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 Member, you remain bound by and required to comply with all applicable
laws, rules and regulations, including all TREB 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?
A. Consumers can only access data through a password-protected virtual office website (VOW)
operated by a TREB Member for informational purposes in the context of residential real estate
Q 2. What do I have to do to my website to be compliant?
A. You and your service provider (if applicable) must sign and agree to be bound by a Virtual
Office Website (VOW) Agreement with TREB 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 If you plan to make sold, withdrawn, expired, suspended or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 (“Disputed Data”) 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?
A. 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 Membership and TREB MLS System access.
Q 4. Can I advertise sold prices now?
A. No. However, you can provide sold information on a VOW so long as it is in accordance with
the TREB Authorized User Agreement, VOW Agreement, the TREB By-Law, and all applicable
laws and regulations. Please note that Members remain subject to REBBA with regards to
Q 5. When can we start posting the information online?
A. TREB made the updated VOW feed available on September 18, 2018. 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.
In order to obtain access to the new data, Brokers of Record of the existing VOW Subscribers
/or new VOW subscribers must contact TREB by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to
request access to the data using the appropriate subject line below.
Brokers of Record of Existing VOW subscribers should email email@example.com
to request access to the data with subject line “Existing User New Data Feed Access”.
Brokers of Record of New VOW subscribers should email firstname.lastname@example.org to
request access to the data with subject line “New User New Data Feed Access”.
You may also call 416-443-8131 for any data agreement questions.
Q 6. Can non-Members post sold information?
A. The information cannot be used or posted by non-Members without specific authorization from
Q 7. My client or customer doesn’t want the purchase price of their house disclosed online.
Will that information be confidential?
A. If the client has consented to the release of the information on Stratus, the information will be
made available on the data feed to VOWs.
Entering incorrect information in the system (e.g., $1 pending sold prices) is contrary to the MLS®
Rules and Policies and could lead to disciplinary proceedings, as well as possible membership
suspension or termination.
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 go-forward
A. At this time, the information will be made available on the data feed to VOWs in accordance
with the order.
Q 9. How can I get access to archived data?
A. In order to access archived unavailable listings data, VOW subscribers must fill out a special
request form, which can be downloaded here. You will need to fill this form out and return it by
email to email@example.com with the subject line “Access to Archived Data”.
The Archived data will include archived listing data and photos beyond two years up until January
1, 2003, and will be retrievable in the form of .zip and .jpeg files using a different set of access
Q 10. What about historical sold price information where consents were given before
websites were in existence?
A. TREB is reviewing the consent language and seeking clarification at this time.
Q 11. What happens to the “Distribute to Internet” field on MLS® DATA INFORMATION
A. As of September 18, 2018, as part of TREB’s compliance obligations related to the Competition
Tribunal Order, if you select the “No” field for “Distribute to Internet Portals” on freehold and
condominium MLS® Data Information forms, your listing will now be included in Virtual Office
Website (VOW) data feeds.
After September 18, 2018, selecting the “No” field for “Distribute to Internet Portals” will include
IDX, DLA, DDF, REALTOR.ca and listings.trebhome.com
Changes to online forms and agreements (PDF, Instanet-Authentisign, and WebForms) will be
made as soon as possible. Updated hard copy forms will be made available to Members at a later
For now, hard copy forms will have the message above affixed to ensure all Members understand
Q 12. Do you anticipate other changes to the VOW agreement, buyer representation or
A. 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 13. Does the order only affect the Toronto Real Estate Board?
A. At this time the order only applies to TREB 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 14. Is the litigation with the Competition Bureau over?
A. There is no outstanding litigation with the Competition Bureau.
Q 15. Will my fees increase as a result of the decision?
A. Fees will not be impacted by this decision.
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR WOULD YOU LIKE MORE INFORMATION?
If you have questions about this FAQ, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will get
back to you.
If you would like to read the original June 3, 2016 order, please click here.
re: Commissioner of Competition vs. Toronto Real Estate Board