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As of Jan. 1, 2014, “CREA will remove all properties from Greater Montreal Real Estate Board members from, but they will remain on,” a spokeswoman for the Montreal board said by e-mail. is a rival home listings website created by the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards in 2010, and includes only listings from agents within the province.

The Canadian Real Estate Association, a national industry group that owns the MLS, has more than 100,000 agents, brokers and salespeople in its membership who work through about 100 separate real estate boards and associations.

Diane Ménard, vice-president of the Montreal board, said in a press release that its decision is confirmation of “a rejection of the status quo.” The local board has had disagreements with CREA over a number of issues, including its code of ethics (Montreal argues that Quebec already has the most highly regulated agents and that CREA’s code adds confusion) and its new data distribution facility that allows agents to advertise their listings on each other’s websites. It also cites “the promotion of properties by out-of-province brokers who are not governed by Quebec’s Real Estate Brokerage Act, which puts consumers at risk.”

Pierre Leduc, a spokesman for CREA, called the Montreal decision unfortunate.

“Clearly almost half the members who voted want to remain in CREA, with access to the number one real estate site in Canada,,” he said in an e-mail. “Members who wish to remain in CREA have a number of options, including joining some of the remaining Quebec boards. In addition we understand some members are working to create a new real estate board in Montreal with full CREA membership,” he said in an e-mail.

CREA puts out national home sales statistics each month using information it garners from local boards. Mr. Leduc said the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards provides CREA with data for all real estate boards in Quebec. “We’re speaking with them to determine how to proceed in 2014,“ he said.

Ms. Ménard said that the federation will continue to provide CREA with data about the Montreal market.

There have been some unrelated questions about CREA’s data of late. In a research note on Monday, Bank of Nova Scotia economists again voiced skepticism, saying “this is a new data set that tries to seasonally adjust national sales volumes, and while it provides insight into what is happening nationally, our general preference is to put the emphasis on the city-by-city data which are older and more established data sets.”


The holiday surprise was a neat marketing trick for WestJet as well: It racked up a million views on YouTube in just one day.

The video cost much less to produce than a typical TV spot, according to WestJet – though the company wouldn’t comment on the precise cost, referring only to “Santa” and “miracles.” Eighteen cameras were hidden at Calgary’s airport, in addition to the video screens for live Santa interaction. WestJet paid for ads on Facebook and Twitter, pointing viewers to the video, and made a public relations push. Still, the ability to reach a million people in a single day without paying the premium that television airtime demands would be attractive for any marketer.

The payoff in this type of marketing comes from people sharing it with their friends.

“In a social media environment, the sharing of it almost becomes the point itself: ‘Look what this company did, I find it engaging, I want to tell you about it,’” said Richard Bartrem, WestJet’s vice-president of communications and community relations. “It goes exponentially from there. It’s very alluring to marketers to say how can I engage in that?”

In a new instalment this month of its quarterly study of online Canadians, Toronto-based Solutions Research Group found that 30 per cent of us have shared a video or TV ad within the last month, such as posting it on social media websites, or sending it to someone by e-mail. That activity is much higher with a younger demographic: among Canadians aged 12 to 34, the study found that 44 per cent shared a video, compared with less than a fifth of those over the age of 50.

“The younger demos just look at a piece of video and if it’s cool social currency, they’ll share it, irrespective whether it’s promoting a company or service or product, or not,” Solutions Research Group president Kaan Yigit said.

One of the easiest ways to make that connection, marketers are discovering, is through emotional storytelling. Viewers respond to human, emotion-driven stories, Mr. Bartrem said, and it helps to drive them to share those stories with others.

The artificial snow falling in baggage claim in Calgary and the swelling music may be transparent emotional manipulation, but in this case at least, tugging on the holiday heartstrings seems to have paid off.