Making our homes safer: Researchers work to own cancer by ridding Canadian houses of dangerous radon gas

“An odourless, cancer-causing gas is building up in many Canadian homes. A University of Calgary radon research team, fuelled by renewed funding from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation to the OWN.CANCER campaign, is working to change this — owning cancer through prevention and partnership.”

Read the recent media release New Canadian houses found to have much higher radon gas levels than those in Sweden

Evict Radon projects funded by the Foundation:
Alberta Solution to Reducing Radon Exposure in Homes
Understanding Behavioural Environmental Design Contributors of High Radon Exposure to Protect Canadian Health
Towards a Future Free of Radon in the Residential Built Environment

2022-2025 Strategic Plan

We’re excited to share our 2022-2025 Strategic Plan with you. This plan is informed by What We Heard from you during our 30th Anniversary Stakeholder Engagement Sessions in the Spring of 2021, and an extensive internal review of the Foundation. We look forward to undertaking this work, guided by our Strategic Priorities and Goals, and by our continued engagement with you.



Healthy Homes & Communities: What matters when it comes to wellbeing?

The COVID-19 pandemic and related public health measures have drawn our attention to how important our homes, neighbourhoods, and communities are to our health, wellbeing, and overall quality of life. Our environments shape where we live, work, play, and how we interact. Opportunities in these different settings create and strengthen community vitality, resiliency, and wellbeing. These are critical considerations for Albertans as we continue to navigate through the pandemic and social recovery. With so many factors influencing our wellbeing, it’s difficult to know what information to attend to most when it comes to our homes and communities.

The University of Alberta’s Centre for Healthy Communities (CHC), in partnership with the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, launched a user-friendly website: to help support healthy homes and healthy communities for Albertans. The website combines scientific and practice-based evidence. It was developed with input by and made for diverse stakeholders across Alberta. These stakeholders include real estate professionals, urban and rural planners, land developers, consumers, researchers, municipal representatives, community and social organizations, and public health and health services representatives.

The global climate crisis, economic instability, and the myriad of health and other impacts brought about by COVID-19 underscore the need for innovative and proactive strategies to create supportive communities that protect and bolster wellbeing. When we think about creating healthy homes and communities, we need to consider how we can incorporate efforts to protect the environment and build an economically sustainable future. In a time of dramatic local and global change, there is an opportunity to re-envision how we shape our communities and revive our economy to optimize our collective health and wellbeing.

The website highlights nine common factors that support healthy homes and healthy communities. The nine key factor pages summarize key points and terms, highlight sample criteria and recommendations, and connect to existing supports and programs. Each of these nine factors is aligned with three key societal areas of concern: environmental stewardship, economic recovery, and COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

Within its current scope, the website is meant to support stakeholders in developing a common language and knowledge about key factors that support healthy communities and homes in Alberta. With future additional resources and funding, the CHC aims to continue to build website content, adding new information as it becomes available, examples to support and inspire, resources for communities, and interactive media like podcasts, videos, and learning modules.

To learn more about the project, visit the website at or contact the CHC at

This project was funded in 2020 through the Foundation’s Grant Program.

Are you a CARA Member? Look for the Deep Dive with the Alberta Real Estate Foundation

Our new Chair, Janice Resch sat down with Connor Lee, Member Support & Data Integrity Administrator for the Central Alberta Realtors® Association (CARA) to introduce the Foundation to CARA’s membership.

CARA Members can find the 10 minute Deep Dive in CARA’s Membership Learning and Education section under the Knowledge Base Live Podcast!

Janice shares the Foundation’s history, our impact, our resources for real estate professionals, and how Realtors® can get involved.


30 Seconds on 30 Years with Doug Leighton

In celebration of our 30th Anniversary, we (virtually) sat down with a few of our past chairs to take stock of their time with the Foundation, and the impact the Foundation has on the real estate industry and Alberta.

Hear from Doug Leighton, RPP MCIP MRAIC, Chair of the Board from 2020 to 2021, and Principal of EDG Associates.

How many years were you involved with the Foundation?

I joined the Board of the Foundation in 2015 as a Public Member representing the business sector and was re-appointed in 2017 when I joined the Governance Committee. I was elected Chair in early 2020—just in time for Covid!

Why did you get involved?

In 2013 I returned to Calgary after eleven years working as a planner and urban designer in New Zealand and BC. I reconnected with Gary Willson, who was Chair of the Foundation at the time. I was impressed by the good things the Foundation was doing and didn’t hesitate when Gary suggested that I volunteer.

