Golf and Government – ACTA in Action

While Members and representatives of the travel industry were taking advantage of a day of networking at the 31st Annual Ontario Golf Tournament, ACTA’s lobby team was taking advantage of another networking opportunity, and meeting the Ontario government to discuss the regulatory and financial burden of the Ontario Travel Industry Compensation Fund. 

ACTA’s lobbying priority was captured in the July 12th edition of PAX News by Michael Pihach

The non-profit organization has also made it a priority this year to lobby the new provincial government for long overdue relief for the industry from the burdens of the Travel Industry Act (TIA) and the Travel Industry Compensation Fund funding model.

“Through our Ontario Member Travel Industry ACTA Survey, open forums, travel agency advisory council meetings and travel agency consultations, our members have told us that their primary concern is the unfairness of the Compensation Fund funding model and the financial and administrative hardship it causes their business,” reads a statement from Wendy Paradis, president of ACTA.

Paradis participated in yesterday’s event, but stepped out for a few hours, mid-tournament, to join the Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO), along with ACTA's Vice-President of Advocacy to lobby the Ontario Government at Queen’s Park.

These were the key messages they delivered:

  • The Compensation Fund model is outdated and significantly broken. “It was designed in the 1970s, in an era of a cash-and-cheque economy, and before the internet and e-commerce,” Paradis stated.
  • It is an unfair financial and administrative burden placed on Ontario travel businesses and is not sustainable in a global market, creating a disadvantage for Ontario travel companies and making them uncompetitive. 
  • The Compensation Fund does not work for consumers. “It is confusing, has many limitations and delays before paying,” Paradis stated. This includes requesting a charge-back if payment was made by credit card or requesting reimbursement from a travel insurance policy. “This, in turn, causes credit card processors to put a burden on the industry with higher merchant fees,” she stated.
  • Ontario must move to a consumer-pay model like the one in Quebec and most other jurisdictions in the world for the Compensation Fund to be sustainable.
  • The Compensation Fund is not based on any kind of risk profile. There is no perceived benefit from the Compensation Fund for Corporate Travel Agency clients, yet they pay significant amounts into the Fund. “It is like charging a 19-year-old and 90-year-old the same fee for a life insurance policy. It does not make sense,” Paradis stated. “The Fund currently sits at more than $23 million, and the government has been informed through an actuarial study commissioned by TICO that The Fund should be closer to $50 million,” Paradis noted.