TICO is advising all industry stakeholders that Bill 166, the Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, 2017, has passed Third Reading in the Ontario legislature.
According to officials, the amendments to the Travel Industry Act, 2002, will strengthen the consumer protection in Ontario for consumers purchasing travel services and reduce burden for the approximately 2,400 Ontario registered travel agents and travel wholesalers.
The changes include:
- Enabling the creation of new rules for representations, such as advertising, by out of province travel sellers who target Ontarians.
- Creating a registration requirement for individual travel salespersons.
- Lessening the burden on travel agents and travel wholesalers by creating a registration class of travel seller so that the businesses would no longer need to register as both a travel agent and travel wholesaler.
- Improving compliance with the rules by providing new enforcement tools, such as administrative penalties and compliance orders, including a new appeal mechanism to the License Appeal Tribunal for these new enforcement measures.
Further consultation by the Ontario Government with all stakeholders will be required for the development of changes to the supporting Regulation before the changes to the Travel Industry Act, 2002 take effect.
The consultation on proposed Regulation changes will include strengthening consumer protection by:
- Requiring registered travel sellers to disclose additional information to consumers so they can make informed choices.
- Requiring continuing education for travel salespersons.
- Lessening the burden on travel sellers, the majority of whom are small businesses, by updating requirements, such as financial reporting and security deposits.