An lawsuit against the Toronto Real Estate Board may go some distance toward loosening the industry’s monopoly on listing information, which has kept Canadian home buyers and sellers in the dark compared to Americans and others around the world — or at least put some downward pressure on commission rates. As reported in The Toronto Star, a veteran realtor claims TREB terminated his access to the Multiple Listing Service in May of 2007 after he launched a discount brokerage — in partnership with what was then Bell New Ventures, a short-lived skunkworks of giant Bell Canada Enterprises. A web site was quietly launched that scraped listings from other sites, including TREB’s; under legal pressure, it was quickly shut down, and the technology eventually sold to Torstar — which now uses it to power HomeFinder.ca. (The Star enjoys a friendlier relationship with the realtors.) As a recent article in The Financial Post outlines, Canadian realtors have gone to great lengths for 50 years to create, and maintain, iron control over listings — unthinkable in more enlightened countries. The lawsuit will be heard in Ontario Superior Court of Justice June 22.