Laura Leyser poses in the world-famous Festival Theatre in her home town of Stratford, Ont. (Photos by Irene Miller)
Laura Leyser poses in the world-famous Festival Theatre in her home town of Stratford, Ont. (Photos by Irene Miller)

Interview by Jim Adair

CREA president Laura Leyser comes from a third-generation family of dairy farmers. She lives with her husband and children on a farm near Stratford, Ont.  A sales rep with Re/Max a-b Realty, she has been a Realtor for more than 24 years and was previously president of the Ontario Real Estate Association and the Huron Perth Real Estate Board.

“Behind every successful person is a strong supportive family, and if it weren’t for my family I would not be able to do this for the members,” says Leyser.

“Whenever I speak, I tell everyone in the room that I am like each and every one of them. I get up every day and I sell real estate.  So any of the programs or tools that CREA is providing, I’m using on a daily basis….When I give a message to a room full of Realtors, I say I know exactly what you are going through because I’m going through the same thing.”

Recently REM interviewed Leyser in Ottawa, along with Gary Simonsen, CREA’s CEO. The following is an edited record of the conversation.

REM:  A year ago when REM interviewed immediate past-president Wayne Moen, many of our questions had to do with some Quebec boards leaving CREA. This year that issue is back, with Quebec City and Montreal stating they will leave CREA at the end of the year. What’s the latest with that situation?

Laura Leyser: We have been in conversation with Quebec for 2½ or three years regarding their concerns and the conversations continue. We have had ongoing dialogue trying to address their concerns, but at the same time we are keeping in mind that we have the entire membership – the entire country – to think about. When you work to address their specific concerns you have to make sure it will work for the rest of the country.

So, for example, Webforms is a tool we offer at the national association but unfortunately Quebec’s regulator precludes their licensed agents from using Webforms, so we are trying to accommodate suitable arrangements that recognize that. Another area would be our national ad campaign – in the past we have worked together with Quebec so they can produce a French version.

REM: What seems to be the major sticking point in your discussions?

Leyser: There are certain regulatory restrictions – things that are permissible across the country through regulators in other provinces that are not permissible in Quebec. We are trying to address some of their regulatory concerns.

REM:  What’s your gut feeling? Will they be leaving CREA?

Leyser:  I feel our conversations have continued to be at a positive, higher level. We still have some time before the end of the year comes and I feel very positive that our members will remain as part of the CREA family.

REM: At a recent Toronto Real Estate Board Annual General Meeting, we heard you promise that regardless of what happens with Quebec, members’ dues will not be going up this year.

Leyser: Absolutely. When any of your membership comes to you and says they may be leaving, you have to take precautionary measures – take a look at everything across the board, and pick and choose things that perhaps you won’t move forward with or perhaps will put on hold depending on if all our membership remains. So we have done that and we are in a position that we will be able to maintain our current dues structure for 2014.

REM: What’s the impact on CREA if they decide to leave?

“When I give a message to a room full of Realtors, I say I know exactly what you are going through because I’m going through the same thing,” says Leyser.
“When I give a message to a room full of Realtors, I say I know exactly what you are going through because I’m going through the same thing,” says Leyser.

Leyser: It’s sad that some people who have been members for years will no longer have the services that CREA has produced for decades – they just won’t be part of our family. We are a national association and we are stronger together.

Gary Simonsen:  We have talked about the impact upon consumers. The brokers would lose access to the most popular website in the country and they would lose use of the MLS trademarks. That’s important with respect to the kinds of services being provided to the consumers.

REM: One of the things the Montreal board has asked about is an expenses review. CREA is often accused of spending too much money and being overstaffed. Is CREA lean and mean or is it the bloated bureaucracy that you are often accused of being?

Simonsen: It’s a fair question. Every association has to be accountable. We do a zero-based budget every year so we take a look at what are our expenses, what are the priorities. We align those with our strategic plan and staff accordingly.

I think the Board of Directors and certainly the staff is very cognisant of how we spend the members’ money and making sure that they are focused, prioritized appropriately and that we are making best use of the money as possible. I think we have been very frugal and effective. We’re even more effective with some of the changes made under Laura’s presidency and some of the work that went on prior to Laura’s presidency.

Leyser: One of the priorities is our full governance review. It wasn’t just our Quebec members that were questioning; it was other members coming forward. So we moved forward with the Board of Directors and are doing a full governance review. With the changes that have just occurred at the Special General Meeting, it allows us to change the structure, make the board leaner. It will be financially beneficial for our membership.

REM: Did this come out of the Futures initiative?

