CREA and competition tribunal continue to disagree

CREA and competition tribunal continue to disagree

The battle between commissioner of competition Melanie Aitken and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) intensified again as Aitken alleged "personal attacks" in a court filing with the Competition Tribunal.

Aitken does not specify what these personal attacks consist of, the Montreal Gazette reports, but the two sides have been bickering since February when Aitken filed an application condemning CREA's "anti-competitive" behavior, targeting its MLS system in particular. The Competition Bureau filed the application after negotiations dating back to October broke down.

In March, CREA amended some policies in a vote realtors passed by an 87 per cent margin. The changes now allow consumers to list for a flat-fee, without being obligated to use MLS' agents. Consumers can now show their own homes, something that was previously mandatory for an agent to handle.

Aitken rejected the changes. In her latest filing, she said the revisions change nothing.

"CREA's rules continue to prohibit real estate brokers from offering fully unbundled services to home sellers and continue to prevent entry and expansion of alternatives to the traditional, full service real estate model," she said.

The CREA - which consists of almost 100,000 realtors - maintains the changes addressed all of the tribunal's concerns.

"The commissioner of competition has stated in multiple media statements that amendments amount to a blank cheque because new anti-competitive rules could be introduced by CREA or its member boards. In CREA's view, this allegation is preposterous," the association said in a court filing.
The CREA consists of almost 100,000 realtors and, by some estimates, their MLS system is responsible for 90 per cent of housing transactions in Canada.

- Nick Lypaczewski




  • Tina 2010-04-15 10:21:10 AM
    I think Miss Aitken has nothing else to do so she is creating all this scene ... we all know that Canada is in a good shape because of out real estate sector which helped us big time to recover from recession ... i don't know why we are having these kind of battle .. it can effect Canadian real estate market big time. I think by allowing MLS open to anyone will invite more frauds , disputes and court cases because of not having expert assistance .... i think we should keep things as is and let things go smoothly ... we don't want any mess like other countries real estate market.
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  • Gord 2010-04-16 2:10:41 AM
    There is an major reporting error in this article when it says, "The changes now allow consumers to list for a flat-fee, without being obligated to use MLS' agents".

    The Bureau is not asking for this, and it is not at issue - listings must continue to be placed in the MLS System by a member on behalf of a seller. The Bureau is not asking for sellers to be able to list directly on the MLS System without a listing brokerage.

    In addition, it has always been possible to list on the MLS System for a flat fee - this is not and has never been an issue. As well, under CREA's MLS Rules there has never been an obligation for agents to show a home.

    It's too bad the media can't get the facts straight on this issue in ots reporting.
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  • Matt 2010-04-16 6:36:05 AM
    But hey, it makes for a better story this way. I was in a meeting where there was quite the discussion about why we as REALTORS were not fighting back in the media. With the way the media twists facts and creates their own "facts" it is no wonder that CREA has chosen to stay out of such a media battle.
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