Canadians are about to get a more transparent real estate market… well, one market. The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) appeal to prevent members from releasing data. The dismissal ends a nearly seven year struggle to get the board to open up information. During this time, TREB argued listing data is their copyrighted information.
TREB restricts information like listings history and final sale prices members can distribute. In 2011, the Commissioner of the Competition Bureau filed an anti-competitive claim against the restriction. The Commission believes preventing the distribution of this information is anti-competitive. They further allege restricting how TREB members use information prevents industry innovation.
TREB countered that the information collected and distributed is their copyrighted property. The Bureau ruled that wasn’t the case, and they were in violation of competition rules. TREB was ordered to ease restrictions on the use of membership data.
TREB Loses, Supreme Court Rejects Closed Data
Today, the Supreme Court rejected TREBs appeal to have the bureau’s ruling dismissed. The appeal was kind of a long shot, since the Supreme Courts receives over 600 appeals per year, but only ~80 are heard. TREB is now required to remove restrictions on its members access and use of real estate data in 60 days.
TREB Wants To Release The Minimum Legally Required
Naturally, TREB isn’t thrilled with the dismissal of the appeal. John DiMichele sent us an email to say:
TREB believes personal financial information of home buyers and sellers must continue to be safely used and disclosed in a manner that respects privacy interests and will be studying the required next steps to ensure such information will be protected in compliance with the Tribunal Order once that comes into effect.
Basically, it sounds like TREB plans to review what they’re required to release, so we won’t know for up to 60 days. They’ve now amped up the argument that there may be privacy implications. It’s still unclear if they know the country south of Canada, with over 360 million people, has open real estate data with few problems.
TL;DR No new information until TREB updates their member policy, and they aren’t happy with the decision.
Like this post? Like us on Facebook for the next one in your feed.