Leyser: Yes. That’s been going on for 2½ years now. When people ask, what’s the final outcome of the Futures – it has not only given us chance to look at the governance structure of our association but also to open up whole new lines of communication. We now communicate directly with all members.

When we have our strategic planning sessions in January, we’re taking what we have coming from the Futures and weaving it into the governance.

The majority of recommendations (from the Futures initiative) have already been implemented or put in place in an operational manner so they can move forward without full approval.

Simonsen: One of the big changes is to ensure there is an alignment and better connection and collaboration with the three levels of organized real estate. Each plan is not done in isolation but where they complement one another. We must make sure there isn’t duplication, or in fact very different messages being delivered to members. We’re now seeing that.

Leyser: We have also seen some real estate board amalgamations, which has been very positive. Some of the boards who were having a difficult time functioning as a smaller board now have an opportunity to be part of a larger board.

Simonsen: So we’re seeing more shared services. Instead of each board doing everything itself when sometimes it doesn’t have the resources, now it can make better use of members’ money and provide better service by taking advantage of scale and size.

REM: Another issue that often comes up has to do with the directors of boards and associations attending conferences and events. This fall some of them flew to the CREA meeting in Vancouver and two weeks later to the National Association of Realtors conference in San Francisco. Should directors be taking all these trips?

Leyser: It’s a good question.  I hear it all the time. As part of our governance review, we’re going to be looking at our representation budget. We feel that with technology, now you have the ability to sit in an office at home and watch a conference rather than attending it in person. We’ll be looking at that.

REM: What’s the main message you would like to get out to Realtors?

Simonsen:  There is clearly a dearth of information for most members about what CREA is or does. We are trying to open up those lines of communication to make sure they are aware of our services – so not only is there awareness but with that comes accountably, so they can hold us accountable for what we are doing. So that has been a critical point, to raise that level of awareness through direct communication.

REM: At the TREB meeting we were surprised to hear that TREB now has more than 38,000 members. There has been a lot of talk on remonline recently about professionalism and training issues. Do we have too many Realtors? Is it too easy to become a Realtor?

"I guess I don't see (part-timers) as a problem when I'm out trading in real estate," says Leyser.
“I guess I don’t see (part-timers) as a problem when I’m out trading in real estate,” says Leyser.

Leyser: My personal opinion – I would liken it to the medical profession. For a hospital to function you have everything from doctors to nurses to surgical staff to the people who take care of the patients afterwards and people who clean and the people in the kitchen. It takes everyone working together to make it what it is. It’s the same in our industry – whether you are full time or part time or come from a large board or a small board, we are one profession.  I don’t feel that there are too many Realtors and I’m open to many different business models. It’s refreshing to work with so many people who are so diversified and come with such different backgrounds.

REM: Whenever REM publishes a story about a Realtor who does something else outside of real estate, we get lots of complaints from readers, telling us not to feature part-timers.

Leyser: It depends what you consider part time. There are Realtors out there who may only work 10 hours a week because they have other commitments or they have a family…but they can still be very productive and very knowledgeable and with today’s technology, we all have access to the information. I guess I just don’t see that as a problem when I’m out trading in real estate.

Simonsen:  This was one of the areas not done yet in the Futures project – the issue of professionalism and what are the core components of being a professional. The Ontario Real Estate Association has done some interesting work in that regard and we are looking at that, to identify what is the role of organized real estate at all levels in terms of enhancing the cultural perspective that real estate is indeed a profession.

REM: Member apathy has often been an issue. At the TREB meeting, someone pointed out that of the 38,000 members, there were maybe 250 at the meeting. How do you get members out and to give a damn?

Leyser: If you really want to get people out, there’s going to be a contentious issue on the agenda. If many of the members are not there, it means things are working well; they are out selling real estate.

This year, however, we have had many requests from boards and associations for us to come and speak to them – more than we ever have. We have a full Board of Directors and we delegated more this year and have attended far more functions. As president I can’t be in all places at all times so it is crucial to engage the directors and send them and have them give updates. It has proven to be very beneficial – now our membership is more engaged, they know what is going on and we are getting feedback.

REM: It must take a lot away from your own business when you serve as president.

Leyser: Being the president is a privilege. I don’t look at it that I’m here to make a lot of changes come to fruition or that I’m going to make the industry better – it’s made me better. It’s something that I can take back and share with my colleagues and my consumers. Often colleagues will ask, why do you do it? Don’t you want to be out there selling? I am out there selling but if it’s going to make me a better person at what I do then it’s going to let me give back. I’m here because I care about our profession and I’m looking forward to getting out there and sharing our message for the remainder of our term.


