Competition Bureau Reaches Agreement in Principle in Real Estate Case
OTTAWA, September 30, 2010 – The Competition Bureau announced today that it has reached an agreement in principle with the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), which, if ratified by CREA's members, will ensure that real estate agents have the flexibility to provide innovative service and pricing options to customers.
"This agreement is welcome news for Canadians", said Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition. "If ratified, the agreement will ensure that consumers have the ability to choose which services they want from a real estate agent when selling their home, and to pay for only those services. It also provides much-needed flexibility for real estate agents by ensuring that they have the ability to offer the variety of services and prices that meet the needs of consumers."
In February, the Commissioner of Competition challenged, before the Competition Tribunal, anti-competitive rules imposed by CREA on real estate agents who list residential properties using the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system. The Bureau launched its challenge after three years of discussions and several months of intensive negotiations with CREA. The Bureau agreed to resume negotiations in September after being approached by CREA’s representatives.
Under the agreement, CREA will eliminate its ability to adopt anti-competitive rules that discriminate against real estate agents who are hired by consumers only to list or merely "post" a residential property on the MLS.
"Since challenging CREA’s rules, the Bureau's goal has always been to achieve a long-term solution that would strengthen competition in the residential real estate brokerage services market," added Commissioner Aitken, "This resolution, if ratified by CREA’s membership, achieves this goal."
After the agreement is ratified, a copy of the legally binding consent agreement will be posted on the Competition Tribunal website. The agreement will remain in force for 10 years.
The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that contributes to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.