I read with great interest the two Letters to the Editor in REM (July) by Mike Montague and Joseph Panchyshyn and I thought the letters were passionate and to the point.

Mike seems to feel that he has the support of and speaks for the 100,000 members of CREA, and that would be great if he did. Mike, did you miss the part about CREA agreeing to the 10-year Prohibition Order? If the membership had spoken loud and clear then, with the support that Mike feels he has now, then we wouldn’t be talking about it.

Mike proclaims we must take an unprecedented stand once and for all or risk the continued and accelerating erosion of our profession. That’s a profound statement in light of what happened just mere months ago in St. John’s. The vote was taken and CREA and the membership buckled to the Competition Bureau for another 10 years. We had the opportunity to go head to head and have a third party declare who was right and who was wrong, and we ran away, didn’t have the stomach for the fight or the so-called financial wherewithal, and oh yeah, don’t forget the bad press.

Joseph’s letter wondered why the Competition Bureau doesn’t go after the oil industry that rakes in billions of dollars of profits and negatively impact the lives of every Canadian. I’m going to go out on a limb and say I believe it has something to do with the word “billions.” The oil boys have the stomach for the fight and the “billions” to go with it and that makes the Competition Bureau nothing more than an aggravation from time to time. I am sure that will continue unless Melanie Aitken really wants a fight.

I do agree with what Mike and Joseph had to say. Maybe they could get a petition signed by 100,000 members and present it to the president and executive of CREA, showing just how much support they have. I would be happy to sign that petition.

I would also like to nominate Bill Johnston, past-president of TREB, as the next president of CREA. It sounds like he is up for the fight and could actually make it happen, because until it does, Melanie Aitken and the Competition Bureau will have their way with CREA and their 100,000 members, and put us on the shelf 10 years at a time.

I find it ironic that TREB and its 31,000 members is in the position to take on the Competition Bureau, but in the end as Johnston said, they will have a policy in place to appease the bureau, or so he hopes. It sure sounds familiar and almost the same circumstances that CREA had, and we know what happened there.

The membership should stay tuned. You never know when Melanie Aitken and the bureau will come knocking at our door, although I think their knocking could best be described as huffing and puffing.

Brian Hirtle


Century 21 Annapolis Valley Realty

Kentville, N.S.


  1. I find Rod Thompson's statement on the point of open houses and other initiatives outside of internet exposure, as just being about REALTOR personal marketing interesting and of course synical.

    I bought my first home in 1980, long before I started selling Real Estate. I was driving in the Eastern Shore and saw some open house signs. I kept following the signs until I found the property. It was a cottage on a lake that I converted to a year round home. Yes, the listing agent made a sale and so much for personal marketing because I remember my home but I don't remember who the listing agent was! Oh, and my most recent sale as a REALTOR, came as a result of the Buyer's contacting me just because they thought I was having an open house – wow another sale!

    By the way Rod, I don't feel I take a good picture – personally, of me – so I've never credited my handsome face with what transpires in a sales sense, really however, that's not to say that I don't consider myself to be good looking.

    A good salesperson knows that a sale can come from anywhere!

  2. CREA is increasingly a spent force and a loss of annual membership dues.

    Beauchamp built a personal fiefdom that provided lucrative work for him and his lawyer wife and every fee-paying member of CREA has been deceived into believing that CREA is actually a force to be reckoned with.

    Wake up, smell the coffee. Go independent.

  3. I suggest that all of you should stop focusing on the CB issue and worry more about what lies on the world-wide economic horizon. It is horror in the making and when it shows it's ugly head, it's not going to be a pretty picture. For the past few years, I've made several postings on REM concerning this upcoming world-wide economic catastrophy but all I got back from many of you was scold and ridicule for my position. Think what you like, but I suggest that you be mindful of my stance. I am not a doom and gloomer. I am simply pointing out reality. Good luch and may God help us all.

    • Hi John:

      You've got that one right.

      I need not go on and on about how the movers and shakers in concert with the turned-blind-eyes of the regulators in the U S A started this whole mess back around 2000. This debacle evolved on the reality of the unreality that most people wanted to believe the pie-in-the-sky predictions of the 'experts' (said experts preached on behalf their own interests, of course).



    • The existing USA problem Brian is in part the result of the crazy actions of war mongers Bush and son. Billions wasted on that and continue to be wasted, and the other part is of course the sub-prime mortgage lending fiasco that changed the face of the earth. . The additional problem now is the tremendous amount of household debt caused mainly by super low interest rates. We're are now in a terribly ugly financial mess that in my view is far from being solveable. If all of that is not enough, additionally, there is so much turmoil and unrest throughout the universe.

  4. Risks of Limited Representation;

    To the SELLER,
    the following items are highly likely to be challenged in court by an educated Buyer looking to take advantage, before, during and after the sale process. (there are actually 67 items on the complete list and it has been reviewed by 5 lawyers who have handled over 50,000 home purchases combined)

    1) False Advertising of Product Details
    2) Misinterpreted verbal statements on property
    3) Misrepresentation by posting on realtor.ca that the home is represented by the Listing Company clearly displayed on realtor.ca. The paperwork and sign offs required to ensure the buyers are clear on this are very very exact i
    4) Human Rights Charges- If anyone who wishes to view the home is excluded from viewing for any reason, specifically race, creed, colour, sex, gender or previous criminal record.
    5) Personal Safety- No 3rd party screening buyers and accompanying them on tour.
    5a) Theft- Sellers are easy targets whose guard is quickly lowered by a "nice family" who are then allowed to separate during the home tour.
    6) Females or Children- I think this is self explanatory
    7) No E&O coverage
    8) Home Insurance-has anyone communicated for the home owner to revise their home insurance liability while it is for sale (one slip on ice). Remember they are INVITING these strangers to their home.
    9) Limited exposure because of lack of online marketing expertise or advertising education
    9a) Lack of buyer responses who require emotional attraction often found in the property's marketing materials
    10) The Fact over 80% of all Buyers automatically exclude FSBO homes because of bias.
    11) Any errors that appear on any printed material about the property are the sellers fault (remember they have no experience on what to or not to put on the material)
    12) The home must be offered to every Canadian at the same price. Any indication that the home is offered at any time to anyone at a lower price must be communicated to EVERYONE. REALLY a big issue when a disgruntled buyer wants retribution after the fact.
    13) Increased Lawyer Fees as the lawyer now must consider the Limited Representation obligations the REALTOR was required to do.
    14) No 3rd party on hand to handle negotiations, ensure contract is legally binding and ensure all timelines are handled to preclude a walk away at closing.
    15) Theft of identity via NO Privacy Provisions enacted.
    16) No Deposit Insurance
    17) Deposit Cheque bouncing but legal obligation to still be tied to the contract
    18) Criminals using the purchase to Launder Money making the seller guilty by association until proven innocent.
    19) Failure to Disclose ANY fact discovered in the first 2 years after purchase would in all probability be upheld by the courts
    20) Failure of Home to obtain a High Enough Appraisal by Buyers Lender with no 3rd party to rectify the situation
    21) Personal and Business integrity damages if any buyer pursues any action against the seller for any reason. ( this could be picked up by the press)
    22) etc

    And this is just the beginning. It has been revealed about 55 different legal actions that could be commenced against The Limited Representation REALTOR by the Seller using their services who discovers the real obligations the REALTOR assumed at the moment of Representing them in posting on realtor.ca.

