Ontario's Proposed Changes to Ticket Laws
Ontario intends to introduce legislation this fall that would, if passed, establish tough new rules for buying and selling tickets so fans have a fair shot at seeing their favourite music, sports and theatrical events.
Making Tickets More Affordable
The new rules, if passed, would prohibit unfair and excessive markups by prohibiting the resale of tickets at more than 50 per cent above face value.
They would also require ticket businesses - in both the primary and resale markets - to always display the original face value of the ticket so that consumers know the rules are being followed.
Giving Fans a Fair Shot
The new rules, if passed, would seek to level the playing field for fans by prohibiting a range of fraudulent and deceptive activities that are often used to manipulate Ontario's ticket market and shut out legitimate fans. Proposed measures include:
- Banning the use and sale of ticket-buying software - also known as ticket bots - that are used to block legitimate fans and scoop up the best seats the moment an event goes on sale
- Forbidding the sale of tickets on the resale market that are not owned or possessed by the seller (i.e. speculative tickets)
- Continuing to restrict the resale of tickets unless they are verified by the primary seller, or the reseller offers a money-back guarantee.
Giving More Information to Ticket Buyers
The proposed changes would help fans make informed choices about the tickets they are attempting to purchase by making more information available. The new rules would propose the following measures to increase transparency:
- Primary ticket sellers would be required to disclose the number of tickets that would be available through the general on-sale, as well as the capacity of the event
- Ticket resellers and online resale platforms would be required to disclose the original face value of the ticket and precise seat location, as well as the identity of a commercial reseller
- All ticket-selling businesses would be required to disclose the all-in price of a ticket up front, plus clearly indicate the currency.
Strong Enforcement of Ontario's Ticket Laws
The province is proposing a comprehensive new enforcement regime for Ontario's ticket laws, which would be designed to give both public and private actors the tools they need to ensure the rules are followed.
The proposed changes include:
- Empowering the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to investigate alleged violations of the law with the authority to issue administrative monetary penalties and compliance orders
- Establishing new provincial offences, increased fines and administrative monetary penalties for violations
- Creating dedicated rights of action for industry and consumers resulting from violations of the new rules
- Allowing the police to investigate and charge violators of prohibitions against the use of bots.