  1. I just received a December 2013 copy of REM from a Realtor friend. Said eagle-eyed friend noticed the REALTOR lapel pin on Laura’s jacket. We enlarged the photo to get a better look. The pin has the correct burgundy “R” overlaid on a gold background. I am aware that the only official colours for the logo are burgundy on white and/or burgundy on blue (USA).

    What gives? Am I wrong here? Is the pin in violation of ORE’s trademark copyright?

    With all of the hoopla about ORE, CREA etc. protecting its MLS, REALTOR and logo rights whereby no salesperson can use a variation on the themes, how is it that the President can display an altered version of the logo? Is there one rule for the great unwashed and another for the annointed ones?

    Is it made in China?

    I have seen these gold/burgundy pins floating around before.

    Someone correct me if I am misinformed on this one please.

    • I don’t know what it is you do Brian but it appears you don’t have much time to do anything other than read and comment on the REM magazine. I have been a licensed for 33 years and have been wearing the burgundy and gold pin for most of it that was supplied by CREA. Don’t you have anything better to do than continually pick, pick, pick at every little thing you read or is that actually your job. If it is, you are doing great at it, if it is not then why not try to find the good in what you read and reply to that. For your information, the trademark rights belong to CREA not ORE so let me be the one that will correct you as you are definitely uninformed. By the way, taking shots at those who choose to give back to a profession that you are not a part of is cheap.

      • Alberta professional: Are you long-lost “Alberta legal” who used to chime in herein a couple of years ago?

        I do check in with REMonline a couple of times a day for interest sake. I am a former Realtor (among many other things real estate related), having retired from the work force Dec. 2011. You may find out what I did with some of my time (previous to my retirement) by GOOGLEing my name and reading the Trent University article…if you wish.

        I have plenty of time to build/maintain my boats, snowmobile and trailers, write a novel (not yet completed), act as the media liaison for the fourth year running in support of the upcoming (Feb. 2014) 28th annual Rotary/Carl Oake Swimathon for Rotary Club projects and Easter Seals Society in Peterborough, Ontario, as well as looking after my 88 year-old mother and keeping her house in good repair etc., all with my own hands and background knowledge.

        Congratulations on being a Realtor for 33 years. Hopefully you have been as professional in your behaviour as your pseudonym suggests, which in and of itself is not quite professional to my mind. Why do you want to hide your identity? Are you afraid to take the heat and to be known for who you are thereby?

        Yes, the gold pin has been around forever. But I have not been able to discover ‘any’ evidence that it is an approved colour combination via a search of approved logos. I have only been able to come up with the burgundy-on-white/black-on-white (blue-on-white USA) combinations. Would you be good enough to provide the proof for the burgundy-on-gold combination? (I am not the greatest computer-whiz search engine guy who ever lived). I would be pleased to concede this point in your favour if you can/would do this.

        Yes, I have made it my job to “pick, pick, pick” away at CREA. I have even agreed to do it for free! Ever since the CREAcrats turned turtle for Melanie Aitken, I have remained steadfastly in opposition to CREA and its misrepresentation of itself as the steward of its paying members’ financial interests. The CREAcrats are self-deluded warriors fighting behind-the-scenes for the interests of every interest group out there (government(s), the public, provincial real estate organizations etc.) ‘except’ its financial (thus its fiduciaries) supporters…Realtors.

        CREA deserves to to chopped up and deposited in a giant slow-cooker crock pot, because that is just what it deserves… because…it is simply a big fat, rotting, over-stuffed, over-hyped carcass of an over-paid bunch of self-back-patting, unrealistic, know-nothing pen-pushers arranged in a disheveled pile of under-cooked, under-experienced, overly-sure-of-itself, cocky bureaucratic pile of putrefying carrion that could not survive three months out in the trenches amongst those whom it directs from on high what to say/not say and do/not do. They would simply be gobbled up by the vulchers, and the land of the Realtor clan would be cleansed.

        By the way, how many at CREA are giving back…for free…’without’ a longing gaze at future personal political advancement within the hive? Yes, I am a bear…a bearer of bad news, for there is too much undeserved honey of poor quality (gleaned from weeds instead of roses) oozing and flowing uselessly about in the hive.

        Those who are truly in it for the greater good…I have immense respect for. The rest are just paid puppets who want to protect their own job security…where there is none for the great unwashed who pay ‘their’ way in ‘their’ comfy in-house world of self-governed protectionism.

        Thank you for recognizing that I do a great job at what I have chosen to do…stir the crock pot…all for free!… relishing the slings and arrows…of which there have been very few so far.

        Methinks that you and others would like to have me censored, but, unlike Russia, China, North Korea…or CREA…this is Canada…and this is REM, where dissenting opinions are welcome…even mine!

