The Competition Bureau is investigating the practices of Quebec brokers
< p class="sc-v64krj-0 dlqbmr">The Competition Bureau must determine whether access to real estate sales data in Quebec, reserved for brokers, harms competition.
The Competition Bureau may continue its investigation into the Association professionnelle des courtiers immobiliers du Québec (APCIQ) and its subsidiary, Centris. The Federal Court of Canada has issued an order requiring the association to provide written documents and information.
The Competition Bureau is interested in the restrictions surrounding the sharing of real estate data held by the APCIQ. This manages a system allowing both agencies and real estate brokers to collaborate in the context of their work. This system, which is not publicly accessible, contains data on real estate transactions carried out in Quebec.
As part of its investigation, the competition regulator is trying to determine whether the APCIQ has engaged in certain practices that harm competition in the real estate brokerage services market or that prevent the development of innovative online brokerage services in Quebec.
As the investigation is still ongoing, no conclusion has been drawn as to any ;possible wrongdoing at this time, the Competition Bureau said in a statement Monday morning.
Note, however, that in 2016, after five years of proceedings, the Competition Tribunal ruled in favor of the organization in a similar case. It had been shown in court that the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) had used anti-competitive tactics that had the effect of restricting real estate brokers and consumers from accessing historical residential property sales data. .
The court found that TREB exercised anti-competitive control in the market because of its control over the MLS system. This had the effect of harming the emergence of virtual online brokerage offices.
TREB had appealed this decision, but had come up against to a plea of inadmissibility by the Federal Court of Appeal, then to the refusal of the Supreme Court.
In doing so, the brokerage organization had to review some of its practices, including restricting access to real estate data to its members.