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Archived — Final agreement paves way for more competition in Canada's real estate market

OTTAWA, October 24, 2010 — As a result of an agreement ratified today by members of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), Canadians will have the ability to choose which services they want from a real estate agent when selling their home, and to pay only for those selected services. At the same time, the consent agreement between the Competition Bureau and CREA will ensure that real estate agents have the flexibility to provide innovative service and pricing options to customers. The agreement will be filed with the Competition Tribunal and effective immediately.

"I am pleased that CREA members have voted in favour of this agreement," said Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition. "This resolution is welcome news for both consumers and real estate agents in Canada. For Canadian homeowners, it ensures that they will have the freedom to choose which services they want from a real estate agent and to pay for only those services. For real estate agents, it ensures that they will be able to offer the variety of services and prices that meet the needs of consumers."

In February 2010, the Commissioner of Competition challenged, before the Competition Tribunal, anti‑competitive rules imposed by CREA on real estate agents who list residential properties using the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system. The Bureau launched its challenge following three years of discussions and several months of intensive negotiations. After being approached by CREA to resume negotiations, the Bureau announced on September 30, 2010, that it had reached an agreement in principle that fully resolved the Commissioner's concerns.

Under the agreement, CREA must eliminate its ability to adopt anti‑competitive rules, including those that discriminate against real estate agents who are hired by consumers to offer a "mere posting" service. In the case of mere postings, a home seller hires a real estate agent only to list his or her property on the MLS system and agrees to handle all other details of the transaction directly.

A copy of the legally binding consent agreement will be available on the Competition Tribunal Web site once it has been registered. The agreement will remain in force for 10 years.

The Competition Bureau ensures that Canadians prosper from the benefits of a competitive marketplace, driving innovative products and services at competitive prices.

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