Competition Tribunal Order June 3, 2016
re: Commissioner of Competition vs. Toronto Real Estate Board
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
*Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. As the situation continues to evolve, more
questions and answers will be added as appropriate.
As a TREB/BREB Member, you remain bound by and required to comply with all applicable
laws, rules and regulations, including all TREB/BREB By-Laws, Rules, and Regulations,
PIPEDA, REBBA as well as all RECO Rules and Regulations.
Failure to comply could result in legal proceedings and /or revocation of your MLS®
Q 1. How can consumers access the data?
- Consumers can only access data through a password-protected virtual office website (VOW)
operated by a TREB/BREB Member for informational purposes in the context of residential real estate transactions.
Q 2. What do I have to do to my website to be compliant?
- You and your service provider (if applicable) must sign and agree to be bound by a Virtual
Office Website (VOW) Agreement with TREB/BREB as well as ensure your compliance with the
Authorized User Agreement (AUA). If you plan to make sold, withdrawn, expired, suspended or
terminated listing information available, you must do so in compliance with the VOW
Agreement. Members providing access are responsible for how their actual or potential clients
and customers use the information. The information can only be used to provide residential real
estate brokerage services between a Member and a client or customer, and cannot be
monetized in any way. Members and/or their service providers will be legally liable for any
misuse of the information by themselves, their clients or customers.
Additionally, all Members are still bound by applicable legislation and rules, including Personal
Information, Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and Real Estate and Business
Broker’s Act, 2002 (REBBA, 2002) Code of Ethics and Regulations as well as provisions under
Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) and the Do Not Call List.
Q 3. Am I allowed to scrape the data from the VOW feed? Can I use the data for any nonreal estate brokerage business between a Realtor and client or customer?
- No. The data cannot be scraped, mined, sold, resold, licensed, reorganized or monetized in
any way, including through the sale of derivative products or marketing reports. The data cannot
be used for commercial purposes other than to provide residential real estate brokerage
services between a Realtor and a client or customer. Breach of this by either a Member or the
member’s clients or customers may result in legal action (including damages) against the
Member and the cancellation of TREB/BREB Membership and TREB/BREB MLS System access.
Q 4. Can I advertise sold prices now?
- No. However, you can provide sold information so long as it is in accordance with the TREB/BREB Authorized User Agreement, VOW Agreement, the TREB/BREB By-Law, and all applicable laws and regulations. Please note that Members remain subject to REBBA with regards to advertising.
Q 5. When can we start posting the information online?
- TREB/BREB will make this information available to be posted online by October 22, 2018. If TREB/BREB is able to make this information available sooner, it will provide notice to members. However, the information can only be used for the purpose of engaging in residential real estate
brokerage services. Any other purpose is not permitted under the VOW agreement.
Q 6. Can non-members post sold information?
- The information cannot be used or posted by non-members without specific authorization
Q 7. My client or customer doesn’t want the purchase price of its house disclosed online.
Will that information be confidential?
- That information could be made available on a VOW as of October 22, 2018, possibly sooner
– in which case TREB/BREB will provide notice to its members. We will continue to listen to the
feedback from Members, buyers and sellers regarding their personal information and take
necessary steps to make sure that privacy laws are followed.
Q 8. What if a new client or customer doesn’t want the information posted on a goforward
- We are reviewing the consent language in the buyer representation and listing agreements to
Q 9. What about historical sold price information where consents were given before
websites were in existence?
- TREB/BREB is reviewing the consent language; however, at this time we are required to make this information available.
Q 10. Do you anticipate other changes to the VOW agreement, buyer representation or
- We are reviewing these agreements in light of our obligations under the order and privacy
laws and will provide updates in due course. We are also considering whether changes are needed regarding how long listing photos should remain active on a broker’s VOW website after the sale of a property has been completed.
Q 11. Does the order only affect the Toronto Real Estate Board?
- At this time the order only applies to TREB/BREB and includes all listings that appear on the Stratus system (including listings from our partner boards, Durham Region Association of REALTORS®(DRAR) and Brampton Real Estate Board (BREB) and also interboarded listings. However, we expect that other boards will change their practices as well.
Q 12. Is the litigation with the Competition Bureau over?
- There is no outstanding litigation with the Competition Bureau.
Q 13. Will my fees increase as a result of the decision?
- Fees will not be impacted by this decision.
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR WOULD YOU LIKE MORE INFORMATION?
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If you would like to read the original June 3, 2016 order, please click here.