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In today's Morning Brief, a CBC Marketplace investigation has found that some real estate agents are breaking the law by steering unwitting buyers away from low-commission homes.

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Real estate agents caught on hidden camera breaking the law, steering buyers from low-commission homes

A CBC Marketplace investigation has found that some real estate agents are breaking the law by steering unwitting buyers away from low-commission homes. 

Posing as homebuyers and sellers, Marketplace tested if real estate agents are engaging in this anti-competitive behaviour and found some agents deceiving the very buyers they are supposed to represent, in an effort to pad their own bottom line.

Experts and industry insiders say what Marketplace has uncovered is indicative of an industry working for the benefit of real estate agents, at a cost to home sellers and buyers.

"There's a huge inertia, and maintaining the status quo, it absolutely benefits existing realtors 100 per cent," said broker and real estate agent Michael Walsh, one of the few speaking out on this issue.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) would not talk to Marketplace about the investigation. However, shortly after learning about the findings, RECO issued a notice about steering to the over 93,000 real estate agents, brokers and brokerages under its purview, noting that such behaviour breaches their code of ethics.

"In addition to being illegal, the conduct undermines consumer protection, consumer confidence and the reputation of the real estate profession as a whole," said the notice.

WATCH | Real estate agents found 'steering' on camera: 

Hidden cameras show real estate agents steering buyers away from low-commission homes

2 months ago

Across the country, the National Realtor Code of Ethics, as well as provincial real estate laws, dictate that agents must act with honesty and promote the interests of the individual they represent. Some provincial laws, including in Alberta and Ontario, address the issue of steering specifically.

The Real Estate Brokers Act (REBBA) in Ontario states that when a buyer enters a representation agreement with a real estate agent, the agent "...shall inform the buyer of properties that meet the buyer's criteria without having any regard to the amount of remuneration, if any, to which the brokerage might be entitled." 

Not doing so is called steering.

But those calling the practice out say RECO and other regulatory bodies are not doing enough to protect consumers and foster an industry that is fair and free from abuse. Read more on this story here.

Lead with your head

(Andre Penner/The Associated Press)

Brazil's Alex Sandro heads the ball during a qualifying soccer match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 against Uruguay in Manaus, Brazil, on Thursday. The Brazilians won the game 4-1.

In brief

As the U.K. gets ready to host this year's COP26 climate summit  in Glasgow, Scotland, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on world leaders to "recognize the scale of the challenge we face" on climate issues. This past summer, much of the Northern Hemisphere was battered by a succession of record-breaking natural disasters, from severe heat waves in North America to deadly flooding in parts of western Europe, India and China to uncontrollable wildfires in the Mediterranean. The latest report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the Earth was heating faster than previously thought, calling it "code red for humanity." So what exactly are world leaders hoping to achieve at COP26? Read the story here from CBC London reporter Tesa Arcilla.

WATCH | Greta Thunberg and other climate activists voices their concern about the speed of action: 

Inaction and inequity key concerns ahead of COP26 climate summit

2 months ago

Ontario's vaccine verification app for businesses, Verify Ontario, appears to be ready for download ahead of schedule, rolling out on the Google and Apple app stores Thursday afternoon. According to its description, the app gives businesses and organizations the ability to scan the QR codes on province-issued vaccine certificates. After the code is scanned, a green checkmark will appear indicating a valid vaccine certificate, a red X for an invalid certificate or a yellow warning for a QR that cannot be read. "To ensure the app was available to businesses and organizations in real time tomorrow, the verification app was added to app stores today," said Premier Doug Ford's press secretary Ivana Yelich. The province has said it would release an enhanced vaccine certificate for members of the public by Oct. 22, giving people a "safer, more secure and convenient" way to demonstrate that they've been vaccinated, according to the province. Read more on the launch of the app.

