Doug Ford’s real estate agent could be in trouble over publicity

Written by
Penelope Graham

Earlier this week, a real estate agent hired to sell Prime Minister Doug Ford’s family home took the not-so-subtle step of blasting his well-known clients, handing out marketing materials featuring photos of their home, the name of his street and a name unrelated to the image of Ford and his wife, Karla, signing documents.

“Ontario is on the move! We HAVE JUST LISTED Prime Minister Doug Ford’s home at Princess Anne Manor,” reads the flyer, which has since gone viral on social media. A second version of the advert – allegedly sent via email marketing – shows the agent, Monica Thapar, pictured wearing a cartoon shirt with ‘Agent to the Premier’ detailed across the chest, while holding a sheet maple in his fist.

Ford’s team has since asked Thapar to stop using the Prime Minister’s likeness and address in its advertisements; his office confirmed to STOREYS that “the Prime Minister did not authorize the listing and asked the estate agent to remove it immediately”.

The whole debacle may have underscored precisely what not do as an agent with a high profile client. While it’s unclear if Thapar’s services are still being retained by Ford (we’d assume not), her actions could potentially land her in hot water with the province’s real estate regulator.

“RECO, the Real Estate Council of Ontario, is ultimately the regulator, and it would be their responsibility to determine any breaches of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA 2002) or the trust in real estate services (TRESA),” Kevin Crigger, chair of the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, told STOREYS.

“Generally speaking, as someone who has had the privilege of representing a number of clients, many of them high profile, in business, politics or sport, our goal is usually to separate the client of the property and really ensure their confidentiality in the transaction.

He adds that “discretion is truly the hallmark of our business”, and that it is part of an agent’s obligation to find ways to effectively market a property while observing any significant privacy issues, going as far as to remove items of property and photographs that could potentially disclose the identity of a guest against their wishes.

“Consent is a key part of our relationship and protecting consumer privacy throughout what is, in many cases, an incredibly personal and sometimes stressful transaction. [It] certainly speaks to best practices,” says Crigger.

Article 36 of the REBBA 2002 and regulations, code of ethics (concerning advertising), states:

A registrant must not include anything in an advertisement that could reasonably be used to identify a party to the acquisition or disposition of an interest in real property unless the party has consented thereto in writing.


A registrant must not include anything in a listing that could reasonably be used to identify a specific property unless the owner of the property has consented in writing.

In this particular case, whether or not the agent is sanctioned depends on whether his clients push the case with the regulator; in an email response to STOREYS, RECO said: “Consent must be obtained before submitting sensitive or otherwise unauthorized information on an ad. Use of someone else’s name, images, or other intellectual property requires written permission.

Written by
Penelope Graham

Penelope Graham is the editor of STOREYS. She has over a decade of experience in real estate, mortgages and personal finance. His commentary on the housing market is featured frequently in national and local media, including BNN Bloomberg, CBC, The Toronto Star, National Post and The Globe and Mail.

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