The Competition Bureau of Canada is investigating the Quebec Professional Association for Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB) and its subsidiary, Societe Centris, for potentially implementing data-sharing restrictions that may be impeding competition in the province’s real estate market.
On Monday, the watchdog confirmed it had obtained a court order to investigate whether the association has engaged in practices that harm competition or prevent the development of innovative online brokerage services.
The Federal Court of Canada granted the order on February 15, 2023, requiring QPAREB to produce records and written information relevant to the investigation.
The investigation is centred around whether the association has engaged in conduct contrary to the abuse of dominance restrictive trade practices provisions of the Competition Act.
TRREB’s legal battle with the Competition Bureau
This is not the first time the Competition Bureau has investigated data-sharing practices in the Canadian real estate industry.
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.
The bureau says its investigation into QPAREB and Societe Centris reflects the competition watchdog’s continued efforts to promote competition in the Canadian real estate industry.
In response to the investigation, QPAREB issued a statement indicating that it is cooperating fully with the Competition Bureau in answering its questions.
QPAREB President Marc Lacasse affirmed, “Respect for the rule of law is paramount, and we believe that our practices comply with applicable regulations.”
Competition bureau right… let’s investigate the real estate industry ad nausem! If people want to sell via a different model there is the INTERNET! Go for it! Kijiji, Craigslist, Google, Facebook etc. etc. Trade associations have there own rules. There is no restraint of trade with the INTERNET! You want to sell outside the trade association rules, lots of options are available. Seems to me the Competition Bureau sees an easy target and wants to continue to make political points. Meanwhile go to your local gas station where no competition exists ever. Retail gas prices at the same price everywhere. You even get “announcements what the price will be tomorrow”! Will the Competition Bureau investigate the oil industry? Nope, too many lobbyists there! What a waste of taxpayer money! Wake up Competition Bureau it’s the 21st Century, pull you head out of your ….!
So well said and brilliantly put…congrags.
You have said everything I have been saying for years now in office and to my clients. But never had the guts to put on a public platform!
I truly believe the majority of people do and want to use a professional like ourselves, but the squeaky wheel gets the attention!
Painting a picture of the industry like we are all fraudulent out for self individuals!!
And helping the FSBO market which is still a very small market… look at “Common Sense”, “purple bricks” or what ever they are calling themselves now because they can’t get traction… they are realizing to survive they need to be proper full service!!
Jorge well said. I am tied of firms saying sell with out a realtor, then using a realtor site to list the property. To me this is false and misleading advertising.
Maureen…you hit the nail right on the head. The gov is woke and I think they should support the industry in a fashion the treats agents with a bit more civility.