TICO says Bill 166 gaining momentum, passes third reading in ON legislature

TICO says Bill 166 gaining momentum, passes third reading

TORONTO — TICO is advising Ontario travel industry stakeholders that Bill 166, also known as the Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, 2017, has passed third reading in the Ontario legislature.

The amendments to the Travel Industry Act, 2002, will strengthen the consumer protection in Ontario for consumers purchasing travel services and reduce burden for the approximately 2,400 Ontario registered travel agents and travel wholesalers, says TICO.

The changes include:

  •  Enabling the creation of new rules for representations, such as advertising, by out-of-province travel sellers who target Ontarians.
  •  Creating a registration requirement for individual travel salespersons.
  • Lessening the burden on travel agents and travel wholesalers by creating a registration class of travel seller so that the businesses would no longer need to register as both a travel agent and travel wholesaler.
  •  Improving compliance with the rules by providing new enforcement tools, such as administrative penalties and compliance orders, including a new appeal mechanism to the License Appeal Tribunal for these new enforcement measures.

TICO says further consultation by the Ontario government with all stakeholders will be required for the development of changes to the supporting Regulation before the changes to the Travel Industry Act, 2002 take effect.

The consultation on proposed Regulation changes will include strengthening consumer protection by:

  • Requiring registered travel sellers to disclose additional information to consumers so they can make informed choices; and
  • Requiring continuing education for travel salespersons.
  • Lessening the burden on travel sellers, the majority of whom are small businesses, by updating requirements, such as financial reporting and security deposits.

In a statement to the industry, TICO President and CEO Richard Smart says TICO commends the Ontario government for this initiative and welcomes the opportunity to continue to work collaboratively on the proposed changes to the Regulation.

In the coming months, TICO will proactively communicate and seek out opportunities to engage all stakeholders to contribute and provide feedback on proposed regulatory changes towards modernizing the consumer protection legislation in Ontario, he added.

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