    No of course most brokerages have enough experience in house that they have seen or become aware of all the issues mentioned on the list of 67 items, and most brokerages can act to ensure the home seller is protected while using Full Representation with their brokerage, at whatever price they deem appropriate.

  5. I love reading Ross's angry banter. First it was about the protection of personal information, then it switched to full representation versus no representation. He even commented to me that, I have no control over my personal brand and that SellerInvite is compromised. Ross says I've chosen a company name that cannot be trademarked…well Ross you're wrong. SellerInvite.com(TM) is in fact trademarked and we have just succesfully dealt with an agent who used sellerinvite in a url. Proof Ross likes to blow a lot of smoke.

    Ross also talks about, "Limited Representation REALTORS who are afraid the consumer will find out the truths of Limited Representation" ….Ross what are the truths? we'd really like to know.

    He tells us not to confuse the consumer with SERVICE vs REPRESENTATION, that Property Guys can offer SERVICE but they can’t offer REPRESENTATION in any province in this country…We don't! SellerInvite.com can OFFER BOTH and we can do it at a FAIR PRICE to the consumer.

    Ross says we cannot confuse CUSTOMER with CLIENT, because CLIENTS require legal protections CUSTOMERS do not, so both have to be told what that means FULLY…WE DO THAT! and both clients and customers are comfortable with the risks associated with each directin they choose.

    DUAL AGENCY around the world, in all professions, has NOT been accepted by ANY court as having advantages. DUAL AGENCY means assuming risks for the professional that are not financially viable with an informed public who access to an affordable court system…TRADITIONAL REALTORS DO THIS ALL THE TIME! What do you suggest Ross?

    As for this; "I am sorry David but anyone with a one page website, who is not CREA compliant, who is not Trademark compliant, with no address of service, offering a brand FLEXCOM with no presence online, who has no indexed listings sourceable, may have qualified as a REALTOR business in 1975 but not today. It is clear why you are seeking CUSTOMERS instead of CLIENTS"…blah blah blah. Ross you need to stop making assumtions and you need to stop speaking for others.

  6. Forget the Dream, It's the slap in the face Full Representation REALTORS need to respond too. It's time to put up a hand and block the next blow because if we don't they will keep coming.

    CREA has allowed "Mere Postings" and "Limited Representation" Listings on realtor.ca, because it has to respect the business models of all it's members under Canadian Law.

    That does not mean it MUST AGREE WITH AND PROMOTE those business models.

    CREA can legally PROMOTE Full Representation, if it (meaning CREA membership) believes that Full Representation protects consumers while all other forms of Representation DO NOT.

    CREA can post Sale to List Price Ratios of Full Representation against "Mere Posters". CREA can promote the damages done by going the FSBO route. CREA can enact privacy provisions and market this as another reason to choose Full Representation.

    So, if CREA can do this, Why aren't they?????


    • David,
      You are factually incorrect under the laws of Canada and those of us who are backed by the laws of the land are simply tired of your abuse of the organization that is CREA.
      Your statements are false below and are common statements spoken by Limited Representation REALTORS who are afraid the consumer will find out the truths of Limited Representation and seek legal remedies on those who did not fully disclose the inevitable outcomes of Limited Representation. ( Now if you personally did this, have it acknowledged in writing by the customer/client and the courts find your disclosure completely accurate and understandable by the average customer/client, you are the lucky one).

      You cannot confuse the consumer with SERVICE vs REPRESENTATION. Property Guys can offer SERVICE but they can't offer REPRESENTATION in any province in this country.

      You cannot confuse CUSTOMER with CLIENT, because CLIENTS require legal protections CUSTOMERS do not, so both have to be told what that means FULLY.

      DUAL AGENCY around the world, in all professions, has NOT been accepted by ANY court as having advantages. DUAL AGENCY means assuming risks for the professional that are not financially viable with an informed public who access to an affordable court system.

      I am sorry David but anyone with a one page website, who is not CREA compliant, who is not Trademark compliant, with no address of service, offering a brand FLEXCOM with no presence online, who has no indexed listings sourceable, may have qualified as a REALTOR business in 1975 but not today. It is clear why you are seeking CUSTOMERS instead of CLIENTS.

  7. I had a dream last night that I was dancing with Ms Aitken to the 1970's hit tune, "I believe In Miracles" by Hot Chocolate, and that she gave me a kiss and thanked me for supporting her stance on her case against TREB. I told her that she was a wonderful dancer and wished well with her case.

    • Hi John, old pal:

      Sounds like you're "ach'in for Ms Aitken!"

      Just kidding!! She is rather good looking, isn't she?

      I had a dream once about Ms Aitken, but it was a nightmare.

      She picked me up at a singles bar, and, we danced to the Rhumba, but she didn't want me to lead. Then we left…

      After talking for awhile, she made mention of a particular competitve position that she approved of.

      When she realized that I didn't like her stance, she then accused me of abuse of dominant position, and told me to "Take off, eh", or she would would drag me before the Tribunal, charged with
      "Not complying with government approved competitive positions"

      (Hers in particular applied to those of my ilk )

      I said "I'll see ya in court, baby, I know when I'm on the up and up"

      My defence was "She could have gone back to the bar and picked up another dancer, and that she should have asked questions first about whether said dancer(s) could satisfy her demand for a match for her competitve position."

      Then she would have known what she was getting into, up front, and made an informed choice.

      It's all about asking questions, and educating one's self prior to securing the services of a provider, in a competitve environment.

      I woke up prior to the court's decision, and vowed not to drink any more chocolate milkshakes laced 50 / 50 with Bailey's Irish Cream after 10:00 PM.



    • Hello Brian. Pleasure reading your interesting posts and thank you for responding to mine. I must say, you have a way with words. Always interesting and sometimes with a touch of humour. In response to one of your paragraphs, It may interest you to know that Ms Aitken did go to another bar, and that's how she met me and wound up dancing with me to the tune, I believe in miracles. Enjoy the long hioliday weekend and I look forward to meeting you one day soon. John M.

    • Hi John:


      I had another dream last night. This time Ms Aitken asked me to list her property, but she only wanted to proceed on the basis of a "mere posting" on MLS.

      I said "I don't come cheap"…I don't do anything with the adjective "mere" as part of the bargain."

      She replied "I'll have you know that I am not cheap either!"

      I think I offended her sensibilities.

      Then some guy dressed in a dark suit sauntered into view; I'm not sure, but I think he looked like a stereotypical lawyer.

      All of a sudden Ms Aitken changed her demeanor, and mysteriously seemed to be drawn, almost against her will. toward the lawyer-type guy. He didn't say anything, just kept lurking in the shadows. It was creepy, man.

      Then something round, greyish green and silent from outer space descended on us like a cheap Walmart umbrella just before collapsing, and swept Ms Aitken and the guy up into the stratoshere. A voice from the umbrella said "Don't worry sir, I am just going to take them into some fresh, cold air, that the lady can clear her head so that she can start thinking straight, and that the guy can cool his heels by the same token."

      As I began to stir, a news flash appeared before me, stating that there was to be a class-action suit against some new real estate company alleging false advertising due to the small print being misleading, something like Insurance policies.

      Then I woke up.

