TICO Offers Update On Funding Review

In September 2022, TICO launched the largest review of its funding framework and fee structure since inception.

This comprehensive review includes TICO’s current funding framework, as well as a full review of the Compensation Fund and associated contributions. This review is being led by Optimus SBR, an Ontario-based consulting firm.

TICO remains committed to considering all available options for a modernized funding framework that meets the needs of consumer protection today and into the future.

The travel industry’s input into this review is integral for a successful outcome.

Since September, TICO  advised that the focus of this review by Optimus SBR has been to examine the current funding framework and Compensation Fund, including feedback from a broad range of stakeholders.

Activities have included:

Stakeholder engagement to obtain input on the strengths, challenges, gaps and constraints of the current funding framework and the Compensation Fund. Feedback was obtained via:

  • Sessions with retailers with various business models, tour operators, host agencies, independent travel advisors, consolidators
  • Sessions with travel associations û Association of Canadian Travel Agencies, Canadian Association of Tour Operators, Ontario Motor Coach Association
  • Online feedback survey that was open to all registrants
  • Third-party survey of 850 Ontario consumers
  • Sessions with TICO’s leadership, Board of Directors and Consumer & Industry Advisory Committee (CIAC) members.

A comparator scan to understand practices and approaches taken by comparable travel regulatory bodies. The jurisdictions covered by the scan included:

  • Quebec (Office de la Protection du Consommateur and the Compensation Fund for Customers of Travel Agents)
  • British Columbia (Consumer Protection BC and the Travel Assurance Fund)
  • California (State of California Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation)
  • The United Kingdom (Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Travel Organisers License scheme)
  • Australia (abolishment of the Travel Compensation Fund).

As for what’s next, TICO said that the focus of the review has now turned from assessing the current framework to forming recommendations for a future approach for the funding framework and Compensation Fund.

TICO is open to all options, balancing industry input with regulatory responsibilities and consumer protection.

Any recommended future funding framework will be presented to all registrants and stakeholders for consultation. This consultation is expected to take place later this year.

Project timelines are as follows:

Spring 2023 — Consultant to present recommendations to TICOÆs management and Board of Directors

Summer/Fall 2023 — TICO to conduct comprehensive consultation/fee review with registrants and stakeholders on new funding framework

Fall 2023 –Final recommendations provided to the Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery

Late Fall 2023 — Announce next steps regarding the framework and timing/transition for a new, modernized funding framework

For more, go to www.tico.ca