        Ta Ta for now!

  2. Ian is absolutely right, about the propriety of the need for disclosure.

    One would think that REALTOR Code of Ethics should prompt a part-time REALTOR to disclose their status – if not provincial regulatory bodies. To take it further, a part-time agent could also be required to partner with a full-time
    agent, so that the obligations of the part-time REALTOR are met, on a full-time basis. This discussion also plays into the “goodwill” value question of a CREA trademark – in particular the REALTOR trademark, as far as what consumers should be able to count on, or expect, regarding the quality or level
    of service.

    Also, on the subject of disclosures, I would suggest that when a market analysis is done on a property, a REALTOR shouldn’t mix certain data. In other words, if someone is determined to sell exclusively, and not expose their home on
    the MLS system, a pertinent Market Analysis should only be based on sales of properties that weren’t marketed using the MLS system. However, how many seller’s have ever been asked to sign a disclaimer, to the effect that they shouldn’t expect similar results when not using the MLS system, to
    its full advantage?

    Likewise, if someone intends to market their home on the MLS system and only offer a token commission, should not the actual sales precedents from this kind of approach be used to generate a pertinent Market Analysis, for the purpose of projecting a likely market outcome? However, since such seller’s usually end up paying a reasonable selling commission, it can be difficult to qualify the exact nature of the marketing effort.

    So, in terms of CREA protecting its trademark entities, where are we with that? Is anyone of us able, at this point, to clearly define the “goodwill” that remains attached to the “MLS” trademark entity? With so many versions of MLS being
    offered, are we able to produce a Market Analysis that will be as accurate now, as it may have been in the past – if we don’t distinguish one type of MLS exposure from another?

    Too many agents, fosters absurd competition – absurd competition may be fine for some industries, but not for a professional one. With market time in the first thirty days of some resale listings – depending on area etc. – costing a seller upwards of 6%, it is of the utmost importance that we can produce an accurate Competitive Market Analysis, and provide full-time service.
    I don’t understand, how the current CREA president would reconcile the client of a part-time agent missing out on an opportunity, due to other employment obligations – especially if said client wasn’t aware of the agents part-time status.

  3. What if part time realtors had to disclose publicly that they sell real estate part time? I highly doubt any one in the public would use them unless they are related. I think it is a shame to list some ones house and not let them know you don’t do this for a living.

    • Ian:

      It is more than a shame. It is misrepresentation by omission.

      I believe that the prime directive of all real estate teachings should deal with the negative concept of Realtor-induced misrepresentation. Does not RECO (Ontario) flog the misrepresentation card interminably? Do not most thinking Realtors who are politically aware realize that CREA misrepresents itself to its taxpayers as being their hired guiding light?

      Can you spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y?

    • At some point you have to lay at least part of the blame at the feet of the consumer. If they don’t ask the right questions, or if they choose to hire their hockey coach’s brother or their cleaning lady’s cousin then they are getting what they deserve in large part.

      CREA could solve the professionalism issue by making it the focus of their TV campaign instead of the idiocy they produce now. Imagine a campaign that really shows consumers how to choose a Realtor based on knowledge, experience, success and ethics.

      That more than anything would motivate those in the business who aren’t professional to change their ways as consumers actually come to learn what’s important in an agent.

      But of course CREA never would go in that direction as that would alienate the majority of their membership.

      • David: I disagree with the thrust of your first paragraph, but I agree wholeheartedly with the balance of your comment.

        Most consumers choose whatever they purchase, be it a product or service, based upon emotion first, and rationale second. Thus they are led astray by their emotions when choosing a Realtor. That reality will never change. It is therefore up to Realtors, and by extension, Realtors’ paid representatives, being CREA, ORE (Ontario) etc. to at least try to educate consumers about how to choose a Realtor, exactly as you have stated. But how does CREA et al warn consumers about how to avoid its own eight-week, class-room course amateur creations with their normal straight faces?

        Your last statement hits the problem squarely at its nexus, because for CREA et al to describe what a consumer should look for in the person of and thereafter to put forth what questions to ask of a potential Realtor, in the weeding out process, would expose the makeup of the workforce for what it is. The amateurs would be forced out of the business even faster than they are currently; educated consumers would not hire them The newbie turnover rate would increase. The professionalism factor would erode even further, faster. The actually professionally behaving long-term experienced pros would experience an even poorer public reflection against their persons as Realtors. Every one would be a loser…except the omnipresent tax collectors.

        I have just submitted a Letter to the Editor dealing with the reality of CREA in a story book manner, entitled…

        “Once Upon A Time: A Story About Misrepresentation”.

