CREA was established to lobby the federal government.

It might seem paradoxical that a national trade association was formed to help represent at the most senior level of government in Canada an economic activity that is regulated and organized at the provincial, territorial and local levels. The impetus for CREA's creation, however, was the recognition that the federal government plays a legislative and policy-setting role across a range of issues that have a direct impact on the real estate market in Canada, on consumers' ability to buy and sell houses, and, consequently, on the very livelihood of REALTORS®.

Today, the advocacy, or federal affairs, function at CREA is one of its most important activities. CREA works with federal cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament, parliamentary committees and senior officials, both directly and through its Political Action Committee of REALTORS®. When issues arise that affect housing, property rights or the real estate sector, representatives from CREA meet with politicians and officials to discuss the issues. Prior to any federal budget, CREA makes recommendations to the government about how fiscal policy can better encourage responsible economic growth.

The range of issues around which CREA engages on behalf of its members is fascinating. While some issues, like mortgage regulations, are obviously of interest, it often takes careful deliberation to understand how some other proposed piece of legislation or change to a regulation might have an impact. Federal regulations in areas such as money laundering, privacy and anti-spam directly affect how REALTORS® do business, and CREA's advocacy team is vigilant to ensure that REALTORS®' interests are represented and considered by government. Once regulations are in place, CREA's legal team works to ensure that materials are available to REALTORS® to make compliance less burdensome.

Advocacy is one of CREA's most important activities.

Success in advocacy often has as much to do with what was prevented as with what was implemented.

Some of the issues on which CREA engages result in specific new programs or initiatives being introduced, and it's easy for REALTORS® to see those results. Just as often, however, success is measured by what doesn't happen – when a proposal that would harm the business of real estate is amended or stopped. CREA's advocacy team works hard in both areas.

More than 2-million Canadians have used the Home Buyers Plan to help make home ownership a reality.

The Home Buyers Plan is a marquee CREA achievement

In 1989, when interest rates were high and Canada was in a recession, REALTORS® first began lobbying for the creation of a temporary measure that would help boost the economy by making home ownership more affordable. Initially introduced as a temporary stimulus measure in 1992, The Home Buyer's Plan allowed first-time home buyers to withdraw money, without penalty, from their Registered Retirement Savings Plans to be used towards their down payment. The plan was made permanent in 1994, and more than two million Canadians have used it to help make their dream of home ownership come true.

CREA's lobbying efforts around the HBP have not stopped, however. Rising home prices eroded the relative value of the $20,000 that was originally the limit that could be withdrawn. CREA succeeded in having that raised to $25,000 in 2009 and today is proposing that the limit be indexed to inflation and that it be made available to Canadians who need to re-enter the housing market because of significant life changes such as job relocation, the death of a spouse or a marital breakdown.

Homebuyers' Road Map a unique collaboration between government and CREA

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada is an independent federal body that works to inform consumers about financial products and services. In a rare collaboration between a federal government agency and a trade association, the FCAC worked with CREA to produce the Homebuyers' Road Map, a public information toolkit to help home buyers make informed decisions and planning when choosing a home. Available from CREA in both electronic and printed formats, the Road Map is an indication of the respect with which CREA's efforts on behalf of consumers and REALTORS® is held.

CREA runs one of the best lobby days in Canada

Every year, CREA brings more than 300 REALTORS® to Parliament Hill in Ottawa for a three-day event known as its Political Action Committee Days. The REALTORS® meet with between 150 and 200 individual Members of Parliament to talk about issues that affect homeowners and the real estate industry. PAC Days are the central focus of CREA's advocacy efforts but their impact doesn't end when the REALTORS® leave Ottawa. They continue to be active at the local and regional level, making sure their local MPs are kept aware of major national issues and briefing their local Boards and Associations about what's happening in Ottawa.

REALTORS® are uniquely positioned when it comes to governmental efforts. As individuals, they are keenly involved in their communities, and this intimate knowledge of local conditions and trends is of immense interest to federal parliamentarians. At the same time, CREA represents a sector with 106,000 members across the country who are responsible for transactions that inject $23 billion into the economy every year. Together, CREA and its REALTOR® members are a potent voice that the federal government respects and listens to.

Together, CREA and its REALTOR® members are a potent voice that the federal government respects and listens to.