MISSISSAUGA — TICO’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) this year held extra significance as it marked the organization’s 25th anniversary.
Held virtually on June 28, the AGM highlighted TICO’s key achievements not only from the previous fiscal year, but also throughout its 25-year history of providing consumer protection to Ontario’s travellers.
Touching on this year’s key theme of resiliency, Richard Smart, TICO’s President and CEO, said: “While the entire travel ecosystem is shifting and re-inventing itself, an expectation for a fair and balanced consumer protection framework remains vital. The Ontario travel marketplace is resilient and will continue to grow. It is important for consumers and business to experience a fair, informed and balanced market, within a regulatory environment, where businesses thrive and consumers are protected.”
Updates from Smart and Michael Levinson, TICO’s Chair, focused on three key topics:
- 25 years of consumer protection: TICO began its operations in June 1997. Since then, it has supported consumer protection for travellers by promoting a fair, safe and informed travel marketplace. Over the past 25 years, TICO has:
- Answered 115,656 consumer enquiries via emails, phone calls and walk-ins
- Closed 6,594 written consumer complaints
- Facilitated $4,962,172 in restitution between registrants and consumers
- Paid $14,880,349 from the Compensation Fund to assist 24,037 consumers
- Repatriated 4,266 consumers stranded in destination
- Conducted 46,155 bench reviews of registrants’ financial records, along with 11,105 site inspections
- Issued 2,675 warnings to unregistered operators
- Adjusting to the ‘new normal’: TICO acknowledged how the COVID-19 pandemic has been an exceptionally challenging time for Ontario’s travel agencies, websites and tour operators. While consumer confidence has increased in recent months, TICO is mindful of the current economic environment and its impact on registrants.
- Commitment to a fair funding model: Since the beginning of the pandemic, TICO registrants have had their registration fees and Compensation Fun contributions waived, thanks to funding provided to TICO by the Ontario government. TICO held consultations last fall about a future funding framework; it heard from the industry that the proposed approach needed to be reconsidered. TICO has committed to further industry consultation to develop a fair funding model that reflects the principles of cost recovery, that delivers value to stakeholders, and that is consistent with the laws of Ontario.
The AGM also provided an opportunity to announce TICO’s Board of Directors for fiscal year 2022/2023. The following individuals were appointed:
- Doug Ellison – Elected representative (by acclamation)
- Monica Johnstone – Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA)
The AGM also recognized the commitment and impact of two outgoing directors: Rocky Racco and Leanna Villella.