Do you have any favorite projects funded in your time as Chair?

Tough call, but I’d say the Condominium Law Education Project. This touches on several areas of our mandate under the Real Estate Act. It helps advance property and condominium management; one of four real estate Industry groups under the Act. It helps Albertans purchase condos and serve on condo Boards. The Foundation had previously funded the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta and knew they would deliver an excellent and much-needed program.

From your perspective, what is the Foundation’s greatest accomplishment over the years?

Three things:

  • First, it has benefited the real estate industry (residential/ commercial/ mortgage brokers plus property and condominium managers) by investing in projects and initiatives across Alberta.
  • Second, this has been achieved at no cost to taxpayers.
  • Finally, it has responded to the changing needs and priorities of industry and Albertans over the years.

What impact has the Foundation had on Alberta and the industry?

It’s contributed to Alberta’s success—whether you measure that in economic, environmental, or social terms. Real estate is about ‘real property and assets,’ that is, land and buildings. How we plan, develop, sell, buy, lease, finance, and manage real estate is important. A high-functioning real estate market has been part of the ‘Alberta Advantage.’ I’m certain it will be part of its recovery.

The Foundation supports the real estate industry by funding the education of related professionals, law reform, research, and projects and activities to advance and improve all four industry sectors. Part of our impact has been to sponsor thought leadership, innovations, and initiatives that demonstrate the benefits of real estate to Albertans.


Thank you, Doug!

Seeking a Community Investment Manager

We are seeking a Community Investment Manager who is inspired by our mission, demonstrates a high level of motivation, is willing to accept new challenges, ideally brings a strong connection to rural and remote Alberta, has a background in community investment and outcome measurement and evaluation, and is a team player. The Community Investment and Evaluation Manager is accountable for the effective management of the planned, ongoing, and day-to-day community investment-related operations of the Foundation in a manner that advances the mandate and reflects the strategic funding priorities. They also bring a particular focus to the ongoing development of an effective evaluation system. The position is permanent part-time (20 – 25 hours/week).

• Supporting a successful ongoing and continuous grants application, approval, recognition and project evaluation process for diverse and continually evolving industry-related grants
• Providing oversight and leadership with respect to evaluation, outcome measures and impact/outcome reporting to ensure constant improvement and effective stakeholder reporting
• Increasing the positive profile of the Foundation, its purpose, community investment program and sponsorships, with a particular focus on rural Alberta
• Supports the Board Chair and the Executive Director as the Public Face of the Foundation
• Supports the Executive Director in the effective and ongoing day-to-day operations of the Foundation

• A Non-Profit Leadership, Business degree, or equivalency
• Experience in effectively managing consultants
• A track record of building and managing successful relationships with external stakeholders, particularly across rural Alberta
• An understanding of the real estate industry
• Ability to work well as part of a small, interdependent team

Skills & Competencies
• Significant proven proactive planning, organizing and prioritizing skills and experience blended with ingenuity and creativity in a hands-on environment
• A basic understanding of research methodologies in order to evaluate research proposals or to commission research being proposed by the Foundation
• Exemplary internal and external oral and written communication skills with the ability to use knowledge, intuition and sensitivity when dealing with a broad cross-section of stakeholder groups
• Comfort with technology and remote work environment
• Proficient in Microsoft, WordPress, social media and has a familiarity with databases, like Salesforce or Apply

The Alberta Real Estate Foundation offers a competitive compensation package. Compensation will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Applicants should submit a cover letter and resume, along with salary expectations to Patti Morris at with the Subject Line of: “Community Investment Manager” by end of day on Friday, February 25, 2022.

This position is virtual and can be based anywhere in Alberta.

We thank all applicants for their interest, however, only those applicants being interviewed will be contacted. No phone calls, please.


*Please note we updated our application deadline from Friday, January 28 to Friday, February 25, 2022.

30 Seconds on 30 Years with Jim Saunders

In celebration of our 30th Anniversary, we (virtually) sat down with a few of our past chairs to take stock of their time with the Foundation, and the impact the Foundation has on the real estate industry and Alberta.

Hear from Jim Saunders, Chair of the Board from 2018 to 2019, and REALTOR® in Lethbridge.

How many years were you involved with the Foundation?

I was involved for seven years.

Why did you get involved?

Having served on the local and provincial real estate boards, I had been aware of the work of the Foundation for many years and was acquainted with many of the previous Governors and Past Chairs. When my term as Past President with the Alberta Real Estate Association ended, several people suggested I would find the position as Governor very rewarding, and uniquely different from the roles I was accustomed to playing. They were right! I felt my knowledge and experience in the real estate industry would give me the perspective to recognize the value the projects we support brings to the industry.