      Strangely, I was not disappointed in the outcome.

      I hope Ms Aitken got home safely.

    • It would appear that Ms Aitken did in fact get home safely Brian. I read the following in The Toronto Star this A.M:

      OTTAWA—No one in Ottawa would ever take on Bell, Rogers, huge credit card companies, Air Canada and the real estate industry all in the name of consumer protection, right?

      Wrong. Canadian consumers, long a neglected species when it comes to government help, suddenly have a new champion in the form of a courtroom litigator from Toronto named Melanie Aitken.

  8. There is a particularly interesting question posed to Merv July 27 in the OREA ite under Previous Questions.

    It will be interesting to see if this one gets to RECO and to learn the facts of the case then see how they rule. I won't give anything away except to say that while it is a breach of TREB rules on dual postings ( if that is jurisdiction) the RECO hearing will be very relevant to 'innovative' concepts.

  9. Everyone,

    Luckily we have Merv ( and look he may totally disagree with my comments on Privacy but at least he investigates). Why is his voice often the only one we here, making recommendations and educating our profession on mass.

    I honestly don't remember how many years I have read this guy's commentary and updates but it seems to be as long as the 24 years I have been in the business. He has lead me to research dozens of topics that I believe have allowed me to mentally stay on top of this profession. He often has supplied me with information that many local lawyers are surprised to find out has already undergone court scrutiny.

    And we don't pay this guy a nickel!!!!!!

    Rod Thompson,
    In my opinion, Full Representation is the only way to protect the Canadian Real Estate market and I believe once Full Representation REALTORS have a marketing platform that is specifically for them, where the benefits of Full Representation and the hazards of Limited Representation, are clearly and precisely laid out before the eyes of the Canadian Public, the Public will make the wise choice, the same one they make today.
    I am tired of people insulting the intelligence of the 80% of Home Sellers who continue to choose Full Representation.

    This has nothing to do with Commission or Cost, it's about Full Representation versus Limited or NO Representation.

    1) If you can offer Full Representation at a Limited Representation Price, do it.
    2) If you can get E/O Insurance on your own while offering Limited Representation then, do it but don't ask me to pay for it.
    3) If you can fund a realtor.ca replacement for Limited Representation REALTORS, do it but don't ask me to fund it.

    This is about competition. Full Representation REALTORS are now about to start competing against you on a level marketing field without their hands tied behind their backs by CREA, which is the only reason the competition bureau is able to force decisions on our industry, cart blanche.

    I personally believe Limited Representation REALTORS need to revise their method of dealing with the public in order to protect themselves from legal challenges from their clients, once the public becomes informed of what they were not told by some Limited Representation REALTORS. I believe Limited Representation REALTORS need to make Full and Complete Disclosures to their clients about the potential negative consequences of Limited Representation. Without these full and complete disclosures, signed off in writing by Home Sellers, I believe the Limited Representation REALTOR opens their business up to huge liability from former clients.

    This needs to be posted on an independent website, scrutinized by lawyers for accuracy and no misrepresentation, then promoted Canada Wide.

    "Again this has nothing to do about Commission but everything to do with Representation."

    Lawyers are required to do this, why should REALTORS be able to allude this responsibility.

    • Now its about representation? What happened to privacy? What happened to photos telling the bad guys our clients "like red wine" or "wear suits to work"?

      If consumers want just the exposure of REALTOR.ca and no representation from a REALTOR then I'm glad to let them and if they want full representation then we'll give them that as well. Don't confuse REALTOR.ca with the professional services that I provide or the MLS System as a whole….REALTOR.ca is one part of that and a tool that we REALTORS use to market our clients homes. And don't confuse the ability of members in our industry to provide a high level of service with only high fees because they do not go hand in hand and nowhere does our rules, our policies or our bylaws have anything to say about fees or what we should or have to charge consumers.

      By the way, I beleive strongly that every seller should aquire the services of a "good" and "experienced" REALTOR when they sell their home but I don't beleive in forcing them to do so. I offered that full service, full representation option for one flat fee $999 in 2008 and I proved that consumers are receptive to that option.

      In 2008 I also alowed sellers to choose what they wanted to offer to the cooperating brokerage for bringing a qualified buyer to the table and guess what? REALTORS showed our homes and purchased our homes even when the offering was not what was deemed "standard fees". I was comfortable with the system as it was because I wasn't breaking any rules, but many of our industry members, our peers, did everything they could to discredit myself and my company and continue to do so today…I have the emails and the clients to prove it. I have and continue to experience the reality that what we say is not what we do and I know full well what the real issues here are.

      Because members in our industry wanted to offer clients different service options and different fee structures, and because our industry did everything to stop them is why we are here. And if we were so right then consumers would support us in this but they are not and that is why the Bureau is all over our industry like butter on bread.

      It's to late to claim our industry only wants to protect consumers when all we really want to do is restrict their freedom and force them to have to pay the unrealistically high fees we've been used to. Our industry can now take a bow because we failed to listen and because we failed to change. We've now opened the doors to those who want to simply sell off REALTOR.ca for a few bucks, those people we dislike so much. This wide open environment has forced me to offer a simple MLS option for dirt cheap…do I agree with it? No I don't but I'll do it to compete and I'll provide it if consumers want it and if I can do it without breaking any rules. In fact, if we all offered this option there would be no room for those who just want to offer REALTOR.ca with no service and we could continue to compete for those who do want full service at whatever price we want.

      Here's even more news for those trying to disquise our real intentions…nobody is buying it. The Boards are not buying it. The competition Bureau is not buying nor is any other division of the government. More importantly though the public isn't buying it and doing things like shutting down REALTOR.ca will not change that, it'll only put us out of business and it's unrealistic and it's childish, a real reflection of the dark side of this industry.

      So I'll say it again and I'm sure many times after this, let's be honest with consumers and ourselves, let's argue from a position of reality bcause if we had any leg to stand on with the Bureau we'd still be standing and consumers would'nt be using my cheaper options and succesfully selling their homes.

    • Couple more things; you may feel full representation is the only way to protect the Canadian real estate market but for years many have felt full representation REALTORS have only protected themselves.

      You may believe full representation REALTORS should have an exclusive marketing platform that is specifically for them and we did have one, but we told consumers that they could only access it if they paid ridiculously high fees no matter the quality of service or representation provided to them.

      And you may feel there are hazards of limited representation and I agree there are some, but they are far from the level you might make them out to be. I see many sellers succesfully selling their homes without representation and I see many who felt their REALTORS did them more harm than good. Example: I deal with many sellers who were given unrealistically high evaluations on their homes and sat on the market as their home continued to lose value. Was it an unqualified REALTOR or a REALTOR who used a high evaluation to beat out a competitor for the listing? Should we provide sellers with full disclosure that they may not be getting a qualified REALTOR capable of helping them or that they may be subject to unethical competitive practices that have existed within our industry for years?

      I've learned that using fear as a means to isolate people in fact pushes them away, it's trust that brings them closer.

      And no one is insulting the intelligence of home sellers who choose full representation, where does that even come from? If they want to choose full representation and if they want to pay high fees to do so then what's changed that stops them from doing so?

