Advocate – in the best interests of the retail travel industry to government, suppliers and other organizations through one strong voice.

ADVOCACY activities of your association in Q2 2017

FEDERAL

Canadian Transportation Agency: 

On May 16, 2017, Minister Marc Garneau announced the proposal of a new Passenger Bill of Rights among other proposed changes to the Canadian Transportation Act. ACTA reached out to the Canadian Transportation Agency, tasked with drafting the regulations for the new proposed changes, and reminded them of the need for our involvement in the consultation process.

International Air Transport Association (IATA): 

ACTA sits on IATA joint committees with equal representation between retailers and airlines. At the start of the year, ACTA filled three additional retail positions that opened up. The retail members of the Agency Programme Joint Council (APJC) are senior representatives from leisure and corporate agencies across the country. The next meeting of the APJC is scheduled for July 27th. Agenda items will include NewGen ISS, NDC, and an update on the Debit Memo Working Group.

ACTA is working through the Financial Advisory Group (the F.A.G., a joint agency/airline sub-committee), to conduct a thorough review of the Local Financial Criteria (LFC). Several meetings have been held with the agency members of the F.A.G. and also the full group (agents and airlines) where the members have been going through the LFC, line by line. This process will take another few meetings. Agency members are working on drafting a strong proposal for an alternative to the submission of costly annual Review Engagement as requested by members. ACTA will keep the membership posted on the progress.

While IATA acknowledged ACTA and the global outcry to the June 1, 2017 implementation date for IATA appointed agencies to be Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS) compliant, ACTA is taking measures to assist members in this process. A webinar is scheduled for July 2017.

Insurance:

A reminder that ACTA contributed to the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) recent review of any existing misalignment between consumer’s expectations and industry practices. All ACTA provincial council members were solicited for feedback and our submission is available in the Resource section of the ACTA website under Position Papers. The CCIR released their position paper on May 31, 2017. From ACTA’s perspective, the recommendations do not immediately impact the retail travel industry community as they are directed to the Insurers to implement. However, as the Insurers begin to make these changes, travel agencies will hear from their respective Insurers to advise of any changes in their policies or processes. Training and education within the distribution channel of an Insurer is ultimately where retail travel agencies may see some changes. ACTA will continue to work closely with CCIR and our Travel Health Insurance Partners to keep members updated on the status of these industry recommendations.

PROVINCIAL

Ontario:

ACTA and the ACTA TIA Committee is fully involved in the Ontario government’s Review of the Ontario Travel Industry Act (TIA). ACTA submitted feedback by the Phase 2 deadline of April 14th (submission available in the resource section of the ACTA website).  ACTA has learned that the Ontario government is hoping to release a Phase 2 Report with a summary of the findings of the consultations and proposed changed to the TIA, 2002 in late-spring. When this happens, ACTA will be ready with how you can also get involved in this final and most important phase of the TIA Review.

Last fall, ACTA responded to the Interim Report of the Ontario government’s Review of the Employment Standards Act (ACTA’s submission available in the resource section of the ACTA website). On May 31st, the government released their final report on the proposed changes. In the government’s final report, they chose not to change the definition of employee to include “dependent contractor” which was a key concern to many members. In preparation, ACTA hosted a webinar on May 24, 2017 to prepare members on the “ins and outs” when working with independent contractors. This on demand webinar is now available complimentary to members.  

British Columbia:

The ACTA BC Regional Council invited the Director of Stakeholder Relations from Consumer Protection BC (CPBC) to attend the April 2017 Council meeting scheduled for April 19, 2017. ACTA members expressed concern over CPBC’s media campaign and the fact that the messaging did not support the benefits of booking with a BC licensed agency.  It was acknowledged that ACTA will work with CPBC to provide direct Member feedback on initiatives (such as the media campaign) prior to final release. CPBC advised that work on a fee review is currently underway. ACTA will get involved as this Review proceeds. 

The Council expressed concern about Bill C-23.  This Bill provides for the Preclearance in each country (Canada and the U.S.A.) of travellers and goods bound for the other country. This Bill has now passed second reading. ACTA will monitor the progress of this Bill and discuss next steps with the ACTA BC Council. An awareness campaign to members and what members need to know to share with their customers will be determined.

Québec:

ACTA contributes as a key stakeholder to the Office de la protection du consummateur (OPC) Advisory Committee for travel agencies. When ACTA met with OPC in February, two key matters were discussed: 1) Since the implementation of the agent OPC certification (the “CCV”) and the removal of entry requirements, there has been a significant increase in the number of CCV holders from approximately 6,000 to 11,000, and 2) the interest from the QC retail travel industry to allocate funds from the QC Compensation Fund (the “FICAV”) for a consumer awareness campaign. In a recent meeting with OPC, ACTA learned that there has been no movement on our issue with the proliferation of CCV holders at this time. There have been some changes however, where FICAV remittances can now be done online and ACTA is assisting OPC with spreading the word. ACTA will also assist with distributing the message to consumers. Online renewal of travel agency permits will be next for OPC.

On May 2, 2017, the Quebec government introduced new legislation intended to modernize the Quebec Consumer Protection Act (CPA), as well as provide for new consumer protection measures. The CPA provisions on credit, in particular, are long overdue for change as they have not been significantly amended since 1978. ACTA will work, in cooperation with the Quebec council, on how this new legislation will impact ACTA members.

AB/SK/MB/Atlantic (unregulated provinces):

Since the meeting of ACTA, members of the Alberta Regional Council Insurance Sub-Committee and the CEO of the Alberta Insurance Council (AIC) in January 2017, ACTA awaits word on next steps with AIC to speak to other industry stakeholder groups on a national, multi-provincial or an Alberta approach to our concerns. In the January meeting, the AIC recognized changes in the current travel industry landscape and the need for the sale of travel insurance to accommodate these changes. AIC will work with ACTA in this regard. 

In Saskatchewan, ACTA is continuing to monitor the failure of a non-member agency and the government’s interest in an sector specific Consumer Protection Program and in Manitoba, the current government advised ACTA that the decision was made to not proceed with legislative or regulatory changes as it pertains to proposed travel industry rules. 

In the Atlantic Provinces, the Council met at the end of May where supplier issues was the focus. Q3 will see members look to next steps on some of the specified industry matters such as taxes, fees and surcharges. This touches on the national issues in front of the Canadian Transportation Agency today.

Questions? Contact Heather Craig-Peddie, VP Advocacy and Member Relations hcraig-peddie@acta.ca