Competition commish raises Realtor eyebrows

The tough Aitken gave no reason for the departure, but her move to step down will allow her to spend more time with family in Toronto.

            POLL question: Will Aitken's departure end the Bureau's fight with Realtors?

She will leave having successfully fought some high-profile battles, including suing Visa and Mastercard over credit-card fees. She also tried to block a joint venture between Air Canada and United Continental Holdings.

Her high-profiled disagreement with Realtors has been just as charged, with the September hearing centred on Aitken’s charge that policies of the real estate board have had a “stifling effect on innovation, all to the detriment of consumers and brokers.”

The bureau is expected to argue for direct consumer access to seller information, without a Realtor as go-between.

Toronto Realtors are fighting back, saying giving out these details would threaten the “privacy and safety” of their clients.

In 2010, Aitken reached a settlement with the Canadian Real Estate Association over its online MLS listings, which included allowing for-sale-by-owner listings to be posted to Realtor.ca.

The Competition Bureau, an independent agency, called Aitken a “tough enforcer and a vigorous proponent of protecting and promoting the forces of competition.”

In a statement, the bureau said she “seized the opportunity . . . to make a difference in the lives of Canadians by ensuring that Canadian competition laws are respected.”

There is no word yet on who Aitken’s replacement will be.

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