      And as for my E/O insurance, I've paid my own fees for years and will continue to pay my own fees so don't concern yourself with that. Sellers choosing to act without representation are doing so with the full knowledge that the mistakes they make are their own, they're not using our system as a means to lay blame so don't blow that out of proportion either. With all the reduced risk, maybe I should get my premiums reduced?

      Fear, unrealistic arguments and undefendable positions can only go so far and last so long and the sooner we accept this new reality the sooner we can adapt and emerge stronger than ever before.

      Rod Thompson, Broker and Founder

    • Rod,
      It is clear you have a very dim and limited view of our profession, actually I would suspect you don't even consider it a profession but that is your choice.

      Any REALTOR who acts as you claim should be charged, stripped of their license and disbarred (if we could do so). You cannot paint the industry with a brush, you have chosen to dip in dirt and have them respect you. Your comments are clear breaches of the REALTOR CODE of CONDUCT and show your disrespect for members of this industry.

      The consumer can and does choose who they do or do not work with. If they make an uneducated or ill informed decision that is their choice. What the problem is that the average consumer has never been educated or properly informed of what Professional Full Representation REALTORS actually can do for them.

      Any REALTOR who discredited or chose to "boycott" your listings should be charged. It is your responsibility, if you have proof, to do so in order to protect our profession but…

      Don't confuse the fact that the Listing Agent can negotiate the Buyers Commission. You are only negotiating Buyers Commission for yourself or anyone who is foolish enough to choose "Custom Service" over "Client Service". As the Listing Agent you CANNOT LEGALLY negotiate my buyers contract and thus what I will or will not be paid. If your sellers choose to not respect the contract I have signed with my buyer than they may have chosen to have their home excluded from consideration. My Buyers knowing this fact, prior to signing the buyers contract, have knowning made this decision themselves.

      BTW: As a Full Representation REALTOR, who works with a major national brand, who offers his clients a full marketing and advertising program, who includes all the costly tools needed to successfully get Top Dollar for my clients homes, I PERSONALLY am agreeing to spend $3467 immediately when I sign a listing in the first 2 weeks of the listing. On going the expense increases each week there after. Again my clients receive a full written disclosure of my costs prior to signing a listing which I encourage them to take to their lawyer or accountant for substantiation.

    • To Ross with no last name,

      I do a great deal more than most to inform consumers of the true value of using a good REALTOR and I don't muck it up with a lot of smoke and mirrors.

      Yes any REALTOR who acts as I claim should be charged, stripped of their license and disbarred but the issue is consumers don't want to get involved in our dirty politics they just wat to sell homes.

      As for my comments, they are far from breaches of the REALTORS Code of Conduct. The code doesn't restrict me from expressing my views, nor does it keep me from telling the truth about the issues I have with fellow industry members.

      If the problem is that the average consumer has never been educated or properly informed of what professional full representation REALTORS actually can do for them then enlighten us will you. Is it open houses? Is it your handsome face on a just listed card, or in a glossy magazine? Maybe it's a flashy website? If it is you're dead wrong because all that is designed to do is market the agent not the sellers home. Guess what? MLS does that and it's cheap to use and provides proven results and true national exposure. But please let us know what it is that you provide with full representation.

      If what you say is true, "As the Listing Agent you CANNOT LEGALLY negotiate my buyers contract and thus what I will or will not be paid." …..Then why do we need the pilar of remuneration? Let's just get rid of it completely. If every agent signs a buyer agency contract then I don't have to worry about posting a fee, you guys can determine your fee on your own and you don't have to exclude a sellers home who isn't offering what your contract states. Sounds fair doesn't it?

      Which leads to your next comment, "If your sellers choose to not respect the contract I have signed with my buyer than they may have chosen to have their home excluded from consideration." …Sounds like you're acting in your best interests not your buyers. Are you breaching your fiduciatry duty to act in your clients best interest? Has our industry done so by providing a means for sellers to be excluded from having potential buyers see their homes? Are we acting in an anti-competitive fashion, one that favours agents who demand higher fees versus other competitive brands? Well I'm looking into that now.

      Imagine if buyers knew this strategy that our Boards are openly supporting. That contracts work more to protect the fees of the agent than the interests of the buyer. I'm cool with this, just remove the pillar of compensation then all homes are on levl playing field.

      And finally your comment, "My Buyers knowing this fact, prior to signing the buyers contract, have knowning made this decision themselves."… do they really know the implications and the intent?

      Also, you haven't answered the question as to why the shift away from privacy to representation?

      Rod Thompson, Founder

    • Hi David,

      Full Representation is an absolute, meaning all that is required by law. A Full Representation REALTOR, represents the client from the moment they sign a Sellers or Buyers Contract until and even after the closing date has taken place. They assume all liability for all aspects of the sale or purchase, assume all risks both financial and legal. Now of course each of us determines what is included in our Full Representation Service and a wise consumer will pay an amount commensurate with the service they get.

      CREA has been misguided in how it has marketed our profession by the mistaken assumption that they cannot promote all of us equally. They can promote Full Representation as well as Limited Representation as long as they explain facts and encourage the consumer to become more educated. CREA can even post a Sellers or Buyers Education tool on it's website that spells out the benefits of full representation and the risks of Limited or No Representation with no fear of being anti-competitive as long as it is truthful and non-biased.

      A Full Representation REALTOR never offers Limited or Mere Posting Representation because they know that would compromise their clients. A Full Representation REALTOR cannot talk out of both sides of their mouths by offering multiple levels of Representation because the courts would find them negligent when challenged.

      BTW: CREA has done another poor job of educating REALTORS of the real liability they assume via a mere posting. In all professions, the courts have shown a consistent approach to rulings when the consumer is assumed to be "not in the know". Mere Posters and Limited Representation are sure to see class action lawsuits launched against them when a community becomes aware of the potential rewards such an action could generate. I think CREA use to say something about "walking and quacking like a duck, means the consumer expects a duck". The simple waivers and disclosures are only protection if the consumer REALLY knows what they mean.

      Rod Thompson,
      Why you never post your last name on any site that involves indexing or where someone could repost to another site that is also indexed, is because a business cannot afford to have it's first page of any search engine search direct consumers to any site but the one that it owns. REALTORS do not have multi-million dollar branding budgets like Ford or TD so they have to be careful.
      A search of "Rod Thompson" shows you have no control over your personal brand and even Seller Invite is already compromised.
      You have chosen a company name that cannot be trademarked, which I am sure Douglas has informed you of, which means your brand can be controlled in all online searches in the same way PropertyGuys.com and Viewpoint.ca can.

      Currently across Canada REALTORS individual brands are being compromised by sites like Active Rain, zoocasa, homefinder and Zillow, etc, all who have plans to require you to pay them in the future. It's ironic the only Property Portal that does not index is realtor.ca itself ( previously I would say this was foolish but because of the DDF I now that my stars for their previous ignorance)
      In the coming 2 years indexing will devastate many personal brands and prove to compromise personal branding initiatives everywhere.

      And…Full Representation obliges the professional REALTOR to be legally responsible for their clients Privacy and Protection in all marketing efforts.. online included.

    • "Limited Representation REALTOR's" should be an oxymoron. The concept – as a means of attracting new business – represents a fundamental change in the goodwill that had previously been associated with REALTOR® as a trademark entity. As businesses are legally entitled to protect the goodwill associated with their trademark entities every business with a trademark has potentially something to lose if they can't effectively protect the goodwill associated with their trademark and if they can't, the ® is worthless! When we do something just to compete it becomes an ethical question and when REALTOR® is involved there shouldn't be any ethical questions!

