Ethics Corner — How much do you know about CREA trademarks?
(And yes, you should know about CREA trademarks!)
The Canadian Real Estate Association owns the trademarks for the Multiple Listing Service®, MLS® and REALTOR®. These trademarks have value to CREA, and they also have value to all CREA members because they denote special services and standing.
Every REALTOR® should know how to use the terms MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and REALTOR® correctly. There is a wealth of information about CREA trademarks on the CREA page in REALTOR Link® – just look under Resources and Compliance > Trademarks and Logos > Trademark Resources.
In the meantime, here’s a short video explaining how to use the MLS® trademark correctly:
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) continues to actively monitor and enforce the National Do Not Call List (DNCL). The DNCL is a list of consumer telephone numbers who have chosen to reduce the number of marketing calls they receive. Subject to limited exceptions, marketers are prohibited from contacting numbers on this National list.
CREA has been informed by the CRTC it is increasing enforcement oversight of the National DNCL as it relates to the real estate sector. Members should be aware that non-compliance can result in significant financial penalties – so it is important to be sure you understand your responsibilities.
As a reminder:
- A brokerage that conducts telemarketing must (subject to limited exemptions) purchase a subscription for the area codes it intends to call (fees will be based on the subscription model you select). It is the responsibility of the brokerage to ensure its office has access to the most up-to-date version of the National DNCL and that those numbers are removed from their calling list.
- The brokerage must also maintain an internal do-not-call list. If a consumer asks not to be contacted, the brokerage must add their name and number to its own internal do not call list.
We urge brokerages to exercise caution when hiring a third party service provider to assist the brokerage in managing their telemarketing operations. The CRTC issued an administrative monetary penalty of $260,000 to one such provider, Telelisting, in January 2015. Telelisting obtained and disclosed contents of the National DNCL to their clients, a violation of CRTC’s Telecommunications Rules. An investigation by the CRTC could also result in monetary penalties to brokerages who were clients of Telelisting. It is important to remember that brokerages who conduct marketing and hire third party service providers still need to register with the DNCL Operator and subscribe to the National DNCL.
For more information about the DNCL and members’ obligations, consult CREA’s FAQs.
CREA has made a series of changes to the rules governing the use of the REALTOR® trademarks. The changes are intended to make using the marks easier, which should increase proper use and reduce improper use. The changes also reflect the reality of how CREA’s trademarks are used on the Internet.
- CREA’s previous rules required REALTOR® to be in all capital letters, followed by the ® registration mark. The new policy only requires that form for the first use in any publication. In all subsequent uses, the word can be spelled with only the ‘R’ capitalized, (i.e. Realtor) and omitting the ®.
- Up until this point, members have been required to add the trademark statement “The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA”. The new policy allows members to choose one of five acceptable trademark ownership statements:
- Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. Only REALTORS® are members of CREA.
- I’m more than a real estate agent. I’m a REALTOR®.
- What’s the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®?
Visit crea.ca/why to find out.
- REALTOR®. Member of The Canadian Real Estate Association and more.
- The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA.
- CREA’s previous rules prohibited the use of modifiers with the REALTOR® The new policy allows it, provided that REALTOR® appears in all capital letters (e.g., Professional REALTOR®, Toronto REALTOR®).
- CREA’s previous rules prohibited REALTOR® or REALTORS® being used as part of a firm name (e.g., Smith REALTORS®). The new policy allows that use, provided the following three conditions are met.
- The proposed name is approved by CREA;
- The member enters into a license agreement with CREA before using the name;
- REALTOR® must appear in all capital letters whenever it is used in the name.
- CREA’s previous rules were silent on the use of REALTOR® or REALTORS® in a team name (e.g., REALTOR® Team Smith Jones). The new policy permits such use, subject to the same three conditions set out above.
- CREA’s previous rules prohibited the use of REALTOR® or REALTORS® in corporate branding. The new policy permits such use (e.g., use of REALTOR® in slogans), but the prohibition on use of REALTOR® and REALTORS® in product names will remain.
- CREA’s previous rules prohibited use of our marks in metatags. The new policy permits such use for both REALTOR® and MLS®.
- CREA’s previous policy provided that members may only use REALTOR® or REALTORS® in a domain name in association with their name or firm name. The new policy allows members to add modifiers to REALTOR® in domain names, email addresses, and social media usernames that contain their name, firm name, or team name (e.g. JohnJonesTorontoRealtor.com, JanetheProfessionalRealtor.ca, SmithTeamRealtors@gmail.com, @BigBobRealtor)
In order to implement the new usage requirements, CREA has re-written its Trademark Policy. A copy of that policy is found in the Resources and Compliance section on CREA’s REALTOR Link® page.
Did you know that the information about using CREA’s REALTOR® trademark appeared in CREA’s blog, “CREA Café”? Want to see what you might be missing? Check it out at www.creacafe.ca!