        Some of my submissions do not make it onto this site because they are too litigious. I hope this latest one passes muster.

  4. I love some of the lines in the old Western type movies – one of my favorites is: If the good Lord didn’t want them sheared, he wouldn’t have made them sheep.”
    A few years back I ran for a Regional Director’s position with our local Association. I spoke openly in my criticism of the Competition Bureau, going into the election. My opposing candidate had won the nomination of the Nomination Committee, and ultimately won the election. The, then, Executive Officer undertook to gag me, as best he could, by limiting my/ our speech time to just three minutes. My opponent used his three minutes to talk about his family and how much he liked being a Realtor; I wanted to talk about the issues. At this same Regional Election Meeting our Associations Communications Officer gave herself close to a half an hour, to tell our membership about how they were teaching new Realtors, online. Not one person at the meeting, took exception to the two candidates not having enough time to speak! This meeting was a scandalous insult to democratic process!
    It’s fine to criticize CREA, because their leadership has been pathetic, but there are more than a few at the grass roots level that need to find the belly for the fight, too, or at least just find the proper respect for democracy. When you put on a Poppy this time of year, you do it out of respect for those who gave their lives, but too many people don’t respect why they risked their lives, in the first place!

  5. Former Colleagues,
    MLS in Canada is BIG BIG business representing over 250 Million Dollars in revenues per year to support the infrastructure all generally overseen by the 30 million a year CREA.
    That right folks you pay over a quarter of a BILLION dollars each year just to the MLS infrastructure alone. Your Boards of Directors are directed, scared and threatened by paid Board Staff at every meeting they hold, often now overseen by a lawyer who has never been given proper instructions on how best to assist membership.
    If CREA was correct in it’s fear mongering over the CB, why in Quebec are “Limited Agency” listings not a legal option for a licensed practitioner????
    BTW. If you are licensed in Ontario and posting Listings from Quebec you are in breach of RECO.

  6. Crea capitulated and now people in the housing market in Ottawa are getting very Poor representation. Ottawa Bureaucrats would have capitulated instead if Crea asked for $500 from each of us Realtors to fight this over the long term.
    I was a executive in the Federal government and if they saw it was a long expensive fight . the powers that be; hate long term expensive fights without a strong case and would have given up.

    Every time REM is published we read the same types of articles focusing on Professionalism, Ethics, Part time Sales Reps, and the many Organizations ( CREA, OREA, RECO ) ” working together in the best interest of the Industry .
    Total Baloney !!
    1. 99.9 % of Realtors most likely don’t read any articles and could care less .
    2. The nail in the coffin was when CREA ” folded like a deck of cards ” to the Competition Bureau .
    Where the hell were they to fight on behalf of their fee paying customers, the Realtors ?
    Allowing FSBO’s to access the MLS by paying a minimal fee to a Discount Agency is totally nuts .
    3.Tolerating mis-leading ,unethical marketing sure doesn’t help the ” image ” of the Industry.
    These are gimmicks, scams, whatever you want to call them. Too bad some people are stupid enough to fall for these schemes.
    4. Finally, get used to the fact that Real Estate is a low-level education , fee based, commission only Industry.
    The higher the number of Realtors, the higher amount of fees to support the Administration and Policing of the Industry.

    • All of the above + don’t forget to put “salesperson” on your card, and the ever so important “not meant to solicit properties already listed for sale” because we all now how important those two items are in advancing our professionalism.

      • So true — I also love the ” professional ” aspect of plastering the face of the ” Professional Realtor ” all over their vehicle.
        That really looks ” professional ” !!!
        When is the last time you saw a Doctor or Lawyer put their face on their car.
        It looks terrible and demeans the image of the Industry— especially when it is parked outside an Expired listing 2 hours after it was published and the agent is seen running back to their car after droping their card in the mail box.

      That’s nothing. How about the:
      “Move up to this house and ‘ll buy yours for cash.” riders above the SOLD sign.

  8. I’m a new agent, working part-time as I transition from self-employment. The only way to avoid part-timers is to basically guarantee a living wage to newbies, whether that is an apprenticeship or minimum wage with a lower commission. To make this work, we need to increase the minimum education requirement from a night school course to a two-year, full-time college course.

