November 27, 2020 

The Ontario government notified stakeholders on November 27 that, further to the March 30 amendments to the General regulation under the Travel Industry Act, 2002 (TIA), additional amendments have been made to further reduce burden on Ontario’s registered travel agents and wholesalers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The amendments come into force on December 1, 2020. Click here to find the regulatory changes on the e-laws website.                                                              

The regulatory changes include:

Temporarily exempting registrants from filing Annual Financial Statements

  • Providing a two-year exemption from the requirement to file an annual financial statement accompanied by a review engagement report or audit opinion for medium and large registrants and requiring them to only file a verification statement instead, subject to a limited exception.
  • Medium registrants are those with annual Ontario sales between $2M to less than $10M in their previous fiscal year. Large registrants are those with annual Ontario sales of $10M or greater in their previous fiscal year.
  • This exemption covers registrants with fiscal year-end dates between December 1, 2020 to November 30, 2022. As such, medium and large registrants who qualify will benefit twice.

Extending the temporary provisions added in March 2020

  • Extending the temporary provisions implemented on March 30, 2020 beyond their current expiry dates. This would continue to allow:
    • Registrants who acquire the rights to travel services for resale to continue for an additional year (until March 31, 2022) to choose to provide a voucher or similar document for future redemption towards travel services.
    • The voucher or similar document provided would be in lieu of a refund or comparable alternate travel services acceptable to the customer if a supplier (e.g., airline or cruise line) fails to provide the travel services on or after March 30, 2020 and that failure is related to COVID-19.
  • For two additional years (until March 31, 2024), customers to be eligible to be reimbursed from the Travel Industry Compensation Fund for unredeemed vouchers or similar documents that were issued by a registrant but can’t be redeemed because of the registrant’s failure (e.g., bankruptcy or insolvency) associated with COVID-19.

Exempting REBBA registrants from Short-term Accommodation Rental Properties

  • Adding an exemption for real estate brokerages, brokers and salespersons from having to register under TIA if they are trading in short-term accommodation rental properties through the brokerage and are registered under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA), generally codifying an existing practice.

Commission Recalls

  • Eliminating the requirement for a registrant to repay commissions and other remuneration received to the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO), for the purposes of depositing into the Travel Industry Compensation Fund.
    • Applicable where a customer has filed a claim for travel services paid for and not received.
    • Where the customer is eligible to receive a full reimbursement for the amount paid from the Compensation Fund.

Richard Smart, President & CEO, commented “These are very challenging times for consumers and registrants, and these amendments further demonstrate the government’s and TICO’s ongoing commitment to consumer protection and a viable travel industry through the path to recovery”.

We understand that you may have questions relating to the amendments and how they impact you and your business. TICO will be providing additional details shortly. Please check back often as we will be posting updates as they become available.

In addition, TICO publishes helpful guidelines to assist registrants with better understanding these amendments, namely a guideline for Short-term Accommodation Rental Properties and a guideline for Exemptions to Ontario Regulation 26/05

Please check www.tico.ca often as we will be posting news and updates as they become available.

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 toll free 1-888-451-TICO (8426).

 

Richard Smart
Registrar, Travel Industry Act, 2002