  10. Less some REALTOR remains oblivious to what is going on with listings posted online here is information provided to me 3 years ago on one of my listings featured on mls.ca (now realtor.ca) X’s were the correct words and the following accurate information was provided.
    I had included the address on mls so XXXX Drive, XXXXXXXXX Ontario,
    Owners (via cross reference) Mr XXXX and Mrs. XXXX,
    Age Mid to Late 30′s
    Phone number 905XXXXXXX
    2 children
    Boy 8-10 -plays soccer and lacrosse, favorite color blue, plays piano
    Girl 11-13- plays soccer and ringette, favorite color yellow, likes unicorns, has ipod and cell phone
    Family is Catholic
    He has post secondary education
    He attended Queens
    He is an engineer
    He may have a motorcycle (this was correct too)
    They purchase foreign brand cars
    She is Stay at Home Mom
    She has post secondary education
    She has some degree
    She is over weight and trying to lose it
    She Scrap books
    She uses the internet regularly
    She uses a Mac
    He uses a PC
    They have a small dog (probably female) (correct again)
    The dog does not jump up on doors
    They use Royal Bank
    They vacation South in Winter (Mexico regular place)
    They prefer neutral colors
    She still likes dolls
    They prefer Sony products and Apple
    They have an alarm system
    The alarm is based on motion sensors
    The windows have no contact sensors
    The side door is often unlocked
    The patio doors have no security bars
    The Basement windows have no curtains
    The rear yard is accessible from the back
    They use their hot tub regularly
    They are not the original owners
    They drink red wine
    They drink bottled water
    They own 2 vehicles
    She comes from a big family.
    He wears suits to work.
    I discovered this is what is able to be taken from the listing photos we upload.


    • Ross:

      I wonder if Ms Aitken is aware of this, and if so, I wonder if she cares about the potential negative uses of the information by internet users NOT searching for a property to purchase.

      I could go on and on about the myriad negative consequences that might (probably will) occur as the result of the spillage of personal-information-for-free, but why bother. Government types create all kinds of theoretical rules / legislation, put them out there for the guinea pig response, then go about trying to fix their short-sighted mistakes after the damage is done…something like authorising new wonder drugs at the behest of drug companies for public consumption without proper long-term monitoring for negative, unintended, unthought-of responses…creating serious, long-term side-effects for some trusting guinea pigs.

      Ms Aitken claims that the new way is innovative and efficient. It is certainly not innovative when it is already being practiced in the USA; it is simply a copy-cat reproduction. As for efficiency, for whom is it efficient? Consumers, for the most part, are quite uninformed about most (cheapest price possible) purchases that they transact. The appeal of cheap products / services seems to lure consumers into a kind of buying frenzy bereft of "looking beneath the surface" skepticism regarding the quality of their purchases.

      Walmart products are produced to Walmart's specs. so that they may be retailed at cheaper prices, appealing to the majority of "cheap-is-better", uninformed shoppers. The specs for providing real estate services in Canada will soon be similarly cheapened / diluted; It is the American way.

      But this is Canada (which is fast becoming Americanized).



    • Was the above featured in MAD magazine? Now that's what I call professionalizm at it's finest. Go out there and sell a house and stop wasting your time with such nonsense!

    • Hi Brian,

      I hope the bigger question is what about the Privacy Commissioner after all her power can even rein in the government itself.

      I have reviewed all cases listed on her website and found a clear and focused approach without any flexibility at all on issues like this.

      I suspect if a well intentioned REALTOR, like me, forwards a complaint directly to her, the doors will be thrown open to this practice.

      CREA should have educated, us it's members on this issue and should have run a country wide advertising campaign to inform the public why REALTOR.ca is the only way to protect this from happening.

      I am sure every Canadian Home Seller with children would demand that some sort of "proof of who is looking or at least a tracking requirement" was used, by anyone viewing the inside of their home.

      I believe in the pre-internet days and still today every Professional REALTOR does this in person at an open house, why should online be any different.


    • Really this again! …..let us position ourselves in reality people. If you want to make a case about what can be deduced from a picture then who would ever take us seriously. Sellers choose to post photos of there home on REALTOR.ca, comFree, Property Guys, Kijiji, Facebook and they do it willingly in order to sell there home and the risk you're making a fuss about is not the risk that sellers see or care about, "He wears a suit to work"…really!!! you got that from a photo?

      So do we not display home photos anymore? Hey that's innovative, I bet consumers will love that! Here's another good one, let's not advertise the price….wouldn't want to buyers to know what they're willing to accept for the home.

    • Oh by the way somebody else posted the same thing on a blog so I suspect you're reposting a chain letter.

    • Hi Ross:

      Lawrence Dale petitioned the Competition Commissioner.

      I think your petitioning the Privacy Commissioner is an excellent idea.

      At this point I don't think the folks at CREA could do the same even if they wanted to; their hands are now tied due to the agreement that has been struck with the Bureau.

      You know how the old saying goes, "In government, one hand doesn't know what the other hand is doing." The privacy folks may be / likely are unaware of the potential negative ramifications that you have pointed out, just as Ms Aitken was likely unaware of Lawrence Dale's spin on things until he had petitioned her office,

      Stranger things have happened.



    • Hi John: I appreciate the clarification re your MAD magazine comment. We don't always agree, but we do keep things civil…
      thanks. There have been some very interesting comments on this topic; I'm sure that there will more.

      Take care.


  11. I agree, if we were to each give $500 toward a fund to fight comp bureau we would have 50M$, that should be enough to take"er on!

    • No need to pay anything out of pocket. Realtor.ca has 170 million page views a month. This equates conservatively to $2 million per month in paid ads if realtor.ca simply runs ads along side our content.
      In actuality the current estimate for realtor.ca, if monetized, in a professional and high quality way is over $10 million per month.

      No crappy ads but the biggest quality brands. Automotive companies alone represents over $500 million in total potential ad dollars as they already spend over $150 million online alone.

      This is not brain surgery. It`s lack of leadership and focus to represent CREA members, in the best way possible while providing Canadians with the best online real estate experience in the world.

  12. A word of warning.

    RAHB quietly, with little to no advance notice to it's membership moved quickly to the end game CREA has planned for us, with basically universal syndication of members listing data (and no the supposed protections CREA claims are not even the beginning of being enough). RAHB was hoodwinked by Point2Homes to act as it's syndicator. A contract was negotiated without proper instructions being given to the legal team and then syndication began.

    Education on the REALITIES of what would happen to a REALTORS online presence once they syndicated never happened. An AFTER launch webinar was provided by Point2 in which no opposing view or warnings were given.

    REALTORS going on the implied suggestion of RAHB syndicated on mass except for a few brokerages who had tech savvy owners stop the foolishness.

    Within 7 days of syndication, some of the Top Selling REALTORS, all who syndicated, faced the reality of Syndication.

    Previously these agents totally controlled the first page search on their name, their listing addresses, their mls numbers, etc., etc. on all the major search engines. All traffic was directed straight to their own url.

    Within 7 days of syndication, over 1/2 of the first pages began sending searchers to the websites that now featured their listings. And that is only 7 days with limited syndication partners.

