TICO’s recent fee increase announcement is “a significant setback” for travel agencies and advisors and will impose an “undue financial burden” on the industry, ACTA says.
In a strongly worded statement issued 08FEB, The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies and Travel Advisors said the Ontario government and TICO have failed to address its concerns despite lengthy talks between the groups.
“We have consistently advocated for a shift to a consumer-pay model for the Compensation Fund, seeking a minimized fee structure for our members,” said Wendy Paradis, ACTA President. “This decision to increase fees while maintaining a registrant-paid model for the Compensation Fund is a significant setback for travel agencies and advisors.
“These changes impose an undue financial burden on our industry, particularly during a period of recovery and rebuilding,” Paradis said.
Over the years, ACTA has persistently advocated with the Government of Ontario and TICO, voicing the concerns of its members about the TICO funding formula.
“Unfortunately, despite lengthy consultations with the Ontario government and TICO, our concerns have not been addressed, leading to this unfavourable outcome,” said Paradis.
ACTA has actively engaged with senior officials at the Government of Ontario and in discussions with TICO.
ACTA: Concerns Ignored by TICO and Ontario Government
“We have strongly advocated for key items, including pausing any changes proposed by TICO until a thorough review of the Travel Industry Act is completed, as recommended by the Auditor General’s report,” Paradis said.
ACTA has emphasized the need to re-evaluate prior studies, assess the provincial government’s role in federally regulated sectors like airlines, expedite consultations, and rethink TICO’s core mandate and value to consumers.
ACTA has advocated for simplifying the Travel Industry Act, focusing on core priorities that protect consumer funds and reduce burdens on Ontario registrants, particularly small travel businesses,” she said.
“ACTA’s stance has been clear: if the current, costly compensation fund system, which provides minimal benefit to consumers, is to continue, significant changes are necessary,” said Paradis. “Yet, despite advocating for a consumer “insurance” contribution model for enhanced protection, ACTA has been met with resistance to this change.”
Fund should be eliminated if not reformed
“If substantial improvements to the Compensation Fund model are not forthcoming, we urge the government to consider eliminating the fund or advocating for a national program funded by the beneficiaries - the travel consumers,” ACTA stated.
“The fee changes are likely to have detrimental effects on the travel industry,” Paradis said. “It places ACTA members at a competitive disadvantage in what is becoming a global marketplace, and adds an additional layer of financial strain.”
ACTA said it will continue to advocate for the interests of its members with TICO and the Ontario government.
“We are committed to engaging further with government officials and TICO to revisit and reconsider this decision, advocating for a more equitable approach,” said Paradis.