Angry ACTA Says Its Call For ON Compensation Fund Reform Is Being Ignored
Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw
Wendy Paradis, ACTA President
Despite lengthy and costly lobbying efforts by ACTA in coalition with CATO, it appears the Ontario government has no intention of revising the funding model for the Ontario Travel Industry Compensation Fund.
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).”
As well as hoping for a new funding model that would see consumers fill the coffers of the Compensation Fund, ACTA had also lobbied for relief from what it sees as onerous regulation on the retail travel industry.
“In fact,” says ACTA in a press release, “far from reducing the regulatory burden on Ontario registrants, the government is heaping on more regulations including:
Registration of individual travel agents linked to continuing education requirements
Additional disclosure and advertising rules
Additional compliance tools for the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) the industry regulator
“We have asked the Ministry for clarification on the points in the announcement. And 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,” said Wendy Paradis, President, ACTA.
“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.”
ACTA says it “immediately reached out to the government directly,” advising that the proposed regulations drafted under the previous government do not address the industry’s 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,” said 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 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 set.
ACTA is asking industry members to continue to pressure the government through a letter-writing campaign expressing the need for Compensation Fund reform to their MPPs and the government. Letter templates can be obtained online from the home page at acta.ca or by clicking here.
Anyone who would like more information or wants to get involved can contact:
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.