My Thoughts on the Competition Bureau and It's Suit Against the Toronto Real Estate Board:

new_mapWhat follows are strictly my own thoughts and not those of any organization or parties that I may represent….

As someone who has worked negotiating for over 30 years, I have seldom worked as hard on a “deal”. However,  since the the start of negotiations, I doubted that there was a deal to be made….I don’t think that the Competition Commissioner ever had any intention of an agreement.

From early on the Toronto Real Estate Board told the ever-changing team from the Competition Bureau that we were prepared to negotiate in good faith. Please note: our negotiating team was always the same and never changed, however, every meeting with the “Other Side” had new people and a good part of our meetings was bringing the new people up to speed. We never at any time saw or spoke directly to the Competition Commissioner but each meeting the other side left for a few minutes to “confer”.

Numerous times we told the Competition Bureau that a VOW policy is part of  the TREB Strategic plan, that a VOW Task Force was in place, and that if all went as to plan we would have a Virtual Office Website Policy ready for our members by the end of August. The timing we proposed was not suitable for the Competition Commissioner and now your taxes and our dues will being used fighting a suit that is more based on the Competition Commissioner’s personal timing.

We are surprised that she has chosen to act in this fashion, however, the Toronto Real Estate Board of Directors feel that it is imperative that due diligence is done. The past 10 years have seen stringent involvement of both levels of Government in the areas of Privacy (PIPEDA), Financial Transaction Disclosure and Identification(FINTRAC) and the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act  (REBBA 2002). While TREB works to add Virtual Office Website Policy for the membership, it must be cognizant that we cannot put our membership and their consumers in jeopardy or contravene existing laws. TREB is a member-based organization led by volunteers and need to have member input for any change; they will have 60 days to review and comment on the policy.

The Toronto Real Estate Board is doing the right thing in taking the time to make sure that there is proper consultation so that all parties are well served.

7 Responses

  1. Dave Chomitz CRS broker

    Richard – well put and very clear.

    Question: (from a non TREB member)

    The print media made it sound like they exist, but I could only find Realtor .ca

    Is there a web site now, where the public can go and see every property currently listed on the Toronto Real Estate Board. But only see the condensed listing information?

    All the best.

    Dave

  2. Jim Marshall

    Well put, Richard. I don’t think the Competition Bureau realizes (or gives a damn about) how difficult it is to draft policy that’s compliant with the myriad of existing provincial and federal legislation.

    As a Canadian, it angers me to see taxpayers’ money squandered in what’s essentially a witch hunt the Bureau is conducting against the real estate industry in Canada.

  3. Cal Lindberg

    Richard, your comments felt like “deja vu” all over again. I had the same sentiments during the long protracted negotiations between the Bureau and CREA. Unfortunately, the real estate industry is a “sexy” topic that garners a great deal of press for the commissioner, evidenced by the way she personally conducted the negotiations in the press, and as such, we will always have the “Bureau cloud” following our industry.

  4. Richard Silver Post author

    Thanks for your thoughts Cal…yes it is “Deja Vu” but the Canadian Taxpayer should be furious knowing that their money is being spent getting the Commissioner press rather than negotiating in good faith.

  5. Ralph Evans

    Don’t worry about the Canadian taxpayers! I think it is the TREB membership that will be paying…

    In section 55.C on page 17 of this document, the Competition Tribunal requests that the Toronto Real Estate Board will “pay the costs and disbursements of the Commissioner and the Tribunal in relation to this Application”

    See link to ct-tc.gc.ca

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