Here’s a sample of other great info you can find on CREA Café. The following article is reprinted from the CREA Café, October 22, 2015.
Refresh your knowledge of the REALTOR® Code with CREA’s new online course
The words “REALTOR®” and “real estate agent” are not interchangeable, although some real estate agents might like them to be.
What sets CREA members—REALTOR® members—apart? Their adherence to the REALTOR® Code: the standard of conduct that helps to ensure the protection of the rights and interests of consumers of real estate services.
As REALTOR® members are aware, CREA’s REALTOR® Code has been the measure of professionalism in organized real estate for many years. The first code was approved in 1913; members approved the first code of ethics specific to CREA members in 1959. The Code has since been amended many times, most recently in 2014, to reflect changes in the real estate marketplace, the needs of property owners and the perceptions and values of society.
REALTOR® members can be justifiably proud of their Code.
Like any set of principles, the Code is only truly valuable if incorporated into day-to-day practice. But what, you may ask, is the best way to go about doing that? In an ideal world, REALTOR® members would pick up the Code and refresh their memory on its various nuances, from time to time.
That’s why CREA created the REALTOR® Code of Ethics Course.
The course is designed to help increase awareness and understanding of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics amongst REALTOR® members, by presenting the code in a user-friendly manner, using practical examples and quizzes to help ensure the knowledge sticks, and providing members with up-to-date information on the most recent changes to the Code.
For example, did you know that in March, 2015, the Code was amended to include, among other things:
- A new commitment to civility;
- A new Interpretation to reinforce the obligation on members that they are responsible for the improper use by businesses partners of CREA’s trademarks; and
- A new Article with respect to unbecoming conduct (A REALTOR® shall not engage in conduct that is disgraceful, unprofessional or unbecoming of a REALTOR®).
Do you think this clause would apply if another REALTOR® member was curt with you? Take the course to find out! Hint: the answer is a two letter word starting with ‘n’ and ending with a vowel.
You will soon be receiving a brochure that describes the benefits of the Plan which is underwritten by ManuLife Financial. If you want more information, click here, the website designed exclusively for CREA members, where you can evaluate the merits of the plan and get a no-obligation quote.
The federal government announced in December that it intends to raise the minimum down payment requirements on homes valued over $500,000. This will be in effect for homes insured by CMHC.
Requirements will remain at 5 per cent down payment for homes under 500,000. Any amount over $500,000 will require a 10 per cent down payment. For example a $700,000 home will require a $45,000 down payment – 5 per cent on $500,000 and 10 per cent down on the remaining $200,000. The announced changes will take effect on February 15, 2016.
CREA has opposed increasing the minimum down payment since 2011, and will continue to advocate on behalf of home buyers, sellers and members on this issue. Watch your inbox and the REALTOR® Action Network (RAN) for new developments.
The annual election for the CREA Board of Directors will be held on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at the 2016 CREA Annual General Meeting in Ottawa. Any qualified REALTOR® who has an interest in serving as a Director of CREA is strongly encouraged to run for a position on the Board of Directors.
The following positions are open:
- Three Director-at-Large positions, each for a two-year term
- Four Regional Director positions, each for a two-year term, one from each of the following regions:
- Alberta/Northwest Territories
- The Atlantic Region
Qualifications of Directors
- Be a REALTOR® member
- Have been a REALTOR® member for at least five years
- Have a minimum of three years experience as a director of a member real estate board or association
- Not be otherwise disqualified by the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act
- In the case of a Regional Director, be licensed in that region
The deadline for candidate submissions is Tuesday, January 19, 2016.
If you need further information, contact CREA’s General Counsel,
Bill Harrington, at 613-237-7111 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to http://www.realtorlink.ca/content/realtorlink/crea/en_CA/about/
Director_Recruitment_Information.html/Fo to read more about
CREA’s vision, strategic leadership and accountability policies.
All commercial listings, formerly displayed on ICX.ca, have found their permanent home in the new commercial section on REALTOR.ca.
For your commercial clients, access to all listing types on one site will offer not only a more user-friendly experience, but greatly enhanced visibility for commercial searches.
Key benefits of adding commercial listings to REALTOR.ca:
- More up-to-date commercial content because REALTOR.ca is updated up to four times per day (as opposed to once a day on ICX.ca).
- Market-driven, user-tested approach to integration. Metrics from ca and REALTOR.ca indicated audience overlap on both sites.
- Enhanced listing details. Not only are you, the REALTOR®, front-and-center, your commercial listings now have additional features such as demographics, Walk Score® and keyword search.
What does this mean?
REALTOR.ca now has two tabs for easy toggling from Commercial to Residential. The Commercial tab gives your commercial clients the ability to search for and view all commercial listings and the Residential tab allows your residential clients to search for and view residential listings along with all multi-family properties, some of which have previously only been available on ICX.ca.