    Under the CREA plan, REALTORS will eventually lose all first page ranking for their names and listing content. They will be forced to first pay google to get back on the top of the first page for each valid search term, including their own name. They will be forced within 24 months to begin paying premiums to get their listings "Featured" on sites like Zoocasa or Zillow (which is ready to move into Canada) exposed in more searches.
    I could go on and on.

    But worse than that…..every criminal in CANADA will gain unfettered access to seeing inside every MLS Listed home in CANADA (not mine btw) with no one having the ability to track them. The first time a pedophile is discovered to have tracked his victims by looking at their bedrooms from an mls listing, our industry will never before be seen in the same light.

    Later today I will post here a data collection display from an anonymous MLS listing.

    Maybe that will spur more of a conversation on this topic.

  13. Thanks Again Merv,

    So every member of CREA who is not a broker owner has been cast aside by CREA. Reviewing the documents that are found on realtorlink as Merv suggested, the convoluted approach by CREA is so misdirected that any web novice can recognize the idiocy of this plan. It appears CREA is speaking with Point2Homes, who is on record of hoping their NLS will replace MLS.

    FACT: EVERY CANADIAN HOME BUYER USES REALTOR.CA FIRST AND FOREMOST. There is no need to post our listings anywhere else. Why dilute the product. Do we see FORD cars on the GM website?????

    I understand that under some provincial laws brokerages are the owner of the listing but every independent contractor has a contract that states those listings are theirs and not the broker if they leave and their clients want to remain with them.

    CREA is acting like it's 1980 when Royal LePage and Montreal Trust, took 50% of all commissions. This is not reality.

    Unless we speak up fellow REALTORS your wallet is about to start shrinking.

    BTW: CREA appears to be making NO money from giving away our most valuable asset. We need to kick these guys out and find an appropriate President and CEO.

  14. For those looking for background, try Realtorlink and search for DDF – Data Distribution Facility.
    I undserstand that there were webinars in March and discussions at the CREA AGM in April.

    • Thanks Merv, that was very helpful.

      For anyone interested, there are numerous bits and bytes but I find the 2011 AGM Agenda Package is probably the best resource where the information is listed in point form after the financial statements.

      The Globe is yet another misleading article for in short what it amounts to is a potential 101,000 additional realtor.cas plus feeds to CREA approved 3rd party sites of listing information and subject to brokerage/REALTOR choice of filtering – even less information or a few more fields none of which will be seller name, private information, sold price or commission.

      It is a disgrace in this internet age that aside from the 2,000 polled in April, the voting delgates, boards' executive, and whomever happened to find those notices, the vast majority of CREA's 101,000 members will be the last to know.

  15. Merv,

    Thank You.

    I am shocked and dismayed that our national association has acted in the benefit of select members. This has gone on behind our backs and is clearly being lead by the major franchise brands, who by the way are not REALTORS but simply franchisors.

    I have only worked for REMAX these past 24 years so I guess I should be happy my brand will have an advantage over many of my competitors….but I don't.

    This single action eliminates the years of challenges we endured to receive independent contractor status as independent business people. I not Gary Zelpia works under the C-21 brand giving them a distinct advantage too.

    I believe a Class Action suit should immediately commence against CREA by it's members, if they enact this plan. I have spoken to 31 REALTORS this morning. NONE of them knew this was going on. NONE of them agree with it and further they are shocked by what was going on behind our backs.

    Who the H_LL to these guys think they are at CREA?

    Once they do this our industry will lose the single biggest advantage in the history of Canadian business.

    BTW the globe article is filled with false and misleading statements designed to turn our attention elsewhere. Zillow has just had a market cap on an IPO of 300 million dollars. Globe and Mail is owned by the same company that owns househunting.ca. They want our data and will spread any false information in order to achieve their goal.

    • Have you or anyone you know tried ever to get "your own information" under the Freedom of Information Act system? If not, try it sometime. You might be surprised.

      While trying to locate specific property information as to why, apparently no bore hole reports were done by builder/sub-divider, or perhaps required to have been done – which is a typical must-do I had been told, the City told me I would have to make a request through the Freedom of Information Act if I required that sort of information … and this is for my own property.

      Engineering department was helpful but said they couldn't comment on the question without referring to the bore hole reports that would be associated with the plan of subdivision.

      Subsequently staff discovered there aren't any reports but that even if there were reports the information might not apply to specific lots but rather to a general topical study. I get that. But I don't like how I was made to feel like I was inruding on City business, just being nosy when I inquired following the engineering dept. comment.

      City Councilor got annoyed. City refused to entertain discussing what their requirements were or had been, and whether or not same had been complied with. Go figure. Is someone protecting a builder/sub-divider or passing favours? What is one to think in that circumstance? If there is nothing to hide or be ashamed of – talk! That will solve all issues clearly and quickly.

      Communication is ALWAYS the key to understanding. Nothing to get excited about.

      I am not throwing stones. I merely made an enquiry that brought that answer from the engineering dept. Apparently there is no answer, failing going through the Freedom of Information Act.

      I am just curious if anyone has experience with the Freedom of Information Act procedures that possibly lead to no where, based on the article referenced by Merv, wherein the article writer addresses data protection. If the real estate business is all about protection of consumer data (OR NOT!) then where does the Freedom of Information Act fall into play in this regard? Just askin'.

      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

    • Don't like this –
      "“It’s a pretty amazing thing that will be happening,” said Zalepa Jr., an agent from Niagara-on-the-Lake who is a CREA director and the chairman of the association’s MLS Technology Council. “Whoever receives the feed will be able to layer features on top of it, which is pretty revolutionary.”

      He said the listings will be opened up in three stages – large brokerages such as Royal LePage and Century 21 will be the first allowed access. Months later, the data will be directed to smaller brokers and ultimately to third parties by early next year."

      Giving the larger brokers a three month head start seems anti-competitive to me. All CREA members should be treated fairly. Why should the large brokerages be given an advantage over the smaller if we are all members of CREA. Just a thought!

    • Have to say I came away with the same impression as David Davidson about the order by which this is being rolled out.

      But this article takes me completely by surprise for neither did I (and by default) I presume all of CREA's membership receive any communication from CREA about this initiative. I just tried to find communication regarding same on CREA's site and could not.

      I am perplexed as to why the media, Zoocasa et al and two of the largest franchise houses know all about this before we do and am utterly vexed at CREA's directors for what I consider to be backroom bargaining in the name of the membership.

      It was apparently passed by member vote, but the memo missed my mailbox entirely even my junk bin which I always check. So I would like to know why in god's name are these elected representatives not communicating with those who elect them?

      Neither do I recall seeing where in any communication for those running for CREA directorship this was mentioned. Then again I'll give them the benefit of the doubt since I find CREA's site appallingly unfrindly and difficult to find information.

      I would dearly love to know exactly what it entails and how the choice of roll out was determined. The memos and legal notices can be found where? CREA? Anyone?

    • Merv.: Sounds like the doggy position to me.

      So, we are about to emulate the U. S. style of mass marketing of real estate. It seems to me that the wild west show down south over the last decade is what landed the entire world economy in the tank, based upon the quick and easy sale of homes on a massive one-to-one scale culminating in world-wide sales of vastly over-valued U. S. real estate secured mortgages masqueraded as investment vehicles. There was no one minding the store on behalf of the inter-net surfers. Everything was quick, easy and freely obtained without any strings attached. This is how true greed manifests itself.