    • Hi Aaron:
      Congratulations on a great career choice.
      What you suggest above re: “living wage” already exists.
      Find a Real Estate Team that is looking to hire.
      Unfortunately there are not many.
      The course requirements we currently have are working out great, as the real work begins out in the field, full-time college courses will in no way serve to better this industry. In our industry we have many requirement changes occuring on a monthly basis.
      Rita Giglione,
      Broker of Record/Owner
      Green Pine Realty Ltd,Brokerage

      • Rita how are they working out great. TREB has 450 new entrants a month. Most agents think the courses were a breeze. The 3-5 year failure rate is abysmal. A few years ago Mississauga had 4000 agents registered in brokerages within city limits and only the top 400 did more than 5 deals annually, Over 2000 did less than 2. How good is that for the public, and what are they learning in the field exactly? Brokerages gain by numbers. Thinking we can train all our agents to be high producers is … well … wishful thinking. Especially since 75%? are not committed to it full time so really do not care to advance in prospecting and business building techniques, or real customer service with the buyer and seller and our industries professionalism as a goal. Never mind gaining a superior understanding of the product we are selling – homes and home construction. Why do all that for 2-3 deals annually- its part time.

        • David:
          I truly feel “Quality Control” for our industry is going to have to start at the Brokerage Level. Instead of Brokerages hiring uncommited Registrants , they have to set standards ( such as not hiring Part-Timers ).
          As I said in my earlier post , I am not aware of any Smart Brokerages that have grasped this concept.
          I believe in order to improve our industry, a major shift in thinking has to occur.
          The biggest beneficiery will be the Public.
          Rita Giglione,
          Broker of Record/Owner
          Green Pine Realty Ltd.

          • I agree Rita. We have marketed our small brokerage on that concept – yet the registrants ended up where they paid next to nothing, or somewhere where they were promised the world only to become part of teams – or ended up in large debt to the brokerage and then jumped ship to the lowest priced. I get it though. When I started big name meant a lot and then I learned the hard way that it was smoke and mirrors.

    • What? You want guarantee a living to try out real estate. Give me a break. Man or Woman up and quit what your doing and jump into Real Estate full time. If you can’t handle it do something else.

  9. If there’s a term I love, it’s “zero based budgeting” or “non-profit”. From CREA to (in my case) RECA and AREA to the Edmonton Realtor’s Assoc.,, that usually means that the administration will find a way to expend their revenues, somewher – generally on staffing, salaires and facilities, not services for membership. I repeat that I’d LOVE to see the results of the audit that the Quebec Boards are requesting.

  10. 1) CREA president Laura Leyser sounds great – she has all her “points” well organized and cohesively presented. Based on the article I am glad to have her as President – she has a lot of resentment, complaints, old baggage and clear concerns from members to sort out this term, PLUS deal with #2

    2) On the Quebec-based boards “threatening” (again) to withdraw from CREA.

    a) Sounds to me like the same strategy as was used by the “Sovereignty-Association” crew at the Constitutional level – asking for special exemptions AND $$ compensation-for-services-provided-locally, expecting/demanding “special status” within the national organization to recognize inherent cultural/language differences, legal uniqueness (rooted in BNA & pre-Confed special-arrangements) blah blah blah -while attempting to hold the whole organization hostage/in doubt, while angling for a better deal — settled in desperation/exasperation in order to make the problem “go away”.

    NB this “usta work” constitutionally when the block-voting characteristic of the electorate’s 75 seats made appeasing that province’s leaderships’ demands a shrewd component of “winning conditions” in the next General Election.

    The “independentiste” Boards have held a vote which failed to give the “desired result”, have re-entered (half-hearted) re-negotiations starting from a dream-come-true, eat-their-cake-and-have-it-too position (and never conceding much of anything) and now are making blustery statements on abuse-of-process and historic-neglect by members from the Rest-of-CREA and are making bold pronouncements about “quitting” (again) as apart of a demagogic warm-up to a 2nd one-member-one-vote plebiscite that (with hope) will actually be the final decision.

    b) I am heartened to read in this month’s (November 2013) printed REM that:

    “The 178-member Chambre immobiliere de la Maurice and the 102-member Chambre immobiliere de Saint-Hyacinthe rejoined CREA after a four-month absence”.

    To me this means that it is still better for boards and their members “to be” full members within the CREA than “not to be”.

    Perhaps the Montreal and Quebec City Boards’ leadership will reflect on these two smaller Boards’ experience testing whether “grass is greener” and to decide to hold their plebiscite(s) tout suite i.e. prior to making any more embarrassing dirty-linen-in-public statements …. I will wager that the less said now, by these 2 leadership crews, the less “crow” that will have to “be eaten” after the plebiscite.

    I further acknowledge, that AFTER the vote, the MTL Quebec City boards’ negotiating position will be weaker than if the threat-of-separation was available as a tool … but let’s be generous to each other, not small and combative.

    Messieurs and Mesdames/Mesdemoiselles, we have bigger issues to solve and tough conditions to soldier-through – best addressed as One United Industry of Professionals.

