It was agreed at the January 2010 Board Planning Retreat that an important challenge for ACMO moving forward is how to best meet the educational needs of the profession/industry (R.C.M./ACMO2000). Focusing on the R.C.M., it was agreed that a program of continuing education needs to be designed, developed and implemented to allow R.C.M.s to maintain their designation. At the 2011 Board Planning Retreat, the board identified as ACMO’s main, longer-term goal, the licensing of property managers. This decision simply solidified the need for a formal continuing education program. The ACMO Code of Professional Ethics, which every R.C.M. is bound by, already requires continuing education to be done, and ACMO is aware that many of its R.C.M.s already undertake this additional education. This policy will simply formalize the requirements, reporting and enforcement procedures.
An R.C.M. in every condo.
One of the ways to ensure that R.C.M.s are seen to be highly desirable by condominium corporations is to promote the designation as credible, and those that hold it as knowledgeable and adding value to any condominium corporation they work in. Letting boards of directors know that ongoing learning for R.C.M.s is a part of maintaining their designation only serves to reinforce the credibility and value-added of an R.C.M.
Objectives of a CE Program
- To ensure that those who have their R.C.M. stay current with the newest information, trends and technology, and legislation.
- To ensure that the system is achievable for members.
- To ensure that ACMO members understand the steps to achieve credit, the value of continuing education and the consequences of non-compliance.
- To ensure that the condominium industry and general public are aware of the differences between property managers who have their R.C.M. (and all that it entails) and those who do not.
What is Required Force and in What Time Frame?
Every R.C.M. is required to earn 20 CE points in the reporting period.
The CE Program will be officially launched at the September 2011 luncheon, with the reporting period for the implementation phase being September 2011 to December 2012. Thereafter, each reporting period will be the calendar year, synchronized with membership renewal.
For new R.C.M.s, their initial reporting period will be the balance of the year in which they received their R.C.M., plus the following calendar year. For example, if a person earned their R.C.M. in April 2011, their initial reporting period, in which they must earn 20 points, will run until December 2012.
The 20 points will be based on hours in the following way:
A qualifying seminar which runs for 30 minutes will equal 1 point.
A qualifying seminar which runs for one hour will equal 2 points.
Thus, a total of ten hours of continuing education must be completed per year.
What Qualifies As Acceptable Continuing Education?
An initial list of existing ACMO programs that qualify for continuing education points and those offered by other associations will be posted on ACMO’s website. In the first year of the program’s implementation, a pilot project of 10 webinars will be offered in partnership with Associate Members to ensure that R.C.M.s outside of the GTA will easily be able to achieve the required 20 points.
There will also be the option for R.C.M.s (particularly those outside the GTA) to submit outlines of seminars offered in their areas by municipalities, suppliers, etc. to be approved by the Director of Education and PD Committee to qualify for continuing education points.
At this point, the following list has been developed of what will qualify as continuing education (it will be impossible to develop an all-encompassing list, but the following should act as a guideline for the types of education that will qualify):
- Attending the sessions at the ACMO/CCI-T Annual Conference
- Attending ACMO luncheons (in person or via the web)
- Breakfast/Lunch and Learn sessions at property management companies where a guest speaker provides industry-related information
- Attending sessions at PM Expo and Spring Fest
- Attending seminars offered by other associations like CCI, OREA, REIC, BOMA, OSSA, etc.
- Teaching an ACMO course in-house or at one of the colleges or an R.C.M. Refresher Course (please note that teaching a course will count for a maximum of 50% of the 20 required CE points)
- Speaking at the ACMO/CCI-T Annual Conference (but not acting as a moderator)
- Municipal/other government seminars, sessions offered by Tarion, etc.
What is The Reporting Mechanism?
It is proposed that there will be a requirement initially for R.C.M.s to submit a form once per year (with membership renewal) outlining how they achieved their 20 points (in other words, what courses/sessions were attended).
It is the goal of ACMO to provide R.C.M.s with the ability to track their points through the ACMO website, and reminder notices will need to be generated by ACMO staff, or through the use of a tracking system at several points throughout the year to remind members to record their points and again to submit them. A Continuing Education News column will appear in each Quarterly Newsletter to list that Quarter’s CE offerings as well as to remind/educate R.C.M.s about the need to track their points, how many points they require and by when, and reporting deadlines.
There will also be a process of random audits of submissions each year. It is recommended that 5% of R.C.M.s be audited each year. This will entail confirming their attendance at the various seminars they have used to reach their 20 points.
What is The Enforcement Process?
Each R.C.M. will be asked to submit their form with their payment of membership fees. As with current membership invoices, three reminders will go out to those R.C.M.s who have not submitted their continuing education form.
At the end of March each year, we will have the list of those R.C.M.s who have paid their fees but have not declared their continuing education points. ACMO staff will call each of these people to determine what the reason for non-compliance may be and to encourage those who have legitimate reasons to apply in writing to the PD Committee for an extension or waiver of the requirement. This type of extension or waiver would apply, for example, to those who are on maternity leave, or are experiencing health issues which preclude them from completing their CE obligations. The Director of Education will provide recommendations to the PD Committee regarding waivers or extensions (based on criteria to be developed by the PD Committee).
For those who have no legitimate reasons or who indicate they will not comply with the CE requirement, this will be reported to the PD Committee. The Chair of the PD Committee will make a written complaint of this particular breach of professional ethics to the Ethics Committee, which will follow its usual procedures in the case of complaints.