Time To Act On The Ontario Travel Act

Richard Vanderlubbe is well versed in the Ontario Travel Industry Act.

The founder and president of Hamilton-based has been a TICO board member for 20 years; he has been the chair of ACTA Ontario; and is currently a director for the national body of ACTA; and throughout it all, he’s been an active participant in most of the key issues that have impacted on the travel industry in both Ontario and Canada for more than two decades now.

So when Vanderlubbe calls the travel media together to talk about the Ontario Travel Industry Act and some of his concerns about it, you don’t turn down the invitation.

Yet it’s hard to know where to start.

Vanderlubbe’s presentation on the provincial travel act and the compensation fund was definitely extensive, covering:

  • The history of the Act and its evolution.
  • The potential impact of [future] large failures on the Compensation Fund.
  • The different interests or self-interests of the various stakeholders – industry, administration, government (at all levels), etc.
  • Concerns about Section 46 (‘acquiring rights’).
  • Claims paid out by the fund versus the costs of administering it between 1974 (when it came into effect) and 2019.
  • And questions that need to be asked (and answered) of all the stakeholders involved.

Clearly, he is concerned about the present situation, telling media in Toronto yesterday, that he stepped down from his TICO role early in order not to feel conflicted because he wanted to be able to lobby the government for changes and he wanted to be able to speak freely on the issues that he had concerns about when doing that.

His three-hour presentation to the trade media certainly covered a lot of ground, complete with a bevy of statistics that have led him to the belief that it is time to fix the provincial travel act so that it works and is fair for everyone involved – industry, government and consumers.

“Fix it or get rid of it,” Vanderlubble said yesterday, “the worst outcome is the status quo.”

As for what would replace it or how it could be fixed, the conversation turned to the User Pay Model that has been discussed many times by the industry.

In this respect, he pointed out that the current provincial government “has its toe in the water” because they want to reduce regulations.

And he admits that as a business person: “I want no rules, but that’s not realistic. It’s nice to have standards.” In fact, he praised TICO for the job that it has done cleaning up the industry over the years.

But he emphasized that: “If Ontario voters want this [the provincial travel act and compensation fund) then we should have it, but it should be user pay. I can go either way, just as long as it is fair.”

Right now, he said, the fact that the rest of the industry has to pay for the bankruptcies of their competitors or businesses that aren’t even TICO registrants and, as a result, don’t even contribute to the provincial compensation fund, well, that’s simply not fair.

And for those who want more, you might want to pick up the phone and give Vanderlubbe a call because he definitely has some good points to make in this discussion … and he certainly has lots of interesting statistics to back up the things that he is talking about … and he’s passionate about making this industry better … for everyone …

So stay tuned there will be more … lots more …