June 9, 2014 – WINNIPEG – The Manitoba Real Estate Association met today with consumer protection minister Ron Lemieux and senior staff in the finance department to discuss concerns about the lack of an up-to-date and accurate public registry of drug production sites and the need for standards for remediation of affected properties.
REALTORS® are required by the Manitoba Securities Commission to disclose whenever they are aware that a property was once a drug production site. However, there are no accurate, up-to-date records available to the public or to REALTORS® to check for this information. The RCMP registry is not updated regularly, and currently is not available at all. The Winnipeg Police Service registry removes all drug production site listings once they have been in place on the police list for one year.
After a positive and informative meeting around the issue, the parties determined the next step should be the creation of a formalized working group of key stakeholders to bring recommendations to the Manitoba government towards a “made in Manitoba” solution.
“This is a good step forward towards doing the right thing to better protect consumers and to help create safer, healthier communities,” said MREA CEO Brian Collie. “We are pleased to work together to find appropriate solutions,” Collie said.
By agreement between MREA and minister Lemieux, the new working group will include officials and experts who work in this area to explore the issues further and to provide the minister with recommendations on what can be done to give home buyers and REALTORS® better information on drug production sites. The group will convene in the fall after key representatives are recruited.
In the coming weeks, government staff will be examining what steps are being taken in other jurisdictions to address the issues and to hold REALTORS® to account for disclosing to customers when there is knowledge that a house was a former drug production site. MREA staff will be collecting and sharing progress made in real estate boards and associations across the country on this issue.
Minister Lemieux thanked the REALTOR® group for advancing this important issue and MREA representatives look forward to working with the Manitoba government to recommend individuals who could bring expert representation to the new working group.