Bureau welcomes Tribunal order addressing anti-competitive Toronto real estate practices

News Release

Tribunal orders Toronto Real Estate Board to remove restrictions on virtual office websites

June 03, 2016 — OTTAWA, Ontario — Competition Bureau

The Commissioner of Competition welcomes the Competition Tribunal’s order today addressing the Toronto Real Estate Board's (TREB) anti‑competitive conduct.

The order issued by the Tribunal requires TREB to remove restrictions on its member agents’ access to important data, including historical listings and sale prices, for display online through virtual office websites. TREB’s member agents can use the data in innovative ways to offer consumers the convenience of data‑driven insights into home sales prices and trends via the web and to improve the efficiency and quality of their services

The order follows the Tribunal’s ruling in favour of the Commissioner of Competition in April, where it concluded that TREB ?has abused its dominant position in the Toronto residential real estate services market, restricting the ability of its member realtors to offer innovative services over the internet.

The matter is ongoing as the Commissioner of Competition has been served with a Notice of Appeal by the TREB, alleging that the Tribunal erred when it ruled in favour of the Bureau.

Quick facts

  • The Tribunal highlighted the importance of innovation and dynamic competition in its reasons for decision when it ruled in favour of the Commissioner of Competition in April.
  • The TREB case has been ongoing since 2011, when the Commissioner originally filed an application with the Tribunal challenging restrictions that the Board imposed on its members’ use and display of data in the Toronto Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.
  • Following a hearing in 2012, the Tribunal dismissed the Commissioner’s application. The Commissioner successfully appealed this decision, and the case returned to the Tribunal for rehearing in fall 2015.

Quotes

"I welcome today’s order by the Competition Tribunal requiring the Toronto Real Estate Board to permit member agents to use and display critical data on virtual office websites. The Bureau remains focused on ensuring that consumers benefit from innovation and competition in the provision of real estate services."

John Pecman
Commissioner of Competition

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