    Surely we can work out an accommodation of your members’ reasonable legal/technical/legislative issues and figure out how to make allowances for the in-applicability or prohibitions-to-use of the common-law program WebForms and the short-comings of the website.

    c) If the two desperately-seeking self-actualization boards cannot be persuaded in the near-future by logic, negotiation or their members’ wishes to remain within the CREA family, I extend to them the assurance that if they actually do go, and then … want to return, we will welcome them back unashamedly “for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found”



    Robert Ede

    Sales Representative,

    RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd

    Willowdale, Ontario, Canada


  11. You have had conversations with Quebec for 2 1/2 to 3 years and the conversation continues. It doesn’t sound very urgent and, in fact, it doesn’t sound like you grasp the root issue. Allowing third party sellers – FSBOs – who access the MLS through their membership in TREB and who are not licensed in Quebec to list properties on the MLS in Quebec is a violation of the law here and a violation of jurisdiction. It is not rocket science. If you can’t solve this problem, I suspect you are ill equipped to solve the big issues facing our industry. Webforms? Pffft! Webforms is not the irritant propelling the Montreal and QC boards out of CREA. Get real.

  12. So in a nutshell the food-gates remain open. And no matter how much full-timers invest in building a solid and professional business, the opportunity base is crumbling beneath our feet.

    400 new registrants a month at TREB… in some months 450.

    It is not the ‘big players’ in our industry who are scooping up all the listings, its the 2-3 sales a year multiplied by 12000 and growing ‘do a deal or two’ part timers.

    Maybe I will show up at a meeting once somebody stands up for me and tells me that I am not cut from the same cloth as 19 year who “becomes Realtor to do a couple of deals to help pay for University”.

    Oh – and if you’re in the outlying area’s of TREB – don’t worry we will travel and not refer, we have no choice.

    Whats the sense – the whole system is rigged to earn by numbers/bodies – brokerages included.

    It will take a huge backlash by the public to bring the current system to its knees.

    When we run out regular people to sign up, there are always the homeless and underprivileged. Lets sign them up for the courses- never know could find a gem !

  13. Laura speakers with many years of experience.
    But like many that are in politics she said a whole lot of words without a single direct clear answer.
    Shame she missed a chance to address us all on the topics.

  14. Firstly, I skimmed the article. I do not believe I read anywhere the true reason Quebec and soon the rest of the provinces want out of CREA! Their caving in and allowing FSBO to pollute our MLS. Everything else is a smokescreen and window dressing. If we had to give up our industry like this, all the full time committed agents would have wanted it with a full blown legal battle where our concerns would have been voiced even at the risk of raising your measly dues. It was worth fighting for for us committed salespeople.

    Secondly, I don’t know what it’s like to sell real estate on Stratford but perhaps it’s a sleepy town. (Need I say more)
    She sees no problem with over 20,000 part time low producing salespeople raping and polluting the industry which the full timers have committed to. She actually has the nerve to suggest the are needed comparing it to the medical profession. Lady, wake up! Do you want to go to the hospital staffed with part time medical personnel? Many don’t speak English.

    You are out of touch.

  15. Thank you Jim for providing us with a very revealing, insightful glimpse into the inner sanctum of the group-think mentality of the CREAcrats via your interview.

    First of all, let me say that I am sure that Laura is a very nice, upstanding person. I know a very influential Toronto Realtor (an OREA instructor) who knows Laura personally, and I am told by said Realtor that Laura is a quality individual. Having said that, Laura said something that highlights one of the very real problems with ORE’s governance structure/model, and it is this: “I guess that I don’t see part-timers as a problem when I’m out trading in real estate.” This from a part-time President no less.

    Imagine, if you will, what kind of governance Canada would wobble under if never-ending, revolving-door, new, part-time Federal Prime Ministers (folks who had other, ongoing full-time jobs) were elected/replaced every year by the there-forever ‘unelected’ federal bureaucracy, and ‘not’ the tax payers. Who do you think would be ‘really’ running the country? Answer: The there-forever, ‘unelected’, no-skin-in-the-game, unaccountable bureaucrats…people like Gary Simeonson…people who receive very generous guaranteed pay packages (paid to them out of the pockets of nonguaranteed income earners via meritocracy), no matter how much the dues/tax incomes may diminish. Ridiculous.

    Do you seriously think that if Quebec pulls out of CREA, that the bureaucrats will take a percentage cut to their pay packets reflecting the percentage loss of income? Of course not. Services will be cut. What services? The services that don’t really matter, like goofy TV ads.

    The governance structure/model that is Canadian ORE’s albatross is an abomination to the minds of politically aware folks. One hundred thousand plus ORE tax-payers are ordered to cough up funds without direct representation regarding how those funds are spent. Shades of one of Justin Trudeau’s favourite governance models in dictatorial communist China.

