Ontario’s travel registrar is advising that on March 30, 2020 the Ontario government announced that the Regulation under the Travel Industry Act, 2002, were amended to reduce the burden on Ontario’s registered travel agencies and tour operators and to enhance consumer protection for certain travellers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The changes announced by the Ontario government include:
- Eliminating review engagement reports for small registrants with annual sales less than $2 million and requiring a verification statement instead.
- Eliminating audit reports for large registrants with annual sales of $10 million or more and requiring a review engagement report instead.
- Removing prescriptive working capital thresholds for all registrants and requiring them to maintain positive working capital instead.
- Clarifying under section 46 in the regulation what a registrant, who has acquired rights to travel services for resale, must provide to a customer when a supplier fails to provide the travel services paid for by the customer, which includes:
- a refund or comparable alternate travel services acceptable to the customer, or
- voucher or similar document for future redemption towards travel services.
- Providing a time-limited exemption under section 46, which would allow registrants to elect to only provide a voucher or similar document for future redemption towards travel services where a supplier fails to provide the travel services after these changes come into effect and that failure is related to the COVID-19 outbreak. If the exemption is applicable, the voucher or similar document issued must meet specified requirements.
- Expanding the coverage under the Travel Industry Compensation Fund for consumer claims involving vouchers or similar documents that may be eligible for reimbursement. This will help ensure that any voucher or similar document that a customer redeems for travel services (e.g., flight, cruise or hotel) but for which travel services are not provided may be eligible for a reimbursement claim.
- Temporarily expanding coverage under the Travel Industry Compensation Fund so that consumers with unredeemed vouchers or similar documents issued by a registrant that cannot be redeemed due to the failure of a registrant associated with COVID-19 may be eligible for a claim for reimbursement.
In his message, Richard Smart said: “We understand that you may have questions relating to the amendments. TICO will be providing additional details shortly and will continue to support consumers and registrants impacted by the crisis. Please check back often as we will be posting updates as they become available.”
For more on the changes, go to https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r20101?search=101%2F20 .
To contact TICO, go to https://www.tico.ca/news/registrar-bulletins/393-registrar-bulletin.html
Source: Travel Press
Easing The Burden