Competition Bureau loses bid to open up online real estate sites

OTTAWA — The Competition Bureau is reviewing the dismissal of a two-year-old complaint that it filed against the Toronto Real Estate Board.The bureau wanted to force the board to eliminate rules preventing brokerages from offering certain Internet-based real estate services.The complaint, filed on May 27, 2011, alleged the real estate board’s rules restricted competition by preventing its members from setting up “virtual office websites.”The bureau argued agents should be allowed to set up password protected websites to provide detailed market data from the Multiple Listing Service.The real estate board argued it was legally and morally bound to respect the contractual and private information of consumers on both ends of a deal.The Competition Tribunal dismissed the bureau’s application on Monday.“While I am disappointed that the tribunal has dismissed the bureau’s application, we will be reviewing the tribunal’s decision to determine our next steps,” interim competition commissioner John Pecman said in a statement. read more