      There was crime and corruption alright, mostly in the form of cliques of appraisers, mortgage brokers and lawyers who blew values out of reasonable sight and who co-conspired for their ever-expanding fees, commissions and legal fees respectively.

      I wonder why the same thing did not happen in Canada?

      Because, up until soon to be, we were not a wild-west, anything goes, make it easier for uneducated buyers to spend others' money foolishly, consumer show. The big losers are the consumers themselves throughout the land of milk and honey.

      I hope I'm ill-informed, naive, just plain wrong.



      P.S.: I think that one of Ms Aitken's maiden speeches as Commissioner was to a Washington audience of legislators, bureacrats etc. spelling out her intention to change things around within the Canadian business world to mirror the U.S. model of competitive practices…to get on board so to speak.

    • Rod, in answer to this 2 part question –
      “If this is an issue of privacy and of the Bureau stepping on the toes of others then why are these agencies not concerned? Why are they not stepping in when a REALTOR gets a call from a stranger and asks for the same information…?”

      Respectfully, I can’t think of any other way to answer than to say the above is a straw man argument since two federal agencies do not squabble in public about one stepping on the other’s toes. Such differences are generally left to the courts to decide which one holds the upper hand constitutionally. We shall see if TREB escalates it to this level if the CB outcome is not one they will accept.

      Additionally, your question expects that the privacy agencies know when such calls take place and by default we know that they know. The privacy commissioner does not publish all hearing outcomes but it will be worth your while to familiarize yourself with their publications as well as those hearings they do provide as references.

      If by this question: “Are we stepping into territory we shouldn’t be?” you mean when a REALTOR provides such information, then the answer is yes, privacy rights have not been fully protected.

      I take it then that since you won’t hire me and allow me to have a different fee structure your representatives would fail the CRA test for independent contractors. For if they are then it is my position that you are engaging in the very same anti-competitive behaviour Ms. Aitken, Mr. Dale and you raise against others.

      Fees are supposed to be negotiable and after all, you did state previously:
      “as a Broker I should have the freedom to charge what I want for the services that I provide without fear of prejudice from my peers.”

      But new registrants shoudn’t nor should anyone who uses only the MLS system, nor anyone who wants to join one of the top 5% on your board. It seems you’ve reserved ‘I’ and ‘freedom’ all to yourself Rod. Unfortunately and often without self-realization this is always the case when one wants to advance only their agenda. You are no less prejudiced to your position than anyone else your criticize is to theirs.

      You might wish to read CREA’s dispatch that covers this topic as brought up by them to the CB and note the CB’s muted silence (undoubtedly because of dealing with one issue at a time) and even the veiled threat contained therein.

  16. What is truly eroding our profession is an industry that has failed to listen to consumers, continues to want to hold them hostage to excessive fees and continues to associate these fees with the MLS and not the service or advice that we provide. If you disagree with this, then you believe that every REALTOR is equal in every way.

    Consumers understand that there is much more to selling a home than the exposure of the MLS and are willing to pay more for better service and better advice so why don't we understand this? I understand it, MLS is just one part of the whole package, a tool that I use to do my job and I place more value on the advice, the experience and the expertise that I pass on to my clients.

    The biggest complaint sellers have is of undelivered promises, poor advice and poor service and of REALTORS who have nothing more to offer than the MLS yet continue to demand excessive fees. How can John Q REALTOR who just received their license demand the same fees as someone who is a seasoned professional? MLS is not a ticket to charge excessive fees and as a Broker I should have the freedom to charge what I want for the services that I provide without fear of prejudice from my peers. I pay the very same fees that everyone else does to be a part of a professional organization that has nothing to do with the fees I charge… nowhere does it say that I have to charge a specific fee to be a member in good standing.

    This is not about an eroding profession and it's not about the Competition Bureau overstepping its bounds, it's about fear of change and the reality that in order to make it in this industry you now have to offer more than just access to the MLS.

    • Every REALTOR(r) is "different" ~ aren't we lucky? that this is true… each one can choose what he/she offers and can put a price tag on that choice, accordingly. WHAT A BUSINESS! we are in – free enterprise at its finest! The public is free to choose whether to hire me or to hire you (you being anyone). No one forces anyone to do anything.

      Part of what we, as practicing REALTORS(r), don't understand is specifically what the "problem" is that we are being forced to "fix."

      There's room for everyone. Water seeks its own level, no matter what obstacle is in its path. But the drip drip drip of one drop of water will eventually split a world-size boulder in half, straight down the middle. And it's only a TINY drop of water. Believe it. It's true.

      Every REALTOR(r) is "different" ~ and we like it that way. (c)

      Carolyne L http://www.Carolyne.com

    • Rod, I applaud you for your committment to client care, you set a great example within the industry. I belive you genuinely care about delivering quality service at prices you consider fair.

      I agree with you that poor advice and service ranks high on the list of complaints by sellers. But sellers choose their REALTORS and must bear some of the blame for not choosing wisely. Accepting responsibility for their poor choice is unfortunately never given mention by disgruntled sellers.

      I also agree with you that you as a broker should have the freedom to charge what you want for your services, however do you not see the hypocrisy in your statements when alternatively you question the newly registered Realtor's right or those you deem have nothing more than MLS, to charge whatever they see fit?

      I, and many from most of what I read in here, are on a completely different page than you when it comes to this CB/TREB issue since we see it as a matter of privacy issues not pricing policy and precisely so that the CB is overstepping its bounds by treading on the toes of other federal agencies and their acts regarding privacy.

      Yet, given your comments about fees I would appreciate it if you would answer this question:

      If I (a broker as well) were to apply to join Seller Invite and told you that my full service fees to sellers would be no less than 5% commission, and my by owner fee strictly at $0, would you hire me and also allow me to promote my price packages on Seller Invite?

    • If this is an issue of privacy and of the Bureau stepping on the toes of others then why are these agencies not concerned? Why are they not stepping in when a REALTOR gets a call from a stranger and asks for the same information we are discussing and passes it to them for free with no questions asked? Are we stepping into territory we shouldn't be? Again, we are all making a bigger issue of this than it really is in an attempt to mask the fact that we simply fear the changes that will come and what it wil do to our industry, we've displayed a level of entitlement that doesn't sit well with consumers and the Bureau…so hear we are today being forced to change.

      As for your question about you charging fees, no I would'nt allow you to do that. As you know the Broker determines the fees we charge and that's not how our fee structure works. But if another Broker was to allow you to do that I'd encourage you to do so and I would'nt predjudice for doing so.

  17. Ms Aitken:

    I wonder If the Competition Bureau will act on a small business person's complaint that the government imposed minimum wage in various jurisdictions across Canada should be investigated for violation of the Competition Act. Would this situation not fall under the strict legal definition of "Abuse of Power by a Dominant Player", i.e., the government itself. This reality in effect could be classified as anti-competitve by a disgruntled business owner, could it not?. Minimum wage laws effectively force set minimum wages that workers can be hired for without regard for the viability of businesses that must pay said anti-competitve wage rates.

