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Canadian Chapters Promote CCIM Designee Awareness With Vision 100

Steve Da Cruz
Steve Da Cruz, CCIM

The CCIM community in Canada has set a significant goal: Vision 100 aims to have 100 CCIM Designees pinned at the 2025 Annual Governance Meeting in Vancouver in October 2025. Achieving this objective is ambitious, as it would roughly double the current number of CCIM Designees in Canada. 

"The impetus and work behind that is based on the fact that we are, per capita, a degree of magnitude below the U.S. in terms of CCIMs operating in the market," says Steve Da Cruz, CCIM, Executive Vice President and Co-founder of CASM Global Real Estate Corp. in Vancouver and the Western Canada CCIM Chapter President. Where there are roughly 9,000 CCIMs in the U.S., there are only about 100 in Canada to date. Although the U.S. population is about 10 times that of Canada, Da Cruz sees the potential to grow the Canadian CCIM network at a comparative level by another 800 Designees over time. "We see a fundamental opportunity to capture the interest of the market and also serve as a reinforcement of the public's faith in brokers by showing them the excellence of CCIMs operating at the highest levels," he says. 

Vision 100 is an idea that Da Cruz put forward, and he has since rallied support from both the Western Canada and Central Canada CCIM Chapters. "We start with awareness. People have to know what a CCIM is," says Michelle Leung, CCIM, President and Broker of Record at RE/MAX Realtron Mich Leung Realty Inc. and Central Canada CCIM Chapter President. After receiving her Designation in 2019, Leung proudly wears the Pin and introduces herself as a CCIM as part of all her business transactions. But she has been surprised by how many people she meets who don't know what a CCIM is. "I think there's a huge opportunity for us to create awareness and highlight the benefits of the Designation to the general public and other commercial real estate practitioners," says Leung.  

Michelle Leung
Michelle Leung, CCIM

Growing Demand for CCIM Expertise 

One major obstacle to the growth of the Designee market in Canada stems from fundamental disparities between the commercial real estate industries in Canada and the United States. Canadians are much less invested in the stock market compared to Americans. Instead, much of its money is in real estate, both residential and commercial. While Canada's large institutional investors and corporations certainly have plenty of in-house commercial real estate expertise and analysts, there wasn't necessarily a big need for it among smaller private investment groups and family offices that relied more on relationships, notes Da Cruz.  

For the better part of the past 20 years, that worked because values generally went up. Now, there is a higher interest rate environment that is changing the playing field. "As we reprice and strategize and are challenged with productivity here in Canada, we need skill sets at a much more accessible and pervasive level than we had before, and this is becoming more and more apparent as time goes on," says Da Cruz. Much like the U.S., Canada is also focusing on reshoring manufacturing, which is driving greater demand for CCIM's skills and expertise. 

Combined, all of these different factors are creating a unique opportunity ahead for The CCIM Institute to grow its presence in the Canadian commercial real estate market. "The CCIM Designation provides an extreme example of education and affectation at its best," says Da Cruz.  

Achieving the Vision 100 goal 

Reaching the Vision 100 goal by October 2025 is going to be a challenge that will require a big push. Achieving a CCIM Pin is not something that happens overnight. It is a process that takes time to accomplish. "The whole point of Vision 100 is that it illustrates the gap; it presents the opportunity; and gives a tangible timeline that people can feel they are working towards something together," says Da Cruz.  

CCIM's Canadian chapters are throwing their support behind an awareness campaign that is based on the fundamental principle that "you have to see it to believe it."  Showing people the value of being a CCIM comes through networking, media appearances, and partnering with other larger groups and organizations. For example, as a preferred education provider for the Greater Vancouver Realtors, CCIMs are participating in podcasts, panel discussions, and appearances at different forums. "These organizations need access to high-level successful and established professionals, and we can bring that to an organization in any market," says Da Cruz. "Giving them access to us gives us access to their membership."  

Additional ways that the Canadian chapters are prompting "see it to believe it" is by leaning on The CCIM Institute to host quality events that add value for members, as well as encouraging Designees to share deals and transactions on social channels so others can see the value in what they're bringing to the deal.  

People need to understand what a CCIM is and the value of the Designation before they start on that journey of obtaining the Pin. Vision 100 is also a natural fit with The CCIM Institute's National Designation campaign, which Leung has made a key focus for her term as chapter President. That initiative starts with basic networking and talking to people about the importance of a CCIM as part of the deal, what we do, and why people should partner with us, she says. Canadian CCIMs are participating in things like local market updates and educational seminars. Promoting the education, including the different educational programs offered by The CCIM Institute, also helps to create a pipeline of potential members and Designees. That networking goes beyond realtors to other related practitioners, such as lawyers, accountants, appraisers, and consultants, among others. "I think the in-person interaction is the most important part, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic," she says. 

Leader in Commercial Real Estate Education 

Vision 100 is about more than just growing the network of CCIMs. Da Cruz believes CCIMs can play a role in repositioning the industry, which ultimately can have a meaningful and measurable impact on communities. There also is an opportunity to position The CCIM Institute as the premier commercial real estate education provider across Canada. The CCIM Institute has decades of history and amazing resources. So, why not be a leader in standardizing commercial real estate education across Canada? he says.  

To strengthen The CCIM Institute's position as an education provider in Canada, Da Cruz is reaching out to different licensing boards, such as petitioning the British Columbia Real Estate Association to have The CCIM Institute's courses approved for full relicensing. Comparable to what the U.S. calls continuing education or CE credit, it is referred to as PDP in British Columbia. The two Canadian chapters are engaging in similar efforts to establish The CCIM Institute as a preferred education provider across Canada. 

As part of Vision 100, both the Western and Central Canada CCIM Chapters are working to educate people about what a CCIM is, how people earn it, and why it's important to have a CCIM involved in real estate transactions. "We want to share the knowledge, share the education, and be the best of the best of commercial real estate education," says Leung. "I think there is an opportunity, and also, it is our  responsibility to get the knowledge to the general public to help them better understand what they're looking to do or achieve." 

Vision 100 has become a rallying cry to grow membership and move CCIMs from where they have been working behind the scenes to the forefront. Looking beyond Vision 100, Da Cruz already has his eye on the next step – Vision 1000. "Obviously, that would be a wonderful outcome that could be five to 10 years away," he says. 


We'd like to take a moment and thank Steve Da Cruz, CCIM, and Michelle Leung, CCIM, for taking the time to explain Vision 100 and provide valuable feedback for our readers.

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