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Co-signing – The backbone of AIC future

The Appraisal Institute of Canada’s Admissions and Accreditation Committee (AAC), at the Board’s direction, has developed a mandatory training course for co-signers to support them in the challenging and pivotal role of mentor and guide to the next generation of AIC appraisers. 

The course is available on demand, online through the University of British Columbia (UBC) learning platform. Any existing co-signer has until March 1, 2021 or until adding a new Candidate, whichever comes first. AIC Members are Canada’s appraisers of choice. AIC continually works with the membership to ensure that our position as the trusted leaders in the valuation industry is not only maintained, but enhanced. 

The AAC has spent years evaluating the Applied Experience Program and, in doing so, has identified gaps in the co-signing program. The need for a robust policy and training to help our co-signing Members develop qualified appraisers is clear.

AAC, AIC and the Board of Directors know that the majority of Members who co-sign for Candidates are conscientious guides and mentors. However, over the years, some shortcomings in the program have been revealed. Since implementing Work Product Review into the Path to Designation, AIC has been able to examine a Candidate’s end work product that goes to their clients. 

Co-signing and the Canadian Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (CUSPAP)

CUSPAP now specifies an ethical requirement for supervision when co-signing: ”A Member acting as a Co-signer must provide the Member seeking designation with adequate and reasonable supervision and advisory services.” CUSPAP states that it is unethical for:

  • An AIC Member to sign or co-sign a report without accepting responsibility for the contents of the entire report, unless the Member clearly indicates the portion(s) of the report for which they do and do not accept responsibility.
  • AIC Candidate Members to sign any report unless the report is co-signed by an appropriately designated and insured Member with whom they are properly registered in the Candidate Co-Signing Registry.

Co-signing and the AIC Professional Liability Insurance Program

Members are required to be designated and properly qualified and competent to sign or co-sign a report. 

  • Reports prepared by a Candidate require the co-signature of a CRA or an AACI Designated Member as appropriate.
  • Both the signer and the co-signer must have proper insurance in place at the time:
    • the report was completed, and
    • the claim is made.
  • A Designated Member would have no insurance coverage if they co-sign a report prepared by:
    • An uninsured Designated Member,
    • A Candidate who is not properly registered in the Candidate Co-signing Registry, or
    • appraisers who are not Members of the AIC.

Co-signers and their Candidates must be familiar with the:

  • Candidate Co-signing Policy,

Is this new?
NO! The responsibilities of cosigners have always been clearly outlined in CUSPAP. To clarify and reinforce the requirements in CUSPAP, the AIC Board of Directors approved a Candidate Co-signing Policy developed by the AAC that is effective as of March 1, 2020.

  • Co-Signing Register,
  • Candidate Look-up Tool.

Candidate Co-signing Policy – key points

The Candidate Co-Signing Policy has two objectives:

  1. To ensure that Candidate Members’ reports meet the requirements of CUSPAP; and
  2. To ensure that a Co-Signing relationship provides a Candidate Member with appropriate supervision and an effective learning environment to support their successful achievement of an AIC designation.

Co-signer responsibilities

It is the co-signer’s responsibility to:

  • ensure that they and the Candidate are properly registered in the AIC Candidate Co-signing Registry;
  • complete any required co-signing course(s):
    • prior to registration for new Candidates, or
    • within 12 months of the effective date of this policy document for pre-registered Candidates.
    • let the Candidate know if their membership status has changed (i.e., suspension of membership and/or designation);
    • have the competence – including geographic – to co-sign reports for the Candidate;
    • assume responsibility for the report;
    • ensure that all reports comply with CUSPAP by:
    • verifying that the Candidate has the necessary competence;
    • confirming that all reports indicate any Professional Assistance the Candidate provided in production of the report;
    • specifying any deficiencies in the report and ensuring the Candidate addresses them satisfactorily before providing a co-signature; and
    • confirming that the Candidate accepts and understands the reasons for, any changes made to the report before it is delivered to a client.
    • A co-signer is not required to perform every task of an assignment such as inspection, costing, depreciation, analysis, etc. However, the co-signer must oversee and provide guidance to the Candidate as they undertake these tasks.
    • supervise, instruct, guide, and advise the Candidate and:
    • accompany the Candidate:
      • on a minimum of ten property inspections until the Candidate gains the necessary competence to conduct unsupervised inspections for a given property type;
      • on the inspection of any subsequent property type the Candidate is unfamiliar with until the Candidate gains the necessary competence to conduct unsupervised inspections for that property type;
    • A Co-signer does not necessarily have to inspect the subject property. However, the report must indicate that the property was not inspected by the Co-signer and indicate that the Candidate inspected the property in the Certification.
    • confirm that the Candidate clearly understands:
    • the purpose and intended use of an assignment;
    • the scope of the work required for an assignment;
    • any problems, constraints, or issues arising in the circumstances for an assignment;
    • the legislative (federal, provincial and/or municipal) requirements or limitations that can influence an assignment; and
    • valuation and inspection best practices including proper note taking, measurement practices, and requirements for consent for photos.
    • work with the Candidate towards achieving success as a competent and ethical valuation professional by:
    • providing instruction on the First Principles of Value and the development and application of professional competencies;
    • highlighting areas of weakness in the Candidate’s report writing and helping the Candidate work towards improvement; and
    • offering support to the Candidate including reviewing the Candidate’s Applied Experience Progress Report record.
    • maintain a respectful and productive working relationship with the Candidate; and
    • provide a professional, harassment-free, and safe learning environment.

Candidate responsibilities

It is the Candidate’s responsibility to:

  • ensure the accuracy of their information;
  • ensure that they and their co-signer are properly registered in the Candidate Co-signing Registry;
  • let their co-signer(s) know of any changes to their membership status (e.g.: suspension of membership and/or designation);
  • take responsibility for the reports they write – subject to any limitations to responsibility that are specified in the certification;
  • complete all of their work in compliance with CUSPAP and any other professional standards that may be applicable;
  • satisfactorily address all necessary corrections specified by their co-signer in their reports;
  • receive and address the guidance and advice from their co-signer respectfully and in good faith;
  • maintain a respectful and productive working relationship with their co-signer, and
  • contribute to a professional, harassment-free, and safe learning environment.