The Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) made its case for the need to reform the Ontario Travel Industry Compensation Fund during consultations on Bill 159: “Rebuilding Protection for Consumers Act” this week.
In a presentation to a group of two dozen MPPs and Ministry officials, CATO chair, Brett Walker offered a concise argument of why changes are needed and what those changes should be.
During his presentation, Walker made the following points:
- CATO’s position is that there can be no rebuilding of consumer confidence without a properly funded Compensation Fund which a Deloitte study called for a target of $40M to $60M
- This requires a different funding model such as the consumer pay model in Quebec
- The results would produce complete consumer protection with no per person caps or event payout limits
- It would also provide ample funding for TICO
- A minimal fee would also provide greater awareness by consumers of the existence of a compensation fund and the protection afforded them by booking with an Ontario registered travel seller.
- Funding reform would result in reduced costs and burden on the Ontario travel industry
- A robust fund would make Ontario registrants more competitive in a global and digital marketplace
Both government and opposition members used all of their allotted time with questions which were focused principally on Quebec’s successful funding model.
The Quebec fund currently stands at some $150 million, providing outstanding protection for Quebec consumers and substantial marketing advantages to Quebec travel businesses. In fact, given the health of their fund, Quebec has suspended contributions for now.
CATO, along with ACTA, will be further pressing its case in a meeting with the Ontario Minister of Government and Consumer Services, Lisa Thompson, on Jan. 28.
For more, go to www.cato.ca