Ontario Bill Impacting Travel Industry Act Moves Forward
Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw
Bill 166, the Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, 2017 has passed Third Reading in the Ontario legislature.
Industry regulator TICO says amendments to the Travel Industry Act, 2002, will strengthen 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 agents and 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.
TICO says further consultation by the Ontario Government with all stakeholders will be required for the development of changes to 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; and
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.
TICO says that in the coming months it will proactively communicate and seek out opportunities to engage stakeholders to contribute and provide feedback on proposed regulatory changes towards modernizing Ontario’s consumer protection legislation.
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.