Thank you for your interest in learning more about the Cornerstone Association of REALTORS® (Cornerstone), a brand-new, novel Association set to launch on July 1, 2024. It will become Ontario’s second-largest real estate association, comprised of nearly 9,000 REALTORS®.

Cornerstone continues to welcome open, transparent dialogue with other Boards that are curious about Cornerstone’s unique and responsive plans that will bring our vision to life.  We have designed Cornerstone to have a flexible foundation – an organization that transcends organized real estate’s traditional propositions, collaborations, and partnerships. Our work – and the conversations that precipitated that work – is nowhere near done in our minds. 

We don’t see the amalgamation on July 1st as the end state of Cornerstone. For this reason, we have adopted a new, flexible roadmap that permits an additional amalgamating Board to be part of the Cornerstone Inaugural Board of Directors once the four founding Boards amalgamate on July 1st.  We have also envisioned a role for committees to ensure local input and perspectives are heard.

We appreciate that one size does not fit all, and not all Boards want to amalgamate. We acknowledge this and remain receptive to other models of partnerships or collaboration. 

Cornerstone is proud to have listened to and adapted to the feedback we have heard the whole way along our journey. We want to be sure you know Cornerstone is living up to our commitment to collaborate differently, transparently, and openly, with a view to dramatically shifting the landscape and building a foundation that truly supports our REALTOR® members.

It’s no secret that Ontario Realtors® are unsatisfied with the status quo. We believe we can bring a unique value proposition and pave the way for our members’ brighter future.

If your board leadership is interested in having a presentation to learn more about participating in the next phase of Cornerstone, please reach out to me in confidence. 

Sincerely,
Carol Ann Burrell, CAE, CRAE
CEO of RAHB and Cornerstone’s Operational Lead


Frequently Asked Questions

Why Cornerstone? +

The four boards, large and small alike, are mindful of ongoing changes in the structure of organized real estate. The consolidation of MLS® Systems, amalgamations of boards and associations, the imbalance of influence among boards in Ontario, and the evolving relationships between Provincial and National associations, member boards, and REALTORS® are all factors impacting any one board’s ability to effect positive change for their REALTOR® members.

By taking a proactive stance toward the future and not being afraid to question some of the long-standing assumptions, we believe we can bring a unique value proposition and pave the way for our members’ brighter future.

The Cornerstone partners appreciate the value of having a more assertive and aligned voice for members. Through amalgamation, REALTORS® will benefit from enhanced services, increased coordination, greater value, and the capacity to tackle the bigger challenges, like data sharing. Quite simply, joining together will magnify, solidify, and unify our individual strengths.

What are Cornerstone’s building blocks? +

We have a Task Force empowered to collaborate and lead this initiative. Four Directors from each board were selected to serve on the Amalgamation Task Force, for a total of 16 task force members.

The Task Force is supported by CEOs, and key association staff – consultants tng Leaders and BLG, the law firm.

What will happen to MLS® Services, and does this mean Cornerstone will be part of ITSO? +

On February 29, 2024, we announced that Cornerstone and ITSO will collaborate to provide enhanced services to all of ITSO’s Member Associations. In simplest terms, rather than ITSO managing the MLS® System directly, Cornerstone will manage the day-to-day operations of the MLS® System.

ITSO and Cornerstone share the same vision for real estate in Ontario – strong professionalism and a robust MLS® System with high-quality and comprehensive data that enables REALTORS® to provide consumers with the information they need.

  • As province-wide data is essential to every Ontario REALTOR®, Cornerstone will collaborate with all boards toward this goal.
  • Matrix, which all four boards currently use, will continue to be used by Cornerstone. 

How will Cornerstone be governed? +

With the creation of the new entity, Cornerstone’s Board of Directors will be formed to model governance best practices.

The inaugural Board of Directors will include Directors from each of the four founding boards, who have already been elected by their respective Boards of Directors.

These inaugural Directors will serve a two-year term, and a nomination process will be developed that will allow the membership to elect new Directors once the Inaugural Board of Directors has completed its term of office.

Governance documentation, such as Policies, Practices, and Rules, will be developed and adopted following best practices.

If we join after July 1, will we have any spots on the Board? +

Our initial Board of Directors consists of four Directors from each of the four founding Boards. If an additional board joins Cornerstone, the plan is for the existing groups to reduce their numbers to accommodate the new partners.   

While representative boards are rarely as effective as a skills-based board, we also acknowledge that, by forming an inaugural Board of Directors made up of equal representatives from each partner, we are creating a constituency-based Board of Directors.

That said, be assured that we have baked good governance into the draft Bylaws, and the inaugural Board of Directors will enact nomination policies and election procedures that support the election of a competency-based Board rather than one predicated on geographical representation.

Has Cornerstone decided what it will do with its four locations? +

During the two-year transition period, we anticipate maintaining all office locations to function as local centres for REALTOR® excellence. Office usage and requirements will continue to be monitored and assessed to determine how best to serve members as needs and services evolve.

What about membership fees and core services? +

These are all being worked on. Along with reviewing membership dues, we are also examining the array of services currently provided by each board. The focus is to ensure that members do not lose access to the Member services they are currently using, such as e-signatures, Broker Bay, or ShowingTime. 

During the two-year transition period, Cornerstone will work towards identifying the services that best serve Members’ needs and ultimately determine the membership fees for Cornerstone going forward.

What about electronic lockboxes? +

Currently, Waterloo has a mandatory electronic lockbox program, but RAHB, Simcoe and Mississauga do not. For services like electronic lockboxes – where we don’t have alignment among the four boards – access to an electronic lockbox program will be maintained, but the use of electronic lockboxes will not be mandatory. Then, throughout the two-year transition, the Board of Directors of Cornerstone will review this service and work towards a new solution or harmonization.

Will amalgamating save money? +

Fortunately, the four Cornerstone boards are in solid financial positions, and saving money is not a motivating factor.

One of Cornerstone’s key objectives is to enhance the value provided to members. By uniting resources, the member experience will be elevated to a greater degree than what we can achieve individually.

While Cornerstone is committed to financial stewardship and recognizes that costs are an essential consideration, we also believe that enhancing services and value will help make members more competitive and valued by their clients.

How will we preserve the local presence? +

Our grassroots efforts in advocacy, as well as our relationships with local charities that extend deep within every one of the founding four board areas, will remain a priority. Over many years, every one of our boards has built meaningful connections with local stakeholders that have positioned REALTOR® as valued and respected members of our communities. These relationships, whether they be with the local chamber of commerce or local government, will remain vital as we move forward.

Why did you choose the name “Cornerstone Association of REALTORS®”? +

We intentionally wanted a name that did not refer to a particular geography. 

This new name reflects that our new entity will be foundational: a pillar of REALTOR® professionalism, an anchor for members, and it signals that we are turning a corner and moving forward with a strong and united strategy.