ACTA is angry that in the proposed changes to the Ontario Travel Industry Act rules, there is no indication that there will be revisions to the funding model for the provincial compensation fund.
The association reports that in December, the Ontario government advised ACTA and the industry of “the status of potential changes to the regulation under the Travel Industry Act, 2002 (TIA).”
Yet despite lengthy and costly lobbying efforts by ACTA in a coalition with CATO, there is apparently no intention of revising the funding model for the Compensation Fund — and, in fact, far from reducing the regulatory burden on Ontario registrants, the government is heaping on more regulations including:
- Registration of individual travel agents linked to continuing education requirements
- Additional disclosure and advertising rules
- Additional compliance tools for TICO
ACTA notes as well that there is some reference to reducing financial reporting requirements but details as yet are not clear.
Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA, said: “We have asked the Ministry for clarification on the points in the announcement. And while ACTA has been heard on removing some of the financial and administrative burdens — we are extremely disappointed and in fact, angry, that there is no mention of introducing a consumer pay model such as the one in Quebec.”
And Paradis continued: “This is inexcusable that after all our efforts advocating on this issue for years, along with the research that shows the funding model is unsustainable, that the government has ignored this input.”
ACTA’s president said that: “This announcement means more regulations, more TICO staff, more burden on an over – regulated industry. And worst of all, to pay for all of this additional red tape more money will need to be moved from the compensation fund to cover the costs of increased administration activities or — even worse, TICO registrant fees will need to be increased — since there is no apparent intention of addressing consumer contributions.”
In response, Paradis said that: “ACTA immediately reached out to the government directly advising that the proposed regulations drafted under the previous government do not address our immediate priority concerns and in fact adds more regulatory burden.”
She said, as well, that: “Some ACTA members have shared with us how they have had to move their business out of the province and others who are having to consider shutting down simply due to the regulatory cost of doing business in this Province.”
And Paradis stated that: “We must reduce this burden now, as what is being proposed will result in more travel agencies either moving to other provinces or shutting their doors.”
ACTA notes that the government indicated it will hold consultations in 2020, but to date, no information on the new proposed regulations have been provided and no consultation dates has been set as yet.
The association is calling on agents to keep up letter writing campaign and it is also asking industry members to continue to keep up pressure on the government in a letter writing campaign expressing the need for Compensation Fund reform to their MPPs and the government.
Letter templates can be obtained online from the ACTA home page at www.acta.ca .
And you can also contact ACTA president, Wendy Paradis at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 905-282-9294 ext. 121; or ACTA vice-president of advocacy and industry relations, Heather Craig-Peddie at email@example.com or phone at 905-282-9294 ext. 122.