Canadian Real Estate Association’s Anti-Competitive Rules Crushed

Agreement Ratified between the Canadian Real Estate Association and Canada’s Competition Bureau Assures Homeowners Increased Options

CREA The Canadian Real Estate Association
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After several years of discussion, investigation and debate with the Competition Bureau of Canada, the Canadian Real Estate Association’s 101 board representatives voted in overwhelming favour on an agreement that aims to eliminate anti-competitive rules in the home selling arena. The agreement, passed October 24, 2010 in St John’s, Newfoundland, will be in force for the next 10 years, meaning an end to discrimination against real estate agents opting to offer mere postings on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

The new agreement states that the CREA cannot dictate the level of service implemented in a MLS post. If clients wish to utilize a real estate agent at a small brokerage solely to implement the MLS listing, the service referred to as a mere listing, they may do so. This does not mean the service is provided with lessened regulation. The agent is still responsible for verifying the data that will appear on the MLS, but the client may choose to take on the rest of the process, including showing and marketing the home, and negotiating the purchase. Public access to the MLS is still prohibited; access can only be attained through the enlisting of a real estate agent.

“I am pleased that CREA members have voted in favour of this agreement,” Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition, said upon ratification. “It ensures that [Canadian homeowners] will have the freedom to choose which services they want from a real estate agent and to pay for only those services. For real estate agents, it ensures that they will be able to offer the variety of services and prices that meet the needs of consumers.”

The decision has been met with mixed reactions. While some real estate agents state that this ratification has been a long time coming, listing open competition, innovation and a broad range of services as industry assets, others say that the CREA failed to protect its fee-paying members and the integrity of the MLS.

“We will pull all our listing[s] from the MLS system. Let all the [For Sale By Owners] FSBOs start their own MLS system …It takes money to build up a great real estate system; that is why most discount systems fail. The FSBOs want to take a free ride on our backs …use the system that we as full time realtors have paid for many years to develop and make what it is today,” wrote Greg Chiang, an employee of ReMax Omega in Newmarket, Ontario, before the 97 per cent in favour result came through.

Meanwhile, Harry Janzen, executive officer of the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors, wrote, “Given Saskatoon’s experience and history with alternative business models, approval of the consent agreement simply means business as usual for both realtors and consumers.”

Property Guys
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Some entrepreneurial real estate agents have already found a way to make beneficial the new agreement. Harvey Real Estate Co., Ltd, a brokerage based in Hamilton, Ontario arranged a contract with, based in Moncton, New Brunswick, wherein Harvey clients may, for a fee, list their Ontario properties on the MLS linked to a customized profile on

Some realtors are confident that better results are still had when home sellers employ a professional realtor to conduct their home sale. The Competition Bureau simply wants Canadians to have the choice and ability to customize the process themselves, and pay only the fees appropriate, which they now can.

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