Listening and Learning: CREA Reflects on Black Lives Matter

The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, 2020 has sparked international protests in solidarity with the African American community and condemnation of recurring police brutality against Black people in the United States.

But as much as we want to believe racial discrimination is a U.S. problem, it’s a problem for all of us – Canadians, too.

Over the past weeks, we have reached out to some of our Black members, and they have reached out to us.

Their candour and courage in publicly speaking to their personal experiences is greatly appreciated, and we hope it will help their colleagues in the REALTOR® community better understand why change is needed.

“As the national association for REALTORS®, it is imperative that we acknowledge the dehumanizing prejudice that impacts our Black members and clients,” said CREA CEO Michael Bourque. “Canada must address its own racism, and significant steps to address it by all facets of society are long overdue.”

CREA Chair Costa Poulopoulos agrees silence is no longer an option.

“The Canadian Real Estate Association and more than 130,000 REALTOR® members across the country stand in solidarity with the Black community across North America,” Poulopoulos said. “We must speak up to ensure systemic racism no longer goes unchallenged.”

This is our stance. But what can we do about it?

For starters, we can listen, and we can learn.

Below is an excerpt from a recent CREA Café article that showcases some of the challenges some of our Black members have faced and, unfortunately, continue to face on a regular basis. The article, REALTORS® reflect on Black Lives Matter, racism in Canada, can be read in its entirety here.

Regina REALTOR® and broker Tim Otitoju also believes training is a helpful tool that could address ingrained racial prejudices. “Racism is not nature, it is nurture. Three months ago, someone cut me off in traffic, nearly causing an accident. The driver promptly rolled down the window and shouted that I should go back to my country, this is his country, using vulgar language, including the N-word. The most disheartening element of that exchange was to see that he had young children in the back seat who were witnessing their father, their role model, behaving this way.”

“Our industry is seeing growing diversity amidst the clientele, but also among REALTORS®. Education would enable us to take stock of subconscious racial bias, address it, and better understand the challenges our clients are facing in our day-to-day business.”

To learn more about Black Lives Matter, visit