“There is nothing in these proposals that we haven’t seen before and they do not solve the problem,” said Melanie Aitken, commissioner of competition.

It appears that a legal battle between the federal Competition Bureau and CREA is inevitable.

On Monday, CREA announced that during its Annual General Meeting in Ottawa, its membership approved amendments clarifying CREA’s rules relating to real estate boards’ MLS systems.

“Through these proactive clarifications of the existing rules, CREA believes that the concerns raised by the Competition Bureau are fully addressed. At the same time, these amendments ensure the continued integrity of MLS systems and the accuracy and quality of information on board MLS systems that Canadians have come to trust,” says CREA in a news release.

But the Competition Bureau says it will continue with its challenge before the Competition Tribunal.

“There is nothing in these proposals that we haven’t seen before and they do not solve the problem,” said Melanie Aitken, commissioner of competition, in a statement. “They are a step in the wrong direction. These amendments amount to a blank cheque allowing CREA and its members to create rules that could have even greater anti-competitive consequences.”

In February, the Competition Bureau filed a challenge to CREA’s rules regarding the use of the MLS. “The bureau has concluded that these rules restrict the ability of consumers to choose the real estate services they want, forcing them to pay for services they do not need. The rules also prevent real estate agents from offering more innovative service and pricing options to consumers,” says the Competition Bureau.

“We have repeatedly advised CREA’s leadership that these amendments do not solve our ongoing competition concerns and I reiterated this directly to CREA as recently as last week in a letter to the president,” says Aitken.

Posted: 2010-03-22 16:58:54

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