Update: Canadian MLS and Competition Bureau

I posted last month about how the  Canadian Commission on Competition had ruled against the Canadian Real Estate Association, (CREA) saying that its MLS system is monopolistic. The bureau has been investigating CREA for three years and filed the application after negotiations, which started in October, broke down.

On March 22nd, CREA announced that they would open up their MLS so that the public will be able to list their properties directly into the MLS system. However, it seems that that isn’t good enough for the Commissioner, Melanie Aitken. She came back with the following, written up in the Montreal Gazette:

“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 real estate group remarked in its court filing.

Aitken reiterated in her latest filing that the amendments instituted by CREA 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,” says her filing.

“Further, CREA and member boards have expressly protected the freedom to pass further rules at any time that may hinder or exclude or have the effect of hindering or excluding competitors from offering alternative services in the relevant market.”

This is going to be an interesting story to follow. You can find out more about this story here and here and here.

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2 Responses to Update: Canadian MLS and Competition Bureau

  1. Luke says:

    CREA and the 100 or so real estate boards will not open their MLS Systems to direct access by consumers. This would destroy the integrity and accuracy of the data. However, the new rules clarify that REALTORS are not prohibited from offering mere listings in which a consumer can pay a REALTOR to simply place their listing on the MLS System without the requirement of additional representation (ie agency) attached. The REALTOR still has a responsibility to amend, terminate or record the selling price of the listing.

    • johnlifestyles says:

      Thanks for commenting Luke. Were not the new rules voted on by CREA members recently rebuked by the Commission? How is that going to play out? Seems like the Commission doesn’t think they have gone far enough…

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