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TICO Reinstating Fees In 2023

Comprehensive Review Of Funding Model, Compensation Fund Being Launched

These are busy times for the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO).

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, TICO has worked diligently to support Ontario’s travel agencies and tour operators, while ensuring consumers continued to engage in a safe and fair travel marketplace.

Between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2023, all TICO annual registration renewal fees and Compensation Fund assessments owing during this period were waived. This was possible due to temporary funding from the Ontario government. This allowed registrants to focus on their priority business needs without the added financial stress of meeting certain payment obligations with TICO.

While many travel businesses continue to experience challenges associated with the pandemic, the market is seeing pent-up consumer demand translating into travel bookings.

In 2021, TICO conducted a fee review and industry consultation about a proposed funding approach that addressed only annual registration fees and other regulatory services. Much of the feedback we heard was that industry was looking for a review that also encompassed the Compensation Fund.

TICO made a commitment to revisit registrant fees in a comprehensive manner, and we are now following through on that promise. As the industry moves through the recovery process, there is an opportunity to revisit TICO’s future funding framework and fee model.

Fees Beginning on April 1, 2023

The funding provided by the Ontario government that allowed all registrant renewal fees and Compensation Fund assessments to be waived for three consecutive years by TICO will come to an end on March 31, 2023.

As of April 1, 2023, TICO will temporarily revert to the fee structure that was in place prior to the pandemic. This will be in effect until a comprehensive funding framework review, described below, is complete.

All registrants with a year-end or six-month period-end on or after January 1, 2023, will have fees owing starting on April 1, 2023.

Renewal fees

Sales Volume – Ontario Gross Sales

  • For $2,000,000 or less, the renewal fee is $300
  • For More than $2,000,000 but not more than $5,000,000, the renewal fee is $600
  • For More than $5,000,000 but not more than $10,000,000, the renewal fee is $900
  • For More than $10,000,000 but not more than $50,000,000, the renewal fee is $1,200
  • For Over $50,000,000, the renewal fee is $1,800
  • For Branch office(s), the renewal fee is $300 each

Compensation Fund Assessments

The retail rate remains at 25 cents per $1,000 of retail sales and the wholesale rate also remains at 25 cents per $1,000 of wholesale sales. For more information about Compensation Fund assessments, please click here.

Review Begins Now

TICO has hired Optimus SBR (Optimus), an Ontario-based full-service consulting firm, to lead an end-to-end review of TICO’s current funding framework, as well as a full review of the Compensation Fund.

In collaboration with TICO’s management, Optimus will consider all available options around an innovative funding model that meets the needs of consumer protection today and the future. Integral to this review is stakeholder input. Optimus will consider input from a selection of stakeholders as part of its engagement mandate.

Optimus will provide a recommended approach to TICO’s management for a future funding model that addresses both registrant fees and the Compensation Fund. This review is expected to be completed by the end of 2022, with a presentation of recommendations to TICO’s Board of Directors.

So, What’s next?

Following a review by the Board of Directors, and consistent with TICO’s Administrative Agreement with the Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery, recommendations will be provided to the Minister, detailing any proposed changes to the current funding framework and fee model.

Following the completion of the Minister’s review, TICO is committed to a comprehensive sector consultation with registrants and industry groups about any proposed changes. This is anticipated to take place in 2023.

How long will the process take?

Details and parameters of TICO’s funding framework and the Compensation Fund are included in the Travel Industry Act, 2002, Ontario Regulation 26/05 (General Regulation) under the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and the Safety and Consumer Statutes Administration Act, 1996.

Depending on the nature of the possible options that TICO submits to the government for consideration, the timelines to accept and implement any proposed changes to the fee model are variable.

Registrants would also require time to ready their businesses for any proposed changes.

As previously mentioned, as of April 1, 2023 and until this process is complete, TICO plans to revert to the funding model that was in place prior to the pandemic. TICO is committed to keeping registrants up to date throughout this process.

Feedback and input from registrants will be critical in shaping TICO’s future funding model in support of its consumer protection mandate.

You can email TICO at tico@tico.ca

 

Posted in Canada, COVID-19, News, Tour Operators, Travel Agents

 

 

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