The first shipment of potable water for Iqaluit residents arrived by plane Thursday after tap water in the Nunavut capital was deemed undrinkable and potentially tainted with petroleum. The city has ordered 80,000 litres of water, and four-litre jugs were being handed out in the community of about 8,000 people. The city said in a release that residents will be given a maximum of four jugs per household and is urging people to keep them for future use. The city on Tuesday told residents not to drink the tap water, after a fuel smell was detected at the treatment plant, and later declared a local state of emergency. Read more on Iqaluit's water issue here.

WATCH | Iqualit's water contamination leads to state of emergency: 

Iqaluit water contamination leads to state of emergency

2 months ago

The last few weeks should have been among the happiest of Safia's life. She was supposed to be a new bride by now, on her way to a new life. Instead, the collapse of Afghanistan and the internment in Tajikistan of her fiancé, a former Afghan Air Force pilot, have turned her dream into an ongoing nightmare. A Canadian citizen of Afghan origin, Safia told her story to CBC News on the condition that she be identified only by a pseudonym in order to protect her relatives and those of her fiancé, who are still trapped in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. She had planned to sponsor him to become a Canadian citizen after his military service was completed. Instead, she spent August watching in horror as the western-backed government of former president Ashraf Ghani dissolved and the hardline Islamist Taliban returned to power. "I was terrified," she said, describing the day Kabul fell. "I kept messaging that day back and forth and calling." Read Safia's story here.

For months now, a legislative proposal inching its way through the U.S. Congress has been stoking consternation across the border. Canadian policy-makers and businesses have been warily eyeing Buy American proposals designed to shift auto production to the U.S. At issue are two trillion-dollar bills currently before Congress that form the heart of President Joe Biden's domestic agenda. The next few weeks could decide whether they pass. One is a bipartisan infrastructure bill that's already passed the Senate. It's loaded with Buy American provisions. The other bill has more specific implications for the auto sector. It's the sprawling budget legislation intended to advance numerous Biden priorities on climate change, health care, daycare, parental leave and possibly immigration. In that bill, Democrats plan to offer $12,500 US in tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles. Parts of those credits would be reserved for cars assembled in the U.S. Read the full story from CBC Washington correspondent Alexander Panetta.

WATCH: Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland discusses 'Buy American': 

Freeland on Buy America

2 months ago


Now for some good news to start your Friday: Legendary Inuk bush pilot Johnny May Sr. crossed a flying milestone few pilots achieve in their careers, having recently surpassed 40,000 hours of flight time. And the 76-year-old from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, in northern Quebec, has no plans of stopping yet. "Just keep on flying as long as I'm able to because I enjoy it a lot," he said. May, who has been flying for 59 years, is best known as the first Inuk pilot from the eastern Arctic. Over the years, May has medevaced many people between Inuit villages and to hospitals farther south, and he's also flown search-and-rescue missions. He's been credited with saving many lives. Read more about May here.

Front Burner: The KGB and Chrystia Freeland

Simon Miles, a diplomatic historian at Duke University who studies the Cold War, was poring through archives that were once the top-secret materials of the KGB — the Soviet Union's secret police — when he stumbled on something unexpected. It was a brief about an exchange student in Ukraine that sounded a whole lot like Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Today, how the KGB's unearthed journals shed new light on an early chapter of Freeland's life, and the window they give us into the dying days of the Soviet Union.

Today in history: October 15

1954: Hurricane Hazel roars into central and eastern Canada, killing 81 people in the Toronto area alone. The hurricane hit Ontario hardest, causing more than $24 million in damage during its two-day rampage.

1962: Hamilton Tiger-Cats' quarterback Joe Zuger sets a CFL record with eight touchdown passes in a game against the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders.

1990: The pillar of South Africa's apartheid system is scrapped as the white government repeals the Separate Amenities Act, which had legalized the racial segregation of public premises, vehicles and services. Three years later, President F.W. de Klerk  and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela win the Nobel Peace Prize.

2015: Former Canadian diplomat Ken Taylor, who became a hero for helping shelter six U.S. citizens at the height of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, dies after a battle with cancer. He was 81.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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