TICO has been receiving questions from registrants and customers about the use of vouchers or similar documents as a form of reimbursement for travel services that have been cancelled or indefinitely delayed.

Registrants’ obligations depend on the details of the travel services that were sold. These protections only apply to customers who purchased travel services through a TICO-registered travel agency or tour operator:

  • If you have engaged suppliers to bundle multiple travel services (e.g., airfare, accommodations, cruise and/or ground transportation), which you advertised and re-sold to either other registrants or customers for a single price:

    In this scenario, if one of the suppliers fails to provide the travel service (e.g., airline, cruise line, coach operator), the registrant is required to provide one of the following to the customer:
  • a refund;
  • comparable alternate travel services acceptable to the customer; or
  • a voucher or similar document that is acceptable to the customer for future redemption towards travel services.

    During this unprecedented global pandemic, there is a time-limited exemption under section 46, which allows registrants to elect to only provide a voucher or similar document for future redemption towards travel services where a supplier fails to provide the travel services on or after these changes came into effect and that supplier’s failure to provide travel services is related to COVID-19. If the exemption is applicable, the voucher or similar document issued must meet specified requirements. This time-limited exemption is revoked on April 1, 2021.

    If the voucher or similar document is issued by the registrant on or after March 30, 2020 due to the supplier failing to provide a travel service and that failure is related to COVID-19:

    The voucher or similar document must be for at least equivalent value to the travel services that were not provided to the customer and must be redeemable for a minimum of one year from the date the voucher or similar document was issued. The travel can happen beyond the one year mark.

    A voucher provided by the registrant or an end supplier is considered acceptable so long as the equivalent value of the travel services is provided. The registrant shall provide a voucher to the customer where a voucher, if any, from the supplier is less than the original value of the travel services.

    Registrants cannot add additional fees unless disclosed at the time of booking (e.g., a fee for issuing the voucher).

    Where a registrant has only sold another registrant’s package, and not acquired any rights to those components for resale, the registrant that sells to the customer is not subject to this provision.

    Relevant section of the Regulation: 36, 38, 46 (prior to March 30, 2020) 46 (after March 30, 2020)
     
  • If you sold travel services that did not form part of a pre-bundled package (e.g., accommodations and/or cruise):

    Customers who have travel bookings that are affected by COVID-19 are subject to the terms and conditions of the booking from the registrant and applicable suppliers (e.g., hotel or cruise line) and the policies in effect. Some suppliers may choose to issue a voucher or similar document to their customers. TICO does not have jurisdiction over end-suppliers.

    In addition to the terms and conditions from suppliers, customers are also subject to the terms and conditions of either the retail travel agency and/or tour operator from whom they purchased their travel services from. These terms and conditions would need to be disclosed to the customer at the time of booking and included on the registrant’s invoice to the customer.

    TICO expects and requires registrants to honour all of their contractual obligations made with customers. Registrants must fully consider all of their contractual and legal obligations in determining how to address the situation. Please note: terms and conditions of travel services sold cannot override your obligations under the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and Ontario Regulation 26/05. 

    Relevant sections of the Regulation: 36 and 38
     
  • If you sold only air transportation on an airline regulated by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA):

    The CTA has indicated that to sustain the economic viability of the airline industry, the airlines under their jurisdiction may issue vouchers for future travel in lieu of refunds. Please click here for the CTA’s statement. Please note that TICO does not have jurisdiction over airlines, which are federally regulated.

Registrants issuing vouchers or similar documents for future travel should consider having a dialogue with customers to determine if a full or partial reimbursement has been processed by other means (e.g., travel insurance).

Additional information

  • Full text or regulatory changes on e-laws
  • Registrar Bulletin: Ontario government to provide burden relief to Ontario’s registered travel agencies and tour operators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Additional Registrar Bulletins concerning COVID-19
  • Customer information: FAQs that you can share with your clients

To contact TICO

TICO is operating remotely, but we are here to assist you. For more information, please click here.

Any questions can be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1-888-451-TICO (8426).

Richard Smart
Registrar, Travel Industry Act, 2002