ACTA calls for support, donations at critical time for Comp Fund

TORONTO — This is a critical time for the Canadian travel industry and for Ontario in particular, as industry groups including ACTA work to lobby the provincial government on important changes needed for the Travel Industry Act and the Compensation Fund.

At ACTA’s Travel Agency Leadership Summit, ACTA President Wendy Paradis said the goal is two-fold. “Number one, the Comp Fund needs to move to a consumer-funded model. And two, we need to move from audited financial statements to more affordable and easier methods of reporting.”

With the current model, especially with the Comp Fund, the financial obligations on Ontario retailers are onerous. “We have some agencies paying tens of thousands of dollars. Some are paying over $100,000.”

The consumer-funded model, like that in Quebec, has long been touted as the way forward for the Fund.

The issue gained new momentum earlier this month when Richard Vanderlubbe, President of and a member of TICO’s board from 2001-2006 and again from 2009-2019, delivered a dire warning: “The industry has to wake up, otherwise nothing’s going to change until there’s a disaster.”

Vanderlubbe was on hand at yesterday’s summit. “I’ve become a real loudmouth about this issue lately,” he joked to the crowd. “I’ve been selling travel for more than 30 years and it’s just been hitting roadblock after roadblock” with the government, he said. “We’ve gone through 33 ministers since the Travel Industry Act was proclaimed. We can’t seem to get any traction.”

Vanderlubbe added: “It’s not us versus TICO. TICO enforces the regulations, they don’t change the regulations.” TICO is in favour of a consumer-funded model as well.

“We need money” to help support ACTA’s lobbying efforts, he said. “We need large amounts of money from the big guys, and small amounts from the little guys. I’ve donated $1,000 over and above my fees. Let’s see what we can do on this.”

Paradis said ACTA’s lobbyists are going to be back in with the provincial government in December. Retailers can link to a template letter at ACTA’s site, however it’s best if they write their own letter, because all the template letters get bundled together as one when presented to the government as proof of the industry’s support.

She added: “It’s critical that they’re inundated with your letters. Your voice is vital. We need to let the government know that we’re the most expensive province to run a travel agency in Canada.”

More details about the letter writing campaign (with letters due by Nov. 29) and donation links are at ACTA’s website, found here.

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