The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an application by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) seeking leave to appeal the February 2014 Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) decision, which ordered the Competition Tribunal to reconsider its ruling in the bureau’s case against TREB.
In May 2011, the Competition Bureau filed an application with the tribunal challenging restrictions that TREB imposed on its members’ use of data in the MLS system. The tribunal dismissed the application against TREB in April 2013, but the bureau appealed the decision before the FCA. It ruled in February 2014 that the tribunal’s decision was based on an overly narrow interpretation of section 79 of the Competition Act – the “abuse of dominance” provision. The FCA ordered the tribunal to reconsider the bureau’s case on its merits.
TREB appealed that decision to the Supreme Court. Since that appeal was dismissed, the tribunal must now proceed with its reconsideration of the case.
“We welcome today’s decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that denies TREB’s application for leave to appeal,” says John Pecman, commission of competition, in a statement. “We continue to believe that prohibiting TREB’s anti-competitive practices and allowing real estate agents to provide the services of their choice is the only way to ensure that consumers and real estate agents alike can benefit from increased competition for residential real estate brokerage services in the Greater Toronto Area. Today’s decision brings us one step closer to that goal.”
TREB said in a statement: “As you can appreciate, the issue of The Commissioner of Competition and Toronto Real Estate Board is once again before the Competition Tribunal, so it would be inappropriate for TREB to comment on details.
“TREB will say, though, that the commissioner of competition is persisting in its efforts to erode the personal privacy and contractual safeguards afforded by the MLS system. TREB will continue to work to protect the personal information entrusted to it and its members by the general public, while it strives always to do what it can to ensure a highly competitive environment for real estate professionals in the GTA.”