TORONTO — Despite lengthy and costly joint lobbying efforts by ACTA and CATO, the Ontario government does not intend to revise the current funding model for Ontario’s Compensation Fund.
The announcement, made in December, not only made no mention of proposed revisions to the Fund, but it also included more regulations for Ontario registrants, says ACTA. These include:
• Registration of individual travel agents linked to continuing education requirements
• Additional disclosure and advertising rules
• Additional compliance tools for TICO
According to Wendy Paradis, President of ACTA, there was some reference to reducing financial reporting requirements but details as yet are not clear. ACTA immediately reached out to the government directly for clarification, and to advise that the proposed regulations drafted under the previous government do not address its immediate concerns.
“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 Paradis. “This is inexcusable that after all our efforts advocating on this issue for years, along with the research that shows the funding model in unsustainable, that the government has ignored this input.”
She stressed that the recent announcement means more regulations, more TICO staff, and 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.”
According to Paradis, some ACTA members were forced to relocate their business out of the province while others are having to consider shutting down completely due to the regulatory cost of doing business in Ontario.
“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,” she added.
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 have been set.
ACTA is asking industry members to continue to write to their MPPs and the government, expressing the need for Compensation Fund reform. Letter templates can be obtained at acta.ca.
For more information on ACTA’s letter-writing campaign, go to https://www.travelweek.ca/news/acta-issues-call-for-help-from-all-ontario-agents-to-lobby-for-comp-fund-reform/.
To contact Paradis directly, email email@example.com or call (905) 282-9294 ext. 121.