing materials to provide an undertaking to keep confidential any third-party personal information that is disclosed.
If the Hearing Officer provides access to hearing materials, personal information will usually be redacted to protect the privacy of parties, witnesses, and third parties. Other sensitive information may also be redacted. A person who requests access to unredacted hearing materials must make an application setting out the reasons BCFSA should provide this information, including the potential impact on the privacy interests of parties, witnesses, and third parties.
Once a hearing has been scheduled, the Hearing Officer may order a pre-hearing conference with the parties. A pre-hearing conference ensures that all parties are fully prepared and clarifies any issues so the hearing can proceed smoothly.
The conference, which is attended by a BCFSA lawyer and led by a Hearing Officer, gives developers an opportunity to ensure that they understand what will be expected of them at the hearing. Find out more about pre-hearing conferences by reviewing the following frequently asked questions.
A pre-hearing conference is a meeting held in advance of a scheduled hearing with a BCFSA lawyer, a Hearing Officer, and a developer that is the subject of an investigation for alleged contraventions of the Real Estate Development Marketing Act, including its associated regulations.
A pre-hearing conference can be used to:
- Ensure the parties and the case are ready for the hearing;
- Clarify or simplify the issues so that the hearing will proceed smoothly;
- Determine if there is agreement on any of the facts or issues;
- Set a date for the hearing;
- Determine whether the identity of any witnesses may need to be withheld at the hearing; or
- Discuss any other issues.
Pre-hearing conferences are used by courts and many regulators. By giving all parties an opportunity to ensure they understand the issues and what is expected of them, pre-hearing conferences help hearings run smoothly and proceed efficiently. They make disciplinary and enforcement processes more effective, less time-consuming and less costly for everyone.
No. Pre-hearing conferences are opportunities for developers, BCFSA lawyers, and the Hearing Officer to discuss the upcoming hearing and the issues that will be raised at the hearing.
Pre-hearing conferences are held in advance of a scheduled hearing. Members of the public may attend discipline and enforcement hearings; however, pre-hearing conferences are not open to the public.
Developers and their representatives (if any) should arrive at the pre-hearing conference with a good understanding of the matter, the evidence they will present at a hearing, the arguments they will make, and the outcome they would like to achieve. However, you will not be required to argue your case at the pre-hearing conference; this will occur at the hearing.
Participants can choose to attend in person, by phone, or through video conferencing. You can also choose to have your legal counsel attend in your place.
If you decide not to attend the pre-hearing conference, the conference can still proceed in your absence.