Competition Bureau obtains court order to advance an investigation of competition in the Quebec real estate services market
February 20, 2023 – GATINEAU, QC – Competition Bureau
The Competition Bureau has obtained a court order to advance an investigation into conduct by the Quebec Professional Association for Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB) and its subsidiary, Société Centris, related to real estate data sharing restrictions.
QPAREB manages the multiple listing service (MLS) that collects Quebec real estate transaction data. Quebec real estate brokers use the MLS as part of their brokerage services.
The Bureau is investigating whether the QPAREB has engaged in certain practices that harm competition in the real estate brokerage services market or that prevent the development of innovative online brokerage services in Quebec.
The Bureau requires more information to examine the overall effects of these practices, as well as to understand the reason for the restrictions.
The order, granted by the Federal Court of Canada on February 15, 2023, requires QPAREB to produce records and written information that are relevant to the Bureau’s investigation.
The Bureau’s investigation is ongoing and there is no conclusion of wrongdoing at this time.
The Bureau is investigating whether QPAREB has engaged in conduct contrary to the abuse of dominance restrictive trade practices provisions of the Competition Act.
The MLS is used by members as part of their brokerages services and is not accessible to the public.
In 2016, the Competition Tribunal ruled in favour of the Bureau in its case against the Toronto Real Estate Board relating to anti-competitive conduct that restricted real estate brokers’ and consumers’ access to historical home sales data and novel real estate services.
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