Lobbying on behalf of our REALTORS® is perhaps the single most important thing we do at CREA. Learn more on the art & science of how CREA influences public policy.

The world of federal government affairs in Ottawa can be a crowded and competitive playing field.

Industry trade associations represent the interests of their members in interactions with Members of Parliament and senior government officials. There are more than 5,100 registered lobbyists in Ottawa working on scores of different topics. CREA, for example, has 24 separate issues on which it regularly lobbies parliamentarians and officials. On just the top five issues on which those 5,100 lobbyists work, there were more than 4,600 individual interactions with the federal government this past year.

That's a lot of noise, and CREA works hard to make the voice of REALTORS® heard above it all.

Although CREA rarely competes with other trade associations in the sense of having a different objective or point of view on a given issue, your national trade association does compete with all those others for time and space on the agendas of federal lawmakers.

"We're competing for time and space with officials at the Department of Finance, officials at FINTRAC (the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada), officials in the Prime Minister's office and officials at Industry Canada," said Randall McCauley, who heads up the federal affairs practice at CREA. "These are big portfolios. These are ministers with lots of responsibilities, and we're competing for their attention, often over an extended period, so we can get a change to a piece of legislation, a change to a regulation, or a change to an interpretation of a guideline."

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"We're competing for time and space with officials at the Department of Finance, officials at FINTRAC (the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada), officials in the Prime Minister's office and officials at Industry Canada."

Randall McCauley

As the Vice-President of Government and Public Relations, Randall McCauley helps to shape the face of CREA and REALTORS® to the media, public, and government – what he deems of more of an "art than science." Randall has experience working on Parliament Hill with various senior officials including the Prime Minister. He also worked for a leading consulting firm and oversaw Canadian government relations for a pharmaceutical company.

The process can be glacial, usually measured in years, and a sharp contrast from the brisk pace of the real estate industry where transactions happen in a few weeks or even days. "Government is like an ocean liner," said McCauley. "It doesn't turn on a dime. Hopefully we can alter the course a little bit, but we can't just turn it around in a hurry."

The government's attention can be more readily attracted by other large segments of the economy, like the energy industry for which a western-oriented government has a natural affinity or the wireless telephone industry that wages high-profile public campaigns. Organized real estate, however, has a trump card that few others hold. "Just like members of Parliament, REALTORS®' names are on signs in every community across this country," McCauley said. "Being 107,000 strong and in every community across the country – that's our advantage."

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Network launched

Marshalling organized real estate's 107,000 community advocates into a powerful voice for REALTORS® is the objective of CREA's new REALTOR® Action Network. Launched at CREA's 2013 Political Action Committee (PAC) Days advocacy conference in Ottawa in April, the REALTOR® Action Network is the first of its kind in Canada.

The more REALTORS® who join the Action Network, the more effective it will be. Being a member of the Network enables you to:

Mitigate the outcome

of federal government decisions that impact your business and clients by being instantly connected with your Member of Parliament when you receive a Call to Action e-mail from CREA.

Get the inside track

on federal legislation and regulation that impacts your business. In doing so, put yourself in a better position to help your clients understand how they will be affected.

Provide input

into CREA's federal affairs program.

CREA successfully lobbies for changes to anti-spam legislation

One of the most important files that CREA's federal affairs program has been concentrating on over the past few years is anti-spam legislation intended to protect consumers and reduce unwanted email. While CREA fully supports the principle of the legislation, there were several parts of it that, had they come into law, would have seriously constrained how REALTORS® ordinarily conduct their business. Over the past four years, CREA has managed to secure nine separate changes to the legislation and regulations that reduce the burden of complying with the new law and preserve critical marketing practices used by REALTORS®.

CREA's efforts on the anti-spam file is a textbook example of how advocacy works at the federal level. It has been a long-term, ongoing process that has required our constant attention as the legislation worked its way through various stages of drafting, review, regulations, and, now, pending implementation. Our work won't stop even when the new law comes into effect, something that will occur on July 1, 2014. We will continue to monitor how the legislation is implemented and will work with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, which will be responsible for enforcing the law, to continue to safeguard the interests of our members. And we are working on compliance guidelines to make sure that our members understand their obligations under the new rules.

CREA works to reduce the regulatory burden of FINTRAC

It's an inescapable fact that real estate transactions involve the transfer of very large sums of money from the buyer to the seller, and so they are subject to scrutiny under international agreements that Canada has signed. This makes REALTORS® subject to the activities of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

The government is in the process of beefing up some of its anti-money laundering rules, especially in the area of customer due diligence, so that Canada more fully complies with its international commitments. The regulations will have an impact on REALTORS®. CREA wants to limit the amount of paperwork REALTORS® need to fill out to comply with the new rules and ultimately, help REALTORS® understand how to comply with the new rules and compliance audits.

As with the anti-spam legislation, CREA's work on FINTRAC is an example of how successful lobbying is a slow-paced consistent effort to blunt the negative impact of regulation that would otherwise place a much greater compliance burden on REALTORS®.


Canada's financial intelligence unit, whose mandate is to "facilitate the detection, prevention and deterrence of money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities, while ensuring the protection of personal information under our control."