Save your Independent Travel Agent

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Save your Independent Travel Agent

This petition made change with 489 supporters!

Why is every business in Ontario covered except for Travel Agents and Travel Agencies? 

Please help sign this petition and help your local Independent/ Self Employed Travel Agent receive this loan ! 

Ontario Small Business Support Grant

ACTA is aware that TICO circulated a bulletin to Ontario registrants updating the situation with the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. When the program was announced, ACTA was pleased to see that Ontario travel businesses would have access to support the fixed expenses still incurring in a zero revenue environment. Upon discovering that travel agencies are specifically listed as being ineligible, ACTA immediately reached out to the Minister of Government and Consumer Services Minister, Lisa Thompson (the Minister responsible for the regulation of travel agencies) to express our surprise and disappointment.

The government response implied that the Ontario government has supported travel agencies enough by allowing TICO, the Ontario regulator of travel agencies, by providing “relief to the travel agent and wholesaler sector by providing up to $4.4 million in financial support to the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) in the 2020-2021 fiscal year. This funding will help support the sector during this financially difficult time by allowing TICO to implement a temporary registration renewal fee waiver and Travel Industry Compensation Fund payment for registrants in the 2020-21 fiscal year.”

(This does not help any travel agents directly or any commissions clawed back as a result of the Travel Ban )

Travel agencies and travel agents have been effectively shut down since last March due to multiple measures discouraging travel introduced by the federal and Ontario government including travel advisories against non essential travel, suspension of flights to the Caribbean and Mexico, cruise bans, quarantine requirements, new testing requirements and hotel quarantines, lockdowns that close retail locations and malls, etc.

The relief that the government speaks to is an insignificant amount as annual fees are relatively low and any Compensation Fund payments are based on sales – which are close to non existent. A few hundred dollars cannot be compared to a $20,000 grant.

ACTA is urging the Ontario government to review its guidelines for eligibility and allow travel agencies, which are small businesses located in towns and malls throughout the province to receive these desperately needed funds.

ACTA is encouraging Ontario travel businesses that have been denied access to these funds to contact their MPP. Tell them your situation and how, as a hardest hit Ontario business, you should have equal opportunity to this small business support.

To : Hon. Victor Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development Job Creation and Trade services Victor Fedeli, MPP on the Ontario Small Business Support Grant

Demographics:
• There are about 14,000 travel agency businesses (including self-employed entrepreneurs) in Canada,
• Approximately 50% (or 7,000) in Ontario, and
• Representing about 12,000 travel agents and independent travel agents.
• 75% of the workforce are women
• From March 2020 to January 2021, there has been a loss of about 224 travel agencies and a decrease of 19% of the workforce.

Our current situation:
• The financial situation for Ontario travel agencies continues to have devastating impacts
• Understanding the government’s efforts to keep Canadians safe during the COVID-19 health and economic crisis and with the new virus variants, the impact of the new measures of cruise bans, suspended flights, new testing on arrival on top of the pre-boarding testing, mandatory hotel quarantines and other initiatives will further delay any meaningful recovery for the entire industry.
• With these heightened restrictions and clear messaging from the government that now is not the time to travel, revenue declines are now at 100% or greater with cancellations, refunds and commission recall

The Ontario issue:
• I welcomed the news that the Ontario Small Business Support Grant opened on January 15th.
• This announcement was also circulated by the provincial regulator, the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO), to all registrants in the province on the same day.
• I was surprised and disappointed to learn that travel agencies are not eligible, with this clearly being pointed out in the eligibility criteria on the government’s website.
• To add to the challenges that some businesses have experienced such as a significant decline in revenue and fixed expenses still in place, travel agencies are unique in that we are subject to a recall of travel supplier commissions. In fact, we are the only industry that must give back last year’s earning (in the form of commission).
• ON provided funding to the regulator to assist travel agencies with their registration and Compensation Fund fees, this amounts to only a few hundred dollars versus the $20K grant that could be available to support my business.
• In light of these challenges, travel agents continue to work without funding to re-arrange cancelled trips, coordinate with travel insurance companies and apply on behalf of their clients for refunds from travel suppliers. All of this to aid Ontario consumers.
• Other provinces including BC, SK, Manitoba and Quebec, have listed travel agencies as eligible for their small business grant programs.
• ON provided funding to the regulator to assist travel agencies with their registration and Compensation Fund fees, however this amounts to only a few hundred dollars compared to the $20K grant that could be available to support my business.

• My question to government: Why would the Ontario government deny travel agencies access to this critical funding?
• My ask of government: I/my travel agency owner am/is in urgent need of financial aid to cover fixed expenses while we are faced with government-imposed travel restrictions. Please allow Ontario Travel Agency Businesses immediate access to the Ontario Small Business Support Grant.

 

 

 

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This petition made change with 489 supporters!

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