We Have Been Heard

The agency community is celebrating today following the announcement that the financial relief package agreed to by the federal government and Air Canada protects travel agency commissions.

“Our messages have been heard,” was the reaction of ACTA president, Wendy Paradis as details of the agreement were announced.

Said Paradis: “We are very pleased that the government has heard our messages loud and clear about commission recalls — and that it has recognized the integral and important role that travel agents play in the industry.”

The federal government’s massive relief package for Air Canada includes customer refunds, job protection, executive pay limits, an equity position in the airline and loans.

Paradis continued: “We were also very pleased to learn in a conversation with the Ministry of Transport, that commissions will be protected on both flights and tour packages.”

For the past several months, ACTA has been working very closely with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport teams to ensure travel agents and travel agencies were included in any airline relief package.

Paradis noted that: “We have also had very positive meetings with our partners at Air Canada.”

ACTA’s president also advised that there are more details to come – including the status of commissions already recalled – but that the April 12 announcement was “very encouraging.”

Said Paradis: “We want to thank the government for recognizing the devastating effect recalling commissions would have had on travel agents,” said Paradis. “And we want to thank all in the travel agency community who have been tirelessly lobbying for this outcome.”

Reaction from ACITA

Officials of the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors (ACITA) were also in a jubilant mood.

In a statement, the association indicated that: “This afternoon we received a call from the Minister of Transport’s office to let us know that there would be a press conference this evening regarding talks with Air Canada, and to let us know that our request for commission protection was going to be met.”

ACITA’s statement continued: “The press conference was the culmination of 10 months of ACITA’s advocacy, meeting with over 200 Members of Parliament, Members of the Senate and Policy Advisors.”

And the statement added: “We are over the moon that the Hon. Chrystia Freeland mentioned that the protection of Travel Advisor’s commissions was a significant piece of the deal.”

ACITA also noted that it has been advised that the agreement with Air Canada “also includes commission protection from Air Canada Vacations.”

The association concludes: “We would like to thank every single person that made a call, wrote an email listened to our story and made this happen.”