The Association Of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) is “angry and disappointed” at the Ontario government for ignoring its lobbying efforts to revise the funding model for the Compensation Fund.
In a press release issued by ACTA on Monday (Jan 20), the association addressed its “lengthy and costly lobbying efforts” in coalition with The Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO), stating: “There is apparently no intention of revising the funding model for the Compensation Fund – and, in fact, far from reducing the regulatory burden on Ontario registrants, the government is heaping on more regulations.”
Those addition regulations, ACTA states, include:
- Registration of individual travel agents linked to continuing education requirements
- Additional disclosure and advertising rules
- Additional compliance tools for TICO
There is some reference to reducing financial reporting requirements, but “details as yet are not clear,” the press release states.
In December, the Ontario government advised ACTA and the industry of “the status of potential changes to the regulation under the Travel Industry Act, 2002 (TIA).”
"We are extremely disappointed"
Wendy Paradis, president at ACTA, stated that the association has asked the Ministry for clarification on the points in the announcement.
“…while ACTA has been heard on removing some of the financial and administrative burdens – we are extremely disappointed and in fact, angry, that there is no mention of introducing a consumer pay model such as the one in Quebec,” Paradis stated in the release. “This is inexcusable that after all our efforts advocating on this issue for years, along with the research that shows the funding model is unsustainable, that the government has ignored this input.”
Paradis added: “This announcement means more regulations, more TICO staff, more burden on an over - regulated industry. And worst of all, to pay for all of this additional red tape more money will need to be moved from the compensation fund to cover the costs of increased administration activities or —even worse, TICO registrant fees will need to be increased – since there is no apparent intention of addressing consumer contributions.”
Paradis noted that ACTA “immediately reached out to the government directly,” advising that the proposed regulations drafted under the previous government “do not address our immediate priority concerns and in fact adds more regulatory burden.”
“Some ACTA members have shared with us how they have had to move their business out of the province and others who are having to consider shutting down simply due to the regulatory cost of doing business in this Province,” stated Paradis. “We must reduce this burden now, as what is being proposed will result in more travel agencies either moving to other provinces, or shutting their doors.”
The Ontario government indicated it will hold consultations in 2020, but to date, no information on the new proposed regulations have been provided and no consultation dates has been set as yet, ACTA claims.
In response, ACTA is asking industry members to continue to keep up pressure on the Ontario government in a letter writing campaign and to express the need for Compensation Fund reform to their MPPs and the government.
ACTA is urging anyone who would like more information or wants to get involved to contact Wendy Paradis at email@example.com or Heather Craig-Peddie, vice president of advocacy and industry relations at ACTA, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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