Supreme Court will not hear Toronto Real Estate Board’s appeal
Court order upheld requiring TREB to stop restricting its members’ use of real estate data
August 23, 2018 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau
The Competition Bureau today welcomes the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) dismissal of the Toronto Real Estate Board’s (TREB) application seeking leave to appeal a December 2017 decision from the Federal Court of Appeal, a decision that upheld the Competition Tribunal’s June 2016 order addressing TREB’s anti-competitive conduct.
Today’s decision will allow greater competition and innovation in the real estate services market in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and concludes seven years of litigation in the Bureau’s case against TREB.
The order requires TREB to remove restrictions on its members’ access and use of real estate data – including restrictions on the display of historical listings and sale prices online through virtual office websites.
Removing these anti-competitive restrictions is expected to give home buyers and sellers in Canada’s largest real estate market access to a greater range of innovative service options, delivered through greater competition among TREB’s members. Opening up access to real estate data allows member agents to offer insights into home sales prices and trends via the web, and to improve the efficiency and quality of their services to consumers.
“Today’s ruling is a decisive victory for competition, innovation and for consumers. By removing TREB’s anti-competitive restrictions, home buyers and sellers in the GTA will now have greater access to information and innovative real estate services when making one of the most significant financial decisions of their lives.”
Interim Commissioner of Competition
The Bureau’s case against TREB had been ongoing since 2011, when the Commissioner filed an application with the Competition Tribunal challenging the restrictions that TREB imposed on its members’ use and display of data in the Toronto Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.
Toronto is one of Canada’s most expensive and least affordable housing markets. The average selling price of a home in Toronto has gone up from $485,520 to $782,129 since the Bureau began its litigation against TREB. The average sale price of a detached home sold through the TREB MLS is now more than a million dollars.
This case highlights the importance of innovation and dynamic competition, both of which benefit not only individual Canadians but the economy as a whole.
Anti-competitive activity that hinders innovation in the Canadian economy will continue to be a top priority for the Bureau.
- December 1, 2017: Federal Court of Appeal upholds decision in favour of real estate innovation
- June 3, 2016: Bureau welcomes Tribunal order addressing anti‑competitive Toronto real estate practices
- May 10, 2016: Competition Bureau releases detailed summary of reasons in Toronto real estate decision
- April 28, 2016: Competition Tribunal rules in favour of the Commissioner in Toronto real estate case
- July 24, 2014: Supreme Court Denies Toronto Real Estate Board’s Application for Leave to Appeal Pro-Competitive Federal Court of Appeal Ruling
- February 3, 2014: Federal Court of Appeal Overturns Competition Tribunal Ruling on Toronto Real Estate Board Case
- May 14, 2013: Competition Bureau Appeals Competition Tribunal Ruling In Toronto Real Estate Board Case
- April 15, 2013: Competition Bureau to Review Competition Tribunal Ruling
- May 27, 2011: Competition Bureau Sues Canada's Largest Real Estate Board for Denying Services Over the Internet
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