Anyone who searches for ICX.ca or have it bookmarked in their browser will be automatically directed to the Commercial section of REALTOR.ca.
REALTOR.ca is now a one-stop shop for all your clients’ real estate needs.
(From CREA’s NEWS2Me blog)
The CREA Board of Directors approved a series of changes to the rules governing the use of the REALTOR® trademarks at its meeting on August 25, 2015. The purpose of this initiative is to make the use of the marks easier, with a view to increasing proper use and reducing improper use. The changes to CREA’s Rules and Policies will make the use of the REALTOR® trademark simpler and easier to understand. The changes are also intended to reflect the reality of how CREA’s trademarks are used on the Internet. (more…)
The Canadian Real Estate Association has updated its FINTRAC (money laundering) resource materials. Changes include
- Clarification on the types of records that need to be kept to satisfy the obligation to keep records of measures taken to monitor a broker’s business relationships.
- Revisions to reflect FINTRAC’s recently published Guidance on the Risk-Based Approach to Combatting Money laundering and Terrorist Financing and the recent Supreme Court of Canada FINTRAC decision with respect to lawyers.
- More information on suspicious transaction records and reports.
- Minor formatting changes to CREA forms.
Revised CREA forms, which incorporate the changes, are available for download now on REALTOR Link® and are now available on WEBForms®.
As a result of a new FINTRAC course developed by the Real Estate Knowledge Network (REvia), CREA will be discontinuing its own Money Laundering 101 course, currently offered by a third party and accessible via REALTOR Link®, as of December 31, 2015.
The new REvia course represents a significant improvement over CREA’s existing course as it is available in both English and French, contains broker and agent streams so that the law is explained in light of specific responsibilities, is more user-friendly, and contains numerous quizzes and helpful examples to help ensure that information members need to know is retained.
For more information about the new REvia course, go to http://www.revia.ca.
As part of his election platform, Prime Minister Steven Harper announced his intention to increase the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000.
Since its inception in 1992, the HBP has helped 2.8 million Canadians to purchase their first home. Over the 23 years the program has been in place, however, the purchasing power of the HBP has been steadily eroded by inflation. CREA, through it’s annual PAC meetings with MPs, has lobbied for an increase to the withdrawal limit.
Real estate lawyer Mark Weisleder offers the following information about Bill 55 and bidding wars. This information was published in Mark’s newsletter and is reprinted with permission.
There is already confusion with respect to how real estate brokerages are to comply with Bill 55 and use the new Form 801 in a bidding war. Here are 5 things to know:
What was the main purpose behind Bill 55 in the first place?
The main purpose was to stop unethical practices when conducting bidding wars. For example, saying that you had another offer in order to trick a buyer into offering more than they intended to bid. You should keep this in mind when you say or do anything in a bidding war.
Why do we have Form 801?
The main purpose of completing Form 801 is so that the listing brokerage can keep a record of every offer that is presented by a buyer brokerage and not accepted by the seller without having to keep a copy of the actual offer itself. This form can then be used as proof later if someone claims that you misrepresented having received another offer.
Can a buyer brokerage still register an offer?
The answer is yes. However, in order to register an offer, the buyer salesperson must know that the offer exists. In my opinion, this means that the buyer brokerage must have the original agreement signed by the buyer in their possession when they register an offer.
Can a buyer still change their mind once an offer is registered?
The answer is yes. Until the offer is communicated to the seller by personal delivery, fax or email, it can be withdrawn by the buyer.
Can the listing brokerage ask a buyer brokerage to complete and send Form 801 if they want to register an offer?
The answer is no. This is what is causing the most confusion. It is not appropriate for a buyer brokerage to complete Form 801 and send it in to a listing brokerage BEFORE they intend to actually submit the offer. By doing so, they would be telling the listing brokerage in advance the identity of the buyer. In my opinion, it is sufficient for a buyer brokerage to just send something in writing to the listing brokerage confirming that they have an offer which they intend to present later. They can identify the property but not the buyer name. For a listing brokerage, if you have this information in writing from a buyer
brokerage, you can then inform others that you have received a registered offer. However, be careful to also state that no actual offer has been received.
According to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales activity edged slightly lower on a month-over-month basis in July 2015.
- National home sales edged back by 0.4% from June to July.
- Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity stood 3.4% above July 2014 levels.
- The number of newly listed homes edged up 0.2 per cent from June to July.
- The Canadian housing market remains balanced overall.
- The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 5.9% year-over-year in July.
- The national average sale price rose 8.9% on a year-over-year basis in July; excluding Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, it increased by 4.1%.
The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations declined by 0.4 per cent in July 2015 compared to June. While this marks the second consecutive monthly decline in activity, sales activity in May, June and July reached their highest monthly levels in more than five years.
Read the full report.