Cliff Peskin
May 29, 2010

Why do Americans get services like Zillow’s Zestimate providing on the fly valuations of their homes but here in Ontario we get diddley-squat?

Probably, its because the Ontario government has bartered away our public housing data to the private company Teranet. The company now has a monopoly over the Ontario land registration system until 2017.

Furthermore, the provincial government is digging a deeper hole by writing laws enabling it and Teranet to continue the current setup for a lot longer. This means continued access restrictions, exorbitant fees and profiteering off what should be publicly available data.

Toronto real estate lawyer Bob Aaron writes, “The information in the land registration system belongs to the Ontario public. The policy issue here is who should be the gatekeeper to the information stored on Teranet computers. Almost 20 years after Teranet began to automate the land registry, the government comes along and introduces legislation which allows it to perpetuate the company’s monopoly without explanation, transparency or public scrutiny.”

I think the Ontario government should stop auctioning off our public data and give it free to who it belongs to – us the public. Then, one day, we may get some Ontario Zestimates.

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