The end of the data swap agreement between the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board and the Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board was misrepresented by TRREB in a letter sent to its members, says OMDREB president Lynn Hoffmann.
“As president of OMDREB and a member of OMDREB and TRREB since 2005, I will not stand by quietly while you cast doubt and besmirch the great work of the OMDREB volunteer Task Forces, our Board of Directors and our CEO Lorraine McLachlan,” says Hoffmann in a letter to Lisa Patel, TRREB president. “Your communication insinuates we have fallen short on engaging in discussions with you and that TRREB had no role in being responsible for ending the data swap.”
In fact, it was TRREB’s decision, “and it is unfortunate that no reason for the termination of this agreement by TRREB has been provided,” Hoffmann wrote to Patel.
Patel notified members last Friday that the data swap agreement, which has been in place since 2018, would end June 30. In her letter, Patel says, “Following several extensions, the TRREB agreement with the Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board (OMDREB) to share listings for properties located within Halton Hills, Milton, and Oakville will end as of June 30, 2021.
“Please note that TRREB submitted a proposal to OMDREB to establish a formal partnership, but we have not heard back since the only discussion on our submission which took place on April 23, 2021,” says the letter from Patel.
OMDREB is currently receiving MLS services from Information Technology Systems Ontario (ITSO), but the agreement expires at the end of this year. The board requested proposals from both TRREB and ITSO to provide MLS data. Both proposals have been received and now volunteer task force committees are studying them. The deadline for a decision on which one will be accepted is the end of August 2021.
Hoffmann says in her letter to Patel, “The data swap and the TRREB Partner Board (MLS services) proposal are two different issues and should not have been conflated as you have done in your communication as it is misleading to members.”
“TRREB’s choice to terminate the data swap, and to, in OMDREB’s view, cause TRREB’s members to infer that OMDREB is to blame for the termination by conflating two unrelated issues will not cause OMDREB to be rushed or pushed to make a faster decision.”
Hoffmann adds, “I would like to point out that OMDREB did not initiate this termination (quite the opposite) and we have worked hard to have TRREB continue the data swap for the benefit of both boards’ members, even if only to such time as we reach our larger MLS decision.”
Hoffmann is also unhappy with REM for its original coverage of the issue. In a separate message to members, she wrote that after the REM story came out, “We have had other media contact us to ask why we ‘ended the data swap’, and were able to provide a clear, accurate and honest response explaining it was not OMDREB that terminated the agreement. The REM article in question is obviously based on the June 25 communication from TRREB to its members, and unfortunately REM did not come to OMDREB for any comment in advance of publication.”
REM editor Jim Adair says Hoffmann is right, and that REM should have contacted OMDREB before publishing the story. “I have spoken to Ms. Hoffmann and apologized for that, and I apologize to OMDREB’s membership,” he says.
Hoffmann says she received a reply from Patel but did not feel comfortable sharing it with REM. TRREB was contacted for a comment but had not replied by REM’s deadline.