Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor
CHANGES CUT RED
TAPE FOR TRAVEL AGENTS, PROTECT CLIENTS
VICTORIA – Updated travel industry regulations, approved this
week and effective April 1, 2009, will better protect travellers’ interests
while cutting the regulatory burden for travel retailers and wholesalers.
new regulations, which follow extensive consultation with B.C.’s travel
industry and other stakeholders:
who must be licensed. Operators of hotels, motels and resorts still don’t
need a licence to book accommodation they manage, or to book local travel
services. Similarly, destination marketing organizations that incidentally
book travel services remain exempt.
- Remove the requirement for licensing applicants
to be B.C. residents. This change will align B.C.’s regulations with trade
and labour mobility agreements in Canada.
- Allow travel
businesses to operate out of residences, where local government allows.
This change may help small businesses and others to save money by foregoing
a commercial location.
- Eliminate a net-worth requirement, which was
$15,000 for a corporation. Instead, companies will be required to maintain
sufficient working capital to retain their licence.
- Free travel retailers from maintaining a trust
account for cash payments, since most consumers now pay by credit card.
(Travel wholesalers will continue to maintain trust accounts, as they
handle large volumes of consumer payments.)
- Require travel
retailers to display their licence number in all advertising, including on
the Internet. This will enable consumers to search the Business Practices
and Consumer Protection Authority (BPCPA) website to see if a business is
licensed or facing enforcement action.
- Require a minimum $100 annual contribution to the
Travel Assurance Fund from newly licensed travel retailers and
wholesalers. This will cover processing costs and help preserve the fund,
which provides compensation of up to $5,000 to consumers who do not
receive the travel services they’ve paid for and aren’t compensated by
has approximately 700 travel agents and 300 travel wholesalers. Travel agents and wholesalers have been licensed since
1977. The industry has since evolved to include new sectors and Internet
interested in more information about the new regulations are invited to contact
the BPCPA Inquiry Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org or
by calling 604 320-1667 in Vancouver or toll-free 1-888-564-9963 from
anywhere in the province.
Public Affairs Bureau
604 320-1667, ext.
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