Do you have any favorite projects funded in your time as Chair?

For me, it wasn’t so much any particular project that was a favorite, but meeting our grant recipients in person, and experiencing the passion they bring to the table was very rewarding. I especially liked the grassroots “boots on the ground” organizations that measure their successes one small accomplishment at a time.

From your perspective, what is the Foundation’s greatest accomplishment over the years?

It’s the Foundation’s high level of grants on an annual basis and hitting far above its weight. In the 30-year history of the Foundation, we have managed to aggressively fund our grant recipients through booms and bust markets, and managed our assets to enable us to be financially viable through the most difficult times. We are now in a strong financial position to continue to support industry initiatives.

What impact has the Foundation had on Alberta and the industry?

I would use the example of one of my most rewarding experiences involving an actual real estate transaction with a self-managed condo board. The board had been operating with a few volunteer directors who were well-intentioned but uninformed. Through the Condo Law for Albertans website, I was able to guide them to the resources that would enable them to comply with the current Condominium Act. Those resources were available as a direct result of the Foundation’s funding. The condo directors were very appreciative and impressed that REALTORS® were involved in projects to aid and protect the consumers.


Thank you, Jim!

Calgary & Edmonton homes to get digital home energy labels

January 10, 2022
For Immediate Release

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation has partnered with Lightspark to launch the “Uncovering Real Estate Value through Digital Home Labels” pilot project that will automatically provide the first-ever digital home energy labels for all homes in Calgary and Edmonton.

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation, a charity that leads urban climate change action through their Climate Innovation Fund, announced plans for a pilot project to provide Digital Home Energy Labels for homes in Calgary and Edmonton using Lightspark’s technology, with support from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation.

A home energy label shows how much energy a home uses (energy and carbon) and how that compares to similar homes. This label is like an appliance label on your fridge or a nutrition label on food. It gives homeowners and buyers a deeper understanding of a home’s efficiency that can help inform the buying or selling process.

This pilot project aims to:

  • Display Digital Home Energy Labels on an interactive map so homebuyers and REALTORS® can easily compare the energy performance of different homes, understand the potential upgrades, and feel confident in their home purchase.
  • Enable REALTORS® to educate homeowners on the energy efficiency of a home using the map. This will help REALTORS® fully answer homebuyers questions about home efficiency so they can confidently send clients their dream listings.
  • Make the map easy for homeowners to view and update labels with recent energy-efficient upgrades so they can feel proud of their label and feel assured it is accurate.
  • Encourage homeowners to upgrade their homes so that they can improve their health and comfort while enabling jobs for local contractors such as windows, insulation, HVAC installers, and electricians.
  • Building on previous energy score programs, Alberta Ecotrust and Lightspark will be developing the first automatic, digital, home energy labelling program and are aiming to launch the Digital Home Energy Map publicly in Fall 2022.

“Alberta Ecotrust is excited to launch the first large-scale energy labelling initiative for homes in Canada. This pilot makes Alberta a leader in home energy labelling by moving away from individual homeowners manually having to acquire a home energy audit, to automatically generating universal labels for every home in Calgary and Edmonton.” – Mike Mellross, program director, Alberta Ecotrust Foundation


“We are thrilled to have support from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation and Alberta Ecotrust Foundation to develop a home energy labelling program in Alberta. As an impact-driven software company, we aim to bring greater awareness to carbon reduction possibilities for homeowners in Calgary and Edmonton, while helping Albertans understand how they can improve their home comfort and reduce costs. This ground-breaking project will put Alberta at the forefront of home energy scoring, and we are excited to be a part of it.” – James Riley, chief executive officer, Lightspark Software Inc.


“We’ve heard from our stakeholders that learning about and leading on home energy efficiency is critical for real estate professionals and consumers as the effects of climate change are being felt more readily. This pilot drives the transformational and long-term change we were looking for through our one-time legacy grant program, especially with the power to scale to other municipalities. We are honoured to support REALTORS® and the larger real estate industry to lead the country in digital home energy labelling.” – Patti Morris, executive director, Alberta Real Estate Foundation


“Local REALTORS® play an important role in educating their clients on the value of their home. This energy map will help them to understand and compare properties more thoroughly so that current and potential homeowners can make informed decisions when buying and selling.”- Alan Tennant, president and chief executive officer, Calgary Real Estate Board.


