montrealBy Danny Kucharsky

The Greater Montreal Real Estate Board is leading an initiative among Quebec boards to present CREA with a common list of demands for changes.

At stake is the future membership of the Quebec boards in the national association.  If they decide to leave, the Quebec boards have until the end of September to inform CREA that their membership will not be renewed next year.

“We don’t wish to leave CREA, says Patrick Juanéda, president of the Montreal board.  “It’s our desire to work with everybody, but they need to respond to our needs.”

Several working groups comprised of presidents and directors from the Quebec boards will come up with recommendations to present to CREA.

Quebec has rules that are different than elsewhere and “we have to respond to those needs directly,” Juanéda says.

For example, Quebec members are paying for WEBForms despite the fact the service can not be used in Quebec because of the province’s different regulations.  The solution, he says, is more à la carte services. “If a product is worthwhile, members will use it and buy it.”

He says CREA currently operates like it’s a big company and there’s a strong need for the association to review its spending practices. “The range of services offered to members is enormously expensive and action hasn’t been taken to resolve that situation.”

As an example of wasteful spending, Juanéda cites an alleged trip by a few CREA board members or members of its advertising committee to Mexico to oversee the shooting of an ad. “I find that totally ridiculous and unacceptable.”

Juanéda adds that while CREA has promised improvements to Realtor.ca, Quebec’s online listing service Centris.ca has become “enormously valuable” and is responding to customers’ needs. “Centris is doing the job extremely well in Quebec and performing better than Realtor.ca. We say, ‘why not allow us to use that platform and stop spending on the other?’”

There is a lot of duplication in what CREA does and adding services and stuffing them down members’ throats “is not the way to do things in 2013.”

Juanéda insists that the Montreal board doesn’t want to leave CREA at any price and notes that CREA offers a common national vision and government representation required by the industry. CREA also offers services that smaller boards can not provide to members.

At its annual meeting in March, CREA approved a motion that allows Quebec members to continue to receive a dues credit for advertising for the next three years. The credit reflects the fact that French-language TV and radio advertising promoting real estate in Quebec is no longer produced by CREA.

Aside from that positive step, discussions with CREA are currently moving at a snail’s pace, Juanéda says. Still, there seems to be an openness among members of the CREA board to listen to the demands of the Quebec boards, which augurs well, he says.

Recently two smaller boards that had previously opted out of CREA decided to rejoin the national association.

Last September, the GMREB board of directors decided to remain in CREA despite a vote by members that rejected the status quo.

Members were given three choices in the vote: leave CREA on January 1, 2013; postpone the decision until after the spring meeting; or remain a CREA member. The highest number (40.4 per cent) opted to leave CREA, while 31.5 per cent voted to postpone leaving CREA and 28.2 per cent chose to remain with the national association.

7 COMMENTS

  1. As far as I’m concerned CREA has very little credibility in today’s real estate industry. With the advent of computerization, emails, websites, free and quick access to listing and property information, etc. it is almost a waste of money for realtors to have to pay annual fees to an organization that gives little back to it’s members. If I had a choice I’d opt of CREA as well. Like the Canadian Senate it’s an outdated, outmoded, and stagnant organization. In my opinion I’m paying to maintain employment for people in an organization who only complicate my profession and do nothing to enhance or improve it.

    • Then opt out! Why come on a forum and posture as so many do. I’ve heard so many say they don’t need CREA or the MLS, and everytime I’ve challenged someone to leave they haven’t. Maybe you’ll be the first Dale to actually practice what you preach. And if you actually man up then we could start a pool to see how long it is before you come running back.

  2. The above story when giving the stats of the Montreal Board’s vote leaves out the important part – only a small percentage (between 25-33% or so) even voted. That means that over half the membership was happy with CREA. No one bothers to mention that fact.

    • Firstly, my CREA includes Quebec. The matters relating advertising spends are also complicated! What I do not see in the Quebec advertising is any reference to CREA trademarks! In my opinion, now is a critical time to be promoting a united Canadian Platform, not a regional system (as good as it is) such as Centris.

  3. It is with Great disappointment that we read here in the pages of REM that 8 months after GMREB membership made a clear and decisive vote of non-confidence in CREA, basically nothing has been done other than an attempted continuation of a “multi-million dollar payoff” hidden behind an advertising campaign refund.

    It should be no surprise, if the allegations of CREA directors or committee members taking trips to MEXICO to film a How REALTORS Help commercial, that Quebec would be the first place in the country to challenge that ridiculous waste of CREA members hard earned dollars. You have REALTORS who were forced to pay to be members of CREA because of local MLS system rules and regs, for over a decade who cannot afford their needed health medication for their families but CREA is flying people to Mexico to film a commercial??? Can you say “Mike Duffy”?

    Now to Quebec leadership. It is clear CREA is failing to make any attempt to communicate with you on how the majority of Quebec members, can use CREA tools and technology, to improve their business opportunities in Quebec but you are not alone as these tools and technologies and hidden abilities are remaining SECRET from all CREA members because CREA is not LEGALLY allowed to tell you how to use them. These tools and technologies are being supplied from CREA at a price so low and under terms so beneficial to the majority of your members, that clearly it is only CREA itself that is preventing Quebec members from taking advantage of these tools and technologies.

    Educating 100% of your members, on how each of them has equal access to use tools and technology to their own personal benefit is not an anti-competitive act. I would argue limiting the education of your members on these tools and technology are the actions of an anti-competitive body.

    Yes, Quebec is a unique province to operate in but so is Alberta versus Ontario and so on. Ontario members don’t use the same Webforms content members of Manitoba use and if Webforms is not a bi-lingual platform or tri-lingual or multi-lingual for that matter, again CREA needs a kick in the pants.

    CREA is lucky enough that the Board of GMREB foresaw the probable outcome of this vote and thus gave it’s members 3 choices in this initial vote, so the Board had time to resolve issues. It appears the “snails pace” movement by CREA is simply ignoring an issue that indicates over 70% of GMREB members are ready to leave CREA.

    I think everyone must use some sober third thought here. Clearly if CREA goes A La Carte, the base CREA fee would be required to increase substantially or massive Staffing cuts would be required in Ottawa with reciprocal tools and technology not available so cheaply to all members.

    And finally Quebec members. Your situation was unique before the launch of Zoocasa Brokerage in English speaking Canada but now you simply are 18 to 24 months ahead of the rest of the country in terms of the outcome to market impact by a 3rd party. CREA gave you the DDF!! Why have you not provided education to your members on how ALL of them could use it if they so desired?

    Should Quebec focus on Centris.ca versus realtor.ca….OF COURSE, that is just smart business but so should regional MLS systems look at similar use of MLS data under a pro-active basis.

    BTW: There are literally MILLIONS of dollars spent each year across the national administration of regional MLS systems for trips and travel, that are viewed as deserved Perks by local Directors of Boards, that are never clearly communicated to all members of local associations but instead hidden behind historical operational procedures. It’s time for full disclosure at your local boards.

    • Ross K
      Where do you get all this misinformation from? You really should take up fiction writing, remember nobody has to belong to a Board or an association and with the Internet being what it is why not give
      Non membership a test drive and see how you like the ride

  4. Hmmm…via democratic vote, only 28.2 per cent wanted to stay married to the CREAcrats. The majority of directors ignored their members’ democratic wishes and arbitrarily overruled them.

    Hold another vote, this time with only two choices: leave or stay…and live by that result.

    Directors…more like closet “We know what’s best for y’all” dictators.

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