ACTA expresses disappointment with TICO fee structure

Describing it as a “significant setback,” as well as a “significant fee increase,” ACTA is voicing its disappointment following the Travel Industry Council of Ontario’s (TICO) announcement of its new fee structure.

ACTA president, Wendy Paradis said: “This decision to increase fees while maintaining a registrant-paid model for the Compensation Fund is a significant setback for travel agencies and advisors. These changes impose an undue financial burden on our industry, particularly during a period of recovery and rebuilding.”

Paradis continued: “We have consistently advocated for a shift to a consumer-pay model for the Compensation Fund, seeking a minimized fee structure for our members.”

In fact, ACTA has persistently advocated with the Ontario government and TICO over the years, voicing the concerns of its members about the TICO funding formula.

Said Paradis: “Unfortunately, despite lengthy consultations with the Ontario government and TICO, our concerns have not been addressed, leading to this unfavourable outcome.”

ACTA’s president also noted that the association has “advocated for key items, including pausing any changes proposed by TICO until a thorough review of the Travel Industry Act is completed, as recommended by the Auditor General’s report.”

In a statement, ACTA emphasized the need to re-evaluate prior studies, assess the provincial government’s role in federally regulated sectors like airlines, expedite consultations, and rethink TICO’s core mandate and value to consumers.

The association has also advocated for simplifying the Travel Industry Act, focusing on core priorities that protect consumer funds and reduce burdens on Ontario registrants, particularly small travel businesses.

Paradis said: “ACTA’s stance has been clear: if the current, costly compensation fund system, which provides minimal benefit to consumers, is to continue, significant changes are necessary. Yet, despite advocating for a consumer “insurance” contribution model for enhanced protection, ACTA has been met with resistance to this change.”

ACTA also said that if substantial improvements to the Compensation Fund model are not forthcoming, it is urging the government to consider eliminating the fund or advocating for a national program funded by the beneficiaries — the travel consumers.

Paradis points out that: “The fee changes are likely to have detrimental effects on the travel industry. It places ACTA members at a competitive disadvantage in what is becoming a global marketplace– and adds an additional layer of financial strain.”

ACTA says that it will continue to advocate for the interests of its members with TICO and the Ontario government.

Said Paradis: “We are committed to engaging further with government officials and TICO to revisit and reconsider this decision, advocating for a more equitable approach.”