08/23/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/23/2018 08:32
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.
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The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.