New travel legislation proposed in Ontario

New travel legislation proposed in Ontario
From left: Jean Hébert, chair, board of directors, TICO; Tracy MacCharles, MPP Pickering-Scarborough East, Minister of Government and Consumer Services & Minister Responsible for Accessibility; Richard Smart, president and CEO, TICO. Image courtesy of TICO.

As a result of a recent comprehensive review of Ontario’s Travel Industry Act, new legislation designed to strengthen consumer protection when purchasing travel services in Ontario has been proposed to the Ontario government, the Travel Industry Council of Ontario announced.

Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, introduced the new legislation to the Provincial Legislature in Ontario this week. The legislation is part of the larger Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, which will also introduce new regulations covering real estate transactions, home warranties and the resale of sports and concert tickets.

According to a statement by Min. MacCharles, the travel section of the Act aims to "further protect consumers buying travel services by enabling the creation of new rules for representations, such as advertising by out-of-province travel businesses that target Ontarians, creating new registration requirements for individual travel salespersons and improving compliance with the rules by enhancing enforcement tools, such as administrative penalties."

The new rules being proposed meet the objectives and are aimed at increasing consumer confidence and protection when making travel purchases, TICO said. If passed, the Bill would amend the Travel Industry Act, 2002 to recognize changes in the marketplace, such as online purchases and advertising by out of province travel businesses targeting Ontarians. It would also create new registration requirements for individual travel salespersons and introduce new enforcement tools including administrative penalties to assist TICO to effectively administer and enforce Ontario’s consumer protection legislation.

If the Bill passes, the Ministry will consult with stakeholders on the regulations and additional measures aimed at lessening the burden on small business, including proposed changes to financial requirements.

"It is encouraging to have a major Bill tabled by the government that enhances consumer protection while reducing burden for businesses and strengthening the marketplace for registrants," said TICO President and CEO Richard Smart. "The industry has changed significantly since the legislation was introduced and, if passed, these changes should benefit all stakeholders."