By Bruce Parkinson
Ontario travel registrants voted by a 2-1 margin yesterday to approve a TICO bylaw amendment that will see a Ministerial appointment replace one of the industry's three elected representatives on the regulatory and compensation fund administrator's board of directors.
TICO's 12th Annual General Meeting was a memorable and at times raucous affair. An overflowing crowd of approximately 180 forced the opening of an adjacent room and delayed the start of the proceedings. The meeting extended for three hours, with the loss of the elected industry seat the most contentious issue.
TICO's board consists of 15 members. Prior to the bylaw change, the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services appointed four of those, ACTA and CATO each named three, the Ontario Motor Coach Association and the CITC named one, while three members were elected by the industry at large.
The Ministry has the legal right to appoint seven board members, and Minister Ted McMeekin recently requested a fifth seat on the board, as well as a change to TICO's bylaw that would require the board's Chair position to be held by a Ministerial appointee.
The request meant the loss of one of the industry's 10 board positions, but the controversy ensued from a TICO decision to cancel a pending election and give that seat to the Ministry, rather than one of the seats held by an industry organization appointee. During the same period an ACTA-appointed seat was vacant.
Most of the opposition to the TICO bylaw amendment was represented by two individuals: ARTA Canada president Bruce Bishins representing registrant Helen Thompson Travel, and Alex Handa, representing Handa Student Travel. Both of those registrants had submitted a number of motions they wished to be put to a vote at the meeting, but their requests were denied.
TICO CEO Michael Pepper said the board reviewed the submissions, which required the approval of the board and the Minister or both to be approved as motions. Pepper said the Minister did not approve the motions, which Pepper referred to as 'time-consuming and vaguely-defined proposals.'