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.

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“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.


  1. The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington recognizes and supports all of the work that OMDREB has been doing to come up with a solution that’s in the best interest of their members. Their dedicated leadership team and volunteers have spent hundreds of hours working to find a favourable solution. We commend REM for setting the record straight.

    Ultimatums are never easy to deal with, especially when it comes to members’ access to MLS® listings. The main issue is what we call “gap listings” – listings that are in an Associations geographical boundaries but not listed on that Association’s MLS® system. The ITSO/RAHB alliance ensures that their members have seamless data between all the participating boards and we don’t experience “gap listings between Associations. This alliance has saved members thousands of dollars in dual memberships & countless hours with duplicate listing inputs. At the same time, it allows Associations to provide services & MLS® Rules specific to the needs & wants of their own membership & ie) electronic lockboxes, automated showing software, technology tied to the MLS® data. At present, under the current “partner board” framework with TRREB, an Association can’t share its MLS® data with ITSO/RAHB and must adapt to TRREB’s MLS® Rules. It’s an “us” or “them” philosophy, in complete opposition to what the majority of Ontario Associations now believe in.

    Together, ITSO & RAHB have always been 100% committed to sharing MLS® Data. In a perfect world, all of the Boards in Ontario would share data. There’d be no duplication, no dual memberships and members would save so much time & money. In the end, the consumer would win.

    • This condition is pretty much every listing out your way, under brokerage remarks and iirritatingly creeping into TRREB’s system – All the powers that be (in all boards) fighting over territory ought to speak with RECO for an eye opener:

      “If The Listing Agent Shows The Property To A Buyer Or Family Member Of A Buyer And The Buyer Makes An Offer, The Co-Op Brokerage Commission Will Be Reduced By 1.0% And Will Be Added To The Listing Brokerage Commission.”

      Neither board seems to care about rules. Your rule states:

      1. If a listing contains conditions that alter the final amount of commission, where it is unclear as to the final amount or percentage to be paid to the selling brokerage or the final amount is zero (0). Marketing fees do not form part of the commission arrangement, therefore are acceptable. E.g. X% or $X less a marketing fee.

      I’ve been out that way numerous times in the last month. Updating the sold status on TRREB’s system is definitely not the below rule. 3-7 days is more like it.

      ” 1….All sales and conditional sales must be reported to the Association in writing, via fax within two (2) Association business days.”

      It’s important irritants such as that on both sides, that may be the driving reasons behind the stalemate. Having said that there are some things TRREB’s members can certainly learn from your members – the diligence by which agents constantly provide information for the entire offer process is outstanding!

      • As a REALTOR® that belongs to a ITSO Member Association, you are able to use the ITSO MLS® System. This gives you access to MLS® listing information for a large part of Ontario and access to the best tools and technology, which enables you to provide superior solutions to your clients. The ITSO MLS® System is more than just a database of listing information though. The definition of an MLS® System is this:
        A member-to-member cooperative selling system for the purchase, sale, or lease of real estate that is wholly owned and controlled by one or more associations, includes an inventory of listings of participating REALTORS®, and ensures a certain level of accuracy of information, professionalism, and cooperation amongst REALTORS®.
        That last part is what makes an MLS® System more than just technology. The level of professionalism associated with a particular MLS® System is entirely dependent on how professional its users are. It is the REALTORS® participating in an MLS® System that are responsible for the accuracy of the information. They are the ones that must be professional in all their dealings and must cooperate with other REALTORS®.
        ITSO MLS system for 22 Real Estate Boards with Industry Professional Standards we can all govern ourselves with. Many standards to Governance we can agree to #TRREBandITSOcouldPartnerandCollaborate #modestproposal

  2. Gratefully, we know now that data share or swap works with TRREB as they did swap and share. We also know that technology and security is much better now – MLS data can be shared and swapped. 100% of all MLS data, IS available by swap or share agreements…they work ie TRREB and OMDREB and RAHB and ITSO (22 MLS Boards on a single system). IF TRREB and ITSO were to AGREE to share (Ontario) or swap (Regionally) their MLS data then ALL REALTORS would have ALL MLS data to work with – TRREB Members would access ALL MLS data on their platform throughout their recently proclaimed regional marketplace on their system and all ITSO Members (22 Boards from London to Ottawa and Sudbury) and those data sharing on ITSO would also have access to ALL MLS data in all Regional markets. TRREB Board of Directors needs to collaborate/partner with ITSO Board of Directors for ALL data! #modestproposal #TRREBandITSOletsTALKPartnership #noDUALmembershipsnecessary #noMLSinterboardnecessary #noMLSsubscriptionnecessary #ALLONTARIOMLSDATAfor REALTORS #nothingbut100%MLSdataforCLIENTS

