Newspaper article The Canadian Press

OREA, TREB Spat Comes Down to Growing Pains, Royal LePage CEO Says

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

OREA, TREB Spat Comes Down to Growing Pains, Royal LePage CEO Says

Article excerpt

OREA, TREB spat amounts to 'growing pains'

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TORONTO - A spat between the Ontario Real Estate Association and the Toronto Real Estate Board is the product of the association's "growing pains" and its leadership's political ties, says the CEO of one of Canada's largest real estate companies.

The tension between the housing bodies that manifested itself in an heated letter from TREB attacking OREA for fixating on the lack of housing affordability in Toronto, comes from OREA trying to "re-engineer itself" after it recently lost the ability to provide educational courses to realtors after December 2020, said Phil Soper, Royal LePage executive. Last April, it was announced that Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning and learning management company NIIT Canada would take over realtor education.

"OREA has latched onto one of the big public policy challenges we have in Ontario, which is the housing shortage," Soper said, adding the association seems to think they can make a difference by trying to influence future politicians.

"We've got an association that's figuring out what it needs to do, but is experimenting, and, I think, doing a good job at trying to find its role and its new mandate. But in the process, it's stepped on some toes and they need to just work it out."

TREB and OREA's tension stemmed from OREA's recent "Keep the Dream Alive" campaign, which aims to address the dearth of moderately priced housing. But it also upset TREB enough for the board to voice concerns that it could "have psychological consequences for consumers and could provoke further unwarranted negative government intervention."

Earlier this month, TREB sent a letter to OREA that was obtained by The Canadian Press, saying it has "serious trepidations" about the campaign's message and its focus on Toronto, and wants OREA to stick to its mandate to promote the province's housing market as a whole.

"It is naive to suggest the dream of home ownership is dead or dying. It's alive and well in every Canadian city and beyond. To state otherwise is misleading to the consumer," TREB president Tim Syrianos wrote in the letter to OREA President David Reid.

OREA and TREB have said little about their skirmish, but released a joint statement saying the letter is "not reflective of the long standing and positive relationship" between the organizations, and that they hope to resolve the discussions "amicably and internally."

On Tuesday, OREA CEO Tim Hudak skirted questions about the organization's feud with TREB and instead stuck to discussing the very topic that irked TREB: the lack of affordable housing in Toronto

"We want to make sure that great Canadian dream of home ownership doesn't slip away from the next generation," said Hudak, at an event OREA held to unveil a Ryerson University report it sponsored. …

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