By Myles Shane
This year the Mississauga Real Estate Board (MREB) celebrates its 65th birthday. It was born in the basement of the First United Church of Port Credit in 1954. Thirty-eight real estate agents and brokers gathered together at the church and agreed upon a regulatory organization they named The Port Credit Real Estate Board. Subsequently on Dec. 9, 1954, the board was renamed the South Peel Real Estate Board. Its main purpose was to generate and handle a database of listings that would make information available on properties, called co-op listings. Thirty years later, while surrounding communities expanded, the board gained over 1,800 members and became the Mississauga Real Estate Board. Today it is an advocate for the profession on issues relating to municipal, provincial and federal regulations and is a guardian of consumer homeowner interests in Mississauga.
MREB is celebrating its 65th birthday by introducing a myriad of community services including using social media to create “Throwback Thursday”, in which it posts archival material every week revealing the rich history of the organization. This spring the board will undertake a Habitat for Humanity build in Mississauga to assist a family in need, and it is preparing to launch a blood drive in the fall, partnering with the Canadian Blood Services. The board has asked Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and her staff to participate. MREB Members vs Mississauga City Hall Staff will see who can donate the most blood – a win win for everyone.
But with all the celebrations circling MREB’s 65th birthday, there are those who question whether MREB and about 40 other Ontario boards should exist, or whether a single provincewide organization should be formed instead.
MREB’s president Helen Goljak is convinced the organization should remain a single entity and not merge into a collection of municipal real estate boards, as has happened in other provinces.
“It’s important for our members to have local representation when it comes to local municipal lobbying over issues like the sign bylaws, zoning and planning. It’s also important to have local representation both at a provincial and federal level on issues that impact homeownership,” she says.
A good example of this was how the board, along with others across Ontario, lobbied to stop the spread of a land transfer tax to the City of Mississauga. Goljak says that without a local presence, Mississauga Realtors wouldn’t have had a voice at city council.
“Every large city in Canada has its own real estate board and Mississauga, Canada’s sixth largest city with over 750,000 inhabitants, needs a voice which only a local board can support,” she says.
However, Goljak is 100-per-cent supportive of the different boards sharing, collaborating and supporting each other. “Over the years the industry has evolved and come to understand that sharing and collaboration is what benefits all of us who actively trade in real estate. At the same time technology has made the world smaller and allowed boards to share their MLS systems – enabling them to reduce costs and maintain current with ever-changing technology when it’s being shared amongst many boards.”
An example of this is a recent agreement between ORTIS (Ontario Regional, Technology & Information System, a shared MLS system that includes 10 other boards) and the Ontario Collective, which brings together 22 board MLS systems and 13,500 real estate agents covering 80 per cent of the province. “While I can see the sharing of MLS services merging into a few or even one MLS system at some point in Ontario, we will still need some sort of local board representation to champion local issues,” says Goljak.
Not only is the MREB collaborating with other organizations in Ontario, it’s also in a unique position since most of its members are both Toronto Real Estate Board and ORTIS members. “Our agents needed more access to those markets outside Mississauga and by joining ORTIS they now have access to listing and sales information to a large part of Ontario,” she says.
MREB continues to strive to add value services to its members. Some of the upcoming initiatives include preferred cell phone rates, an esignature facility and showcasing its members’ listings on their corporate website.
The Port Credit Real Estate Board, now MREB, has had a glorious past and is embarking upon a bright future for 2019.