  3. All I know is that as of yesterday I’m a TRREB member who is paying another board to “subscribe” to their MLS. I had less than a week’s warning and there was a national holiday in there and I have two clients who are depending on me for a steady, uninterrupted flow of listing data. I also need to be able to evaluate property values using historical data that was also going to be shut off. I AM A VERY UNHAPPY CUSTOMER. And I am not buying for a minute that this was OMDREB’s fault. Sort this out!! Oh, and could someone at TRREB also take a few minutes to translate the “REALM” press releases into English? Oh, and I’m one of those TRREB agents who chose to use Matrix this year. Once Corelogic was able to undo the deliberate sabotage insisted on by TRREB it’s been a very good system and I’ve enjoyed using it but…. do I understand it’s now gone as of the fall? What’s going on there? No word on that from the useless leadership of this board.

  4. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. It seems obvious that the upper class rulers have no respect or regard for the peons who pay their salaries.

  5. Territorial borders no longer make sense. Real estate is rarely sold from salespeople’s, offices. Instead, elsewhere. Thanks to electronic communication and electronic signatures. Our current system only satisfies, the egos of leaders of individual Boards. .
    We are living in the IMFORMATION AGE, our customers, demand real estate information, now, real estate details from anywhere in Ontario. Motivated by rising real estate prices and by the fact that, that they can work from home. A unified, single MLS system is the only way to fulfill the needs of our clients. we need to put aside our petty differences and move forward. Considering our clients needs, first and foremost. Further, a unified system will result in a reduction of our Board fees. When individual Boards no longer provide MLS services, they will have to recognize, the need for offering value and meaningful services to maintain membership revenues.

  6. Personally I feel TRREB has exhausted their usefulness and it is time for major change. We don’t need multiple local boards; we need province wide representation and co-operation and TRREB should not be the one trying to provide this. TRREB has often been viewed as the bully and in many cases rightfully so.

  7. The Dear sweet Don Mills/Ajax Condo Princess with her smiling picture on the banner across the top of the letter did not write that note- nor did she make the decision to discontinue (or initiate) any MLS data program or service that TrREB offers – the Chief Operating Officer and his cadre of Executive commissars (plus the Board of Drones) made those blunders.
    Remember the “end” of the much-loved CREA Webforms? (They finally merged the two systems) and did you hear the whole story on how the decision to acquire a free-to-members electronic signature feature caused the whole mess For Canada.
    Remember the intro to Matrix (a two-three month free trial with a knocked-down version of it) that transmogrified itself into this new Multi-List Front-end Back-end monster-piece that no one can describe without a mouthful of jargon-slang all containing the word Colkaborate?
    What happened to the Request For Proposals (RFP) that was going to (probably)find the newest, best, most wonderful replacement to Stratus?
    Teranet, Stratus Collab – what’s new?

    So for us to only be getting 1/4-1/3-1/2 the story on the end of the cooperating agreement between Oakville-Milton (last one Friday afternoon) is just another example of incompetent lying AND the letter in response is a stinging indictment of the mode of operation of the inner circle of the Permanent Director/Managers of TrREB.
    I come not to praise Caesar … but to call for a full accounting at the next in-person General Meeting!

    • Seven years, some memmbers of (the then) TREB’s board were being criticized in closed groups for their rmanagement. There were At least half were huge egos who made it a habit to reclycle their bids for directorship posts between the 3 levels of membership and endorsed each other’s run, against association policy. (It wasn’t at all surprising then when they moved to appoint one of their own into the presidency going forward.) In response to the criticism, the fragile egos created a TREB Code of Conduct – a blatant attempt to stifle any, and I mean any, negative word about any other member, board member, officer, employee even of TREB itself. With such a muzzle in place, the general public could never know what’s right and what’s wrong within the organization or with organized real estate.