    The CREAcrat mandarins, being the equivalent of the the Canadian federal government’s Ottawa bureaucracy, are who are running ‘your’ show, Canadian Realtors. ‘Your’ part-time, so-called, “Presidents”, are simply short-term window dressings.

    An entirely ‘new’ system of ORE governance is required, and not just some tinkering with the current system.

    Another comment made by Laura is very telling indeed, and it is this: “Being the President is a privilege. I don’t look at it that I am here to make a lot of changes come to fruition, or that I’m going to make the industry better—it’s made me better.”…………………………………..Really?!

    Laura’s hands are tied firmly behind her back, and she has been muzzled. If this is not true, on both counts, then she has simply bought into the twisted tradition of becoming real estate royalty within a long line of part-time talking heads with no power. A president should be FULL-TIME, with terms of at least four years, ELECTED by the dues/tax payers. A democratically elected President should come from the trenches, and said President should tell the Gary Simeonsons of the bureaucratic world what ‘will’ be done, and not be guided/governed in-house by the current, other-way-’round, undemocratic, top-down, dictatorial system of behind-closed-doors manipulations…for the good of the bureaucracy. Your part-time, powerless Presidents come and go, using the office to make themselves better people. They should be there to make changes that allow YOU to become better, FULL TIME PROFESSIONAL REALTORS.

    Ain’t never gonna happen with a part-time, lame-duck presidency being run by a full-time, unelected, well-salaried, well-entrenched, inward-looking, JOB ONE?…GROW-THE-BUREAUCRACY!-minded federal government equivalent of the silly service running your affairs.

    I am sure that the bureaucrats are very nice folks, like Laura, but they are ‘not’ looking out for your interests as their first priority. That is an impossibility under the current, long standing system of ORE’s elitist, disfunctional misgovernance.

    Bring on the tirades! (pro and con)

    • Addendum to the above post:

      Now Canadian Realtors know exactly why CREA caved in to Melanie Aitken (many of you readers will be newbies and will not even know who Aitken is). Bureaucrats, those CREAcrat behind-the-scenes influence peddlers, who have no skin in the rough and tumble trials of trying to transact real estate deals, who get paid nice fat salaries, regardless of the state of affairs out there in the trenches, who personally lost nothing by virtually giving away the rights to the MLS to highjackers, and thereafter suffered no personal financial burdens because of those same said highjackers being allowed to legally skim the system to the financial detriment of the monetary foundation maintainence crew (100,000 thousand plus traditional Realtors), are responsible for the dissatisfaction that is underlying ORE today, at least amongst those who are paying attention.

      Your in-house undemocratically ‘elected’ (by approved voting delegates only) revolving-door, part-time, so-called Presidents, although being nice people, are simply puppets at the ends of the strings of the well entrenched regime of mandarin puppeteers. No President, friendly to the in-house establishment, can come onto the scene, immediately turn rogue, and within one year do anything of substance to derail the powers that be. It will take an outsider, an outlier, to somehow gain a position of authority within CREA and thence turn the runaway ship of fools around. Heads will have to roll. The constitution will have to be rewritten. Democratic elections will have to be instituted for the positions of: President; Vice President; Manager (No CEO…what for?); Government Liason Specialist, etc., on down the line. A new position, called “Devil’s Advocate” needs to exist to offset any goofy-headed tweedy ideas that may be floated by non-practicing Realtors. Actually-practicing Realtors need to take control of their own ship of state; it does not belong to faceless, experienceless, heedless bureaucrats. But, with only 250 souls attending a TREB meeting out of 38,000 members…who the hell really cares?

      As I have said numerous times herein before, in a democracy, the voting/non-voting population always gets the government it deserves. However, ORE is not governed by a democracy; it is ruled by a revolving oligarchy. The only way to create a democratic system from an oligarchic system is to bankrupt the oligarchs, and thence start fresh with popularly elected democrats gleaned from the working-in-the-trenches masses.

      ORE’s grass roots’ taxpayers do not need any more comfy elitist give-away artists telling them what to do.

      • Hey Brian, Love the poison pen! I just wish some of the overstuffed, overpaid crew at CREA would read it and see what is being said! And please, please may the useless ads be the first to go! But what do I know having only been in the business full time for 36 years?

  16. Congratulations Laura, we have met at a few of the Real Estate Board meetings, and I really like your down to earth approach to issues facing Realtors. CREA is very lucky to have you as their president.
    Rita Giglione,
    Broker of Record/Owner
    Green Pine Realty Ltd., Brokerage

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