“We are excited to support this innovative pilot project that will help uncover hidden value in Edmonton homes and improve understanding and awareness around energy efficiency ratings.” – Allan Font, interim president and chief executive officer, REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.


This project is not intended to serve as a replacement for getting an EnerGuide home energy audit. Homeowners are encouraged to check the eligibility requirements of funding programs for energy efficiency upgrades.

Further, only real estate agents that are members of the Calgary Real Estate Board and REALTORS® Association of Edmonton will be eligible to participate in the engagement and training process.

This project uses data made available from the City of Calgary and the City of Edmonton and complies with privacy regulations.


About the Climate Innovation Fund
Alberta Ecotrust Foundation is a founding member of the Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) network, implemented in partnership among seven local centres across Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Funded by the Government of Canada, LC3 is part of a national investment in municipal climate action to accelerate urban climate solutions and to help achieve Canada’s climate goal of net-zero by 2050. As an LC3 centre, Alberta Ecotrust received a $43.4 million endowment from the Government of Canada to create the Climate Innovation Fund. The Fund provides programming in Calgary and Edmonton, taking on a nimble, accelerator role, complementing and advancing the leadership work undertaken by the municipalities. For more information, visit

About Alberta Real Estate Foundation
Created through the Alberta Real Estate Act, the Alberta Real Estate Foundation is a nonprofit organization that makes purposeful impact-oriented grants and investments that make a difference to the real estate industry and for all Albertans. We contribute to thriving Alberta communities and a stronger economy through our grant programs, benefitting homeowners, landowners, tenants, and real estate industry professionals. We do this by funding real estate-related education initiatives, law reform, research, and industry and community innovation activities. We connect people and share knowledge in collaboration with the real estate industry and public stakeholders. Since 1991, the Foundation has invested $26.5 million in grants to over 665 initiatives across Alberta. For more information, visit Follow @arefabca on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

For more information, please contact
Hailey Gish, Communications Manager, Alberta Ecotrust Foundation,
James Riley, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Lightspark Software Inc.,
Teigan Kopec, Communications Specialist, Alberta Real Estate Foundation,

REET Institute aims to improve diversity and inclusion in commercial real estate

January 4, 2022
For Immediate Release

Rates of homeownership and investment in real estate are low within minority communities; commercial real estate firms lack diversity, and wealth remains in the hands of the few.

The REET Institute (REET) is working to change that with the launch of a unique program for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) youth in the Edmonton area. The program is designed to educate, train and equip high school students with financial literacy, through commercial real estate. In this program, students are given eight weeks of access to an immersive experience of hybrid learning, industry exposure, a pitch competition, and the chance to win incredible prizes.

“Studies show that there’s a lack of diversity in the commercial real estate industry. I believe the heart of the problem is a lack of awareness that this industry is a viable option,” says Andrel Wisdom, Founder of the REET Institute. “Kids shouldn’t stumble across or fall into commercial real estate—the REET Institute will enable them to intentionally and strategically work towards a career in and ownership of one of the world’s biggest wealth creators.”

Offered at no cost to those who want to participate, the program leverages a practical learning approach where students work with industry professionals to learn skills that they can apply to live deals. Scholars emerge from the program with the experiences and networks to prepare them to secure their first job in the industry and to become stakeholders in their community.

REET has already received support from key industry members including the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, Prowse Chowne LLP, Altus Group, Cushman and Wakefield, and the Building Owners and Managers Associations Edmonton.

As an early supporter of the program, Alberta Real Estate Foundation’s Executive Director, Patti Morris explains “the REET Institute addresses a critical diversity gap through their educational and opportunity pathways for BIPOC youth to gain access to the commercial real estate industry. The Foundation exists to advance the industry, improving the capacity and understanding of both real estate professionals and consumers. We are thrilled to invest in these important skills and resources to support the next generation of owners and business leaders in commercial real estate.”

For businesses engaged in diversity and inclusion efforts, REET has several ways to partner including sponsorship, in-kind donations and mentorship. Anyone who would like to learn more can contact our team directly at

Applications are now open. The program officially launches on February 12. Students are encouraged to apply online by visiting

About the REET Institute
As a social impact platform, the REET Institute provides training in financial literacy through commercial real estate. REET partners with corporations, schools, and non-profits to deliver an immersive hybrid experience to high school students, culminating in a pitch competition with significant prizes. Students work with industry professionals to understand commercial real estate in respect to their own communities. They emerge from the program with the skills, experiences, and networks that position them well to contribute to the industry and their community.

For more information, visit Follow @reetinstitute on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Michelle Okere
Okere & Associates
306 535 5573