Privacy is a major concern for the majority of Canadians; especially in the age of the internet where more and more people are becoming the victim of identity theft and fraud scams. From people fraudulently taking on other people’s identities, gaining access to online accounts, to outright theft of people’s information, there is no shortage of privacy concerns.
We agree, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) is being challenged by the Competition Bureau on this issue. TREB wants certain personal information to remain private and confidential. They believe that when selling a home, a seller’s personal information should remain private.
The Competition Bureau is taking action that is attempting to force TREB to divulge more personal information about the seller on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®).
MLS® is a system that was created by TREB and its member REALTOR® across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). While minimal information is made available on MLS® and through REALTOR®.ca, sensitive personal information is safeguarded by TREB. This information is protected by the protocol that is set out in privacy legislation that is meant to protect the privacy rights of all Ontarians.
What does this mean for homeowners?
If the Competition Bureau is successful and gets their way, this would mean that homeowners across the GTA would have more of the personal information about their home made public over the internet. This means that the following information could be made public:
- The seller’s name
- The seller’s address
- Floor plans of your home
- Property access information
- Negotiated sale price of your home
- Details about your mortgage
The Consumer Response
Obviously, if this information became public, it is very worrisome to the majority of homeowners in Toronto and across Ontario. There are many potential privacy issues that could arise if this information were to become public.
So, how are consumers reacting to the news that their personal home information could be made public by the Competition Bureau?
Multiple surveys and polls have made it clear that Ontario consumers are firmly behind TREB’s position and agree that their personal home information should remain private and not made public online.
According to a poll conducted by the Canadian Real Estate Watch (CREW), more than 90% of participants responded “no” when asked if it is right of the Competition Commission to ask for more personal information to be posted on MLS®.
These numbers are reaffirmed by an Angus Reid survey that revealed that approximately three quarters of people believe that personal information should remain private and confidential.
Terrequity and REALTOR® Stance
Terrequity and REALTORS® in the GTA stand firm and believe that consumers’ personal information needs to be protected and remain private. Terrequity and REALTORS® in the GTA will do everything that they can to keep it private.
What Can Consumers Do?
If you would like to get involved and have your voice heard, Terrequity urges you to spread the word through social media. Visit http://protectyourprivacy.ca/take-action/ for more information about how you as a consumer can fight to keep your information private.