ACTA Welcomes News That Quebec & TICO Has Introduced Aid For Travel Agencies
Mark Stachiew, Open Jaw
Ontario and Quebec recently introduced new aid and relief measures for travel agencies and while ACTA applauds the measures, the organization says more needs to be done in British Columbia, which has yet to act on the association’s requests.
Quebec Travel Agencies Now Eligible For Loans
Travel agencies in Quebec are now eligible for the provincial government's Temporary Action Program for Businesses (PACTE) assistance program for Small and Medium business. Nearly 600 Quebec travel agencies can benefit from the program, according to ACTA.
The association says it is continuing to lobby the Quebec government for a one-time payment of $7,000 for each retail travel business, in line with what it has been paying other Quebec businesses.
ACTA is also asking the Office de la Protection de Consommateur (OPC), the Quebec Ministries of Justice and the Economy as well as the Premier’s office to waive all OPC fees for 2020 and 2021 and formally allow the issuance of Future Travel Vouchers (FTV) and the coverage of FTV claims against the Quebec consumer compensation Fund.
ACTA has called on the OPC and the Quebec government to look at other options, including reducing the amount of the Bond and the length of time to five years, and replacing costly review engagements with a verification statement for travel agencies with gross sales under $2 million, which would align Quebec with TICO.
ACTA Applauds TICO Measures To Reduce Financial Burden On Agencies
TICO on 01DEC announced amendments to the General Regulation under the Travel Industry Act, 2002, reducing the financial burden on travel agencies. ACTA says it "welcomes" the new measures, which include:
Two-year exemption on filing annual financial statements accompanied by a review engagement report or audit opinion.
Extending the temporary provisions for registrants who acquire the rights to travel services for resale to choose to provide a voucher (31MAR, 2022), and customers eligibility for reimbursement from the Fund for unredeemed vouchers or similar documents (31MAR, 2024).
Eliminating the requirement for a registrant to repay commissions and other remuneration received to TICO.
While Consumer Protection BC has deferred a full review due this year as well as the annual increases in fees, provincial authorities have yet to commit to additional relief measures for which ACTA has been lobbying, which include:
the waiver of all Consumer Protection BC fees for 2020 AND 2021.
removing the minimum Working Capital requirement and instead allow travel businesses to only require positive Working Capital
reduce the security deposit by 75 per cent on a temporary basis. "This would free up capital for travel businesses who are still experiencing a 90-100 per cent decline in revenue," ACTA says.