    Hourly paid workers must be compensated by a governmant imposed minimum common amount per hour, no matter what type of work (within certain disciplines), no matter how productive they are, no matter what intrinsic value those workers and their job descriptions add to the economics of the various ventures.

    Maybe a minimum commission rate for Real Estate listings / transactions should be legislated by the government…say…5%. As it stands now, we can negotiate down or up from this figure as the case may require. I would prefer a minimum rate of 5% though, so that like hourly paid workers, we would all be on the same pay scale / footing. The competition would then strictly be highlighted between the abilities / education / reputations / experience / benefits offered etc. between the Realtors competing for the listings. That would be real competition, would it not?

    How would Realty Sellers / Property Guys et al stack up then with what they currently offer in the way of services, or lack thereof?

    If hypocritical government types are so worried about anti-competitve behaviour by Canadian business people, why does the government betray those same business folks, as well as workers who can't find jobs currently, by laying the groundwork for the purchasing of products from countries like China, Mexico, Russia etc. where there are no minimum wages as far as I know, where workers are paid a piittance for their outputs. Why? Because those products are CHEAP, in more ways than one.

    It's all politics as usual practiced by bureacratic bean counters who have no hands-on experience with the stuff that beans buy.

    The above (some might say ludicrous) scenario is brought to light for theoretical purposes only. But, isn't that what we are dealing with currently, a theoretical philosophical disagreement based upon legal interpretation of certain wording within the Competition Act?

    Real Estate people get paid nothing, no matter how hard they work, unless they close transactions. It's an all-or-nothing business environment Ms Aitken.

    Mr. Dale has succeeded in bringing you on-board his Chinese / Mexican / Russian style cheap / numbers-game gravy train philosophy leading to the devolution of the competitive, productive business environment practiced within the 70 plus year old organized real estate business.

    If the real estate business was so non-competitive going back many decades…

    Where was the government then?

  18. The lack of competition in this Real Estate industry is shameful. Explain to me why as a so-called professional self-employed individual I can not advertise any incentives or inducements on my own? Oh yeah, the Brokers control everything and nothing can change heaven forbid!! What a joke. When you, a joe blow seller, call in 5 Realtors and they all give you the same commission offer and bad mouth the ones that give clients a deal (oh, Realtors don't show your companies listings they say.. I hear that ALL the time). May the competition bureau crush TREB and CREA into oblivion.

    • On your means as an owner of a brokerage or a representative of a brokerage?

      Maybe you can tell us which jurisdiction you happen to be in because in Onatario nothing prevents you from advertising your incentives or fees unless they happen to be illegal such as hidden kickbacks to buyers or bird-dog fees.

      I find your rant against "joe blow seller" rather odd considering Aitken et al seem to think consumers want to pay less in fees, never mind the plethora of consumers who swamp the media with such statements. You should be swamped with such clients.

      So, either, you're a poor salesperson for being bested by those to whom you lose the listing; sellers – even those that want services for free and next to nothing find your services wanting or

      both of the above.

      Yours goes hand in hand with contradictions of the give it to me for peanuts crowd of consumers who tout the fsbo MLS route because selling a house is so easy and that buyers do most of the work by finding the properties online while at the same time complain that REALTORS won't bring the buyers to a property listed with a discounter.

      They're all inane arguments.

  19. In all fairness, let's not blame Ms Aitken for something Lawrence Dale initiated. Ms Aitken looked at that initiation and agreed with it. I think if you're going to go after the CB and Ms Aitken, you should also include the root of the problem. Lawrence Dale. My view on this matter is that there is merit to the actions of Lawrence Dale and Ms Aitken, but that is not to say that if they eventually get their way it will have some catastrophic result. Think about it, neither Ms Aitken nor Mr. Dale are saying that MLS be offerred to the public for free. Repeat after me 100 times: It will not be offerred for free. Stop making a big deal out of something that it appears you do not fully understand. If you did understand what Ms Aitken's is putting on the table, things would not be so bad after all. There now, do you feel better?

  20. CREA is a roll over puppet with no teeth. I am ashamed to have the current executive "representing" me and my fellow realtors. Crea reminds me of the CRTC. Anything the cable companies want, the cable companies get.

    Send the petition over here.

  21. Hi Brian: Excellent commentary.

    As you undoubtedly believe, the somewhat new head of the Competiton Bureau appears to be picking her fights where she feels (knows?) she can win, regardless of the overall impact (negative or positive) that her supposed 'good fight' might have on the public's economic and legal situation. There will likely be much more work for lawyers, who don't work cheap. Hell, their fees might even make up the finacial difference supposedly gained by sellers / buyers under the new and improved, government imposed (by threats) system of transacting real estate deals.

    Hmmmm. This looks like a redistribution of supposed wealth to me.

    But isn't that what government types are surriptitiously supposed to work toward? After all, what good is power if one doesn't appear to be using it, ostensibly in the public interest, which said public, for the most part, has no clue as to the ramifications of the intent of the redistribution of supposed wealth.

    Like all humans, government types do what they do to establish their own self-interested positions within their bureaucratic enclaves.

    Ms Aitken is no Ms Robin Hood, but more like the Sherrif of Nottingham regarding her attitude toward the little people, in my humble opinion.

    Smart people fight only when they are sure that they can win, thus avoiding more important confrontations that they might lose dealing with situations that affect the 'entire' public negatively on a 'daily' basis. It appears that it is not the quality of the fight that counts, but how many wins that can be stacked up, quickly. to justify one's elevation to one's current position of power.

    Just like everything else in politics, winning is all that counts. The scope of the wins don't count.



  22. I agree on this. The competition bureau demands that we allow our hard-won structure to be given away to those who would water down its advantages, and use our systems in cheap ways, at the expense of those who payed for it (us) and who use it properly to the advantage of all. I spent a few hours drafting a letter to CREA citing a book by Benjamin Suarez in which the author outlines how he executed an offensive strategy against the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission in the States when those groups tried to shut down his business because he was "getting too big". He took on and beat these giants and in this book he lays out precisely how he did it. I didn't get a reply to my letter. CREA seems at best a bureaucracy that has turned inward on itself to the exclusion of its members, and at worst, a tool of our attacker (competition bureau). Mr. Johnston of TREB in his stance against the competition bureau is a true hero. The diplomatic corps at CREA who are giving our assets away should be recognized for the craven posers that they are. The book mentioned is "7 Steps to Freedom" by Benjamin Suarez. Step 7 is "Establish This Proven… Defense Program Which Will Provide You With Protection From the Many Predators Which Will Try To Harm or Destroy Your Business"

  23. I think for all the gatherings, seminars, meetings by the CREA PACs and OREA PACs they are lobbying up the wrong tree. It is time to start looking after the Realtor. Sadly CREA is not doing that job. Neither is OREA. I agree Bill Johnston looks ready for the fight and I would beleive that the majority of TREB members would staunchly back him. However would the major franchisors back him as well. Needs to be looked into. Our MLS has been sold out and we need to take action NOW! Time for TREB to seriously poll its membership (which it surprisingly is silent on) on this issue and perhaps even poll its membership to take its listings out of MLS.ca or realtor.ca.

  24. I would sign a petition. It might cost us millions to fight the Competition Bureau but our rights, our profession, and the decades of work we have put into it is well worth fighting for.

  25. I wholeheartedly concur. I am relatively new and can't believe that this profession would allow such an erosion!

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