Competition Bureau and Canadian REALTORS

In March 2007 the Competition Bureau began an inquiry and via court order requested the Canadian Real Estate Association CREA to produce information regarding specific rules and operations of Boards' MLS systems.

CREA met this request and delivered the information as requested. This was a very resource intensive activity.

In the fall of 2009 the commissioner completed the inquiry and requested that CREA remove certain rules and interpretations from the CREA bylaws.

CREA does not agree with the Boards findings. It is CREA's position that the current rules allow for many competitive business models and a broad range of choice for the consumer. Nevertheless, CREA was moving forward with proactive rule amendments in an effort to clarify the rules interpretations. Despite this the Bureau on Feb 9, 2010 filed a notice of application against CREA.

Recently CENTURY21 President and CEO, Don Lawby offered his comment in regards to choice and business models in the real estate business.

In the media I have noticed some misconceptions regarding what function MLS serves and the role of The following is a good explanation... 

There is no such thing as "the MLS". The reality is that each real estate board operates its own MLS® System, so that there are dozens and dozens of such systems across the country. A Board's MLS® System is based on the notion of co-operation between REALTORS®, all for the benefit of the consumer. It is a co-operative selling system that includes an inventory of listings of participating REALTORS® and is operated in a manner to ensure that the information is accurate and that a seller's property is exposed to all other REALTORS®. These systems, and their databases, are proprietary to the Boards.

Many people confuse the Boards' MLS® Systems with These two things are completely different. is a publicly available advertising site that displays the listings that are on Boards' MLS® Systems. is owned by CREA, and is operated as a service for members AND for consumers. It is nothing more than an advertising vehicle, the same as any other website that displays real estate information. is not an "MLS® System".

I hope this offers some help for those following this issue. If you have further questions feel free to contact me.