Ontario Improving Protection For Travel Consumers
McGuinty Government Responds To Recommendations Of TICO Report
Ontario is taking steps to further protect travellers if a tour operator or travel agent goes out of business.
The province today released a report assessing the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) and its ability to regulate Ontario's travel industry. Overall, the report found Ontario's regulation of the travel industry is equal to, or better than, other Canadian jurisdictions but there are opportunities to strengthen consumer protection.
The report, Assessment of Consumer Protection Against Financial Instability in the Travel Industry, offers eight recommendations for immediate and short-term, which include:
- Require, as a condition of registration, tour operators and travel agents to give notice to TICO of intention to cease operations
- Reviewing trip completion compensation for stranded passengers to ensure it is effective, fair and allows consumers to recover costs should a business close in the middle of a trip
- Enhancement of TICO's website to give consumers more information about compensation options when travel businesses close.
The government intends to implement key components of the recommendations by December 2009.
- Ontario's travel industry includes 2,264 travel agents and 419 tour operators, all of which are required to be registered with TICO.
- Claims against the Travel Industry Compensation Fund are infrequent. Each year TICO deals with an average of 275 registrant closures in a seamless way, with little to no affect on consumers.
“I am delighted the assessment found that TICO's approach to regulating the travel industry works well. There are certain areas that can be strengthened to further protect Ontarians while travelling; to that end, I look forward to implementing the recommendations offered in the report.”
“The recommendations address some quick changes that we can implement to address consumer protection and awareness concerns. They also consider possible improvements over the long-term for both consumers and businesses.”
“Ontario has a very strong consumer protection model in place and TICO does a very good job of delivering the service for government. These recommendations will help TICO further increase its options for protecting the travelling public.”