      My days volunteering on committees had long been put on hold prior to that insulting missive since it had been clouded by the egotistical directions of a past very combative president who either hated change, opinions or both from the riff raff, and so knowing who the incoming president was, I knew it was destined to get worse not better – it did – I haven’t volunteered since.

      It has some different faces, but some huge egos nonetheless who live in the past and believe they have all the answers themselves. I’d be surprised if similar egos do not exist on the other boards like OMDREB and that’s the problem

      I mention the missive to you because I’m thinking there might be a letter in your future for your brave and candid post.

      I’m not so brave…

      • Thank you for sharing your personal experience into the creation of this dysfunctional mess at the expense of paying members…… now we need this fixed yesterday. I feel CREA, OREA, other boards need to collectively make this a priority.

  8. We need cooperation and Partnerships, not finger-pointing. It is my understanding that the data share was cancelled because it had always been intended to be the first step to a full partnership. When Oakville changed course Toronto responded accordingly. The partnership option is still available and should be seriously considered by Oakville and Toronto as well as boards such as Hamilton – Burlington

  9. Many years ago when the then BREB EO was chairing a BREB broker meeting at a Main St upscale restaurant, not a large attendance, I believe there was as an informal courtesy, a rep from Oakville board in attendance. The subject of the BREB/TREB information sharing was being discussed.

    Most such arrangements in any industry have what is formally often referred to as an exit strategy. So thinking how our arrangement of the day re information sharing needed to be protected in case someone at the then TREB decided to end it at some point, how would that go down, I inquired as to what the BREB/TREB exit strategy was.

    My question clearly angered the EO woman (no longer EO for several years) because my question had put her on the spot (not my intention) because she couldn’t answer the question.

    She didn’t seem to understand the strategy of the need for discussing exit strategy or even if there was one. She (an American) had come to BREB with a background running an American school bus business with no real estate experience, and certainly no Canadian real estate experience. One could wonder at the time how she had been a suitable EO candidate.

    Nonetheless she diverted the topic and I never got an answer to what she later said she deemed an inappropriate question to have asked at the meeting.

    The then BREB president was in attendance and later he telephoned me privately and he said the guest in attendance from Oakville had asked who THAT WOMAN (me) was who asked what was BREB’s / TREB’s information sharing exit strategy.

    Such discussions should be out in the open and not have fear attached. Such topics relative should be known to all members.

    Based on the current articles and comments, there seems to have been no exit strategy in place re the now TTREB and OMDREB sharing information (contract???). Did anyone at OMDREB ever ask the question: what is the exit strategy? (Planning for the future that is always in motion.)

    Clearly there seems to be plenty of misunderstandings regarding information sharing from many perspectives. Since I put my lic on hold due to family medical situation I have not followed the BREB/TTREB old information sharing topic. And not the OMDREB ever, always forever a thorn in the side of information sharing capacity..

    But seeing the current REM articles it brings back memories of all the secrecies surrounding the running of board’s vis a vis membership and when the BREB EO woman of the day was all about not sharing such information as per the running of the board. Was seen as an infringement of her authority of the day.

    Of course it was the “membership” that paid her substantial salary and generous benefits but not privy to how she ran the BREB. In following years more tight secrecies then one day she was suddenly gone.

    Sadly the member who allegedly caused her exit passed away. He was a dedicated member with a brilliant future. And a new EO was put in place. But there never became public to the membership what exactly the exit strategy was re TREB/BREB or even if there was one. I no longer followed the topic in recent years. But the REM stories seem to allude to the OMDREB maybe also not having an exit strategy in place?

    Carolyne L

    Sent from my iphone

    • Well, we saw what happens when a board tries to leave TRREB. TRREB claims that the incoming data, and data aggregated during the partnership remains the property of that board, and is given back upon termination.

      But we know from looking at Mississauga and Barrie’s experiences leaving TRREB that if the data is returned (which it may or may not be, due to technical restrictions), then it’s probably unusable.

      Hopefully Oakville has delved deep into this to make their decision.

  10. The plot thickens.

    I’m guessing this has to do more with egos and who is on top of the food chain than membership enhancement services.

    • I entirely disagree. It has to do with someone finally standing up to point out that trreb manipulates situations in their favour, sometimes detrimentally to the overall awareness of their own membership.


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