Improving the CFCTA
QUÉBEC CITY, July 24, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ – Lise Thériault, Minister responsible for Consumer Protection and for Housing, is happy to announce that the financial protection offered by the Compensation Fund for Customers of Travel Agents (CFCTA) is being improved.
Starting August 1, customers who buy their tourist services through a travel agent will be covered for a larger variety of situations and will be compensated more quickly should a problem arise.
If the travel agency or a supplier (airline, hotel…) is not able to provide the services a customer paid for, the fund will reimburse them. In addition to the situations that are already planned for, the fund will now protect customers who have not been able to avail themselves of tourist services they paid a travel agent for due to:
- An event that may prevent a supplier from providing services customers have paid a travel agent for, such as a natural disaster or a military or political crisis;
- The Government of Canada issuing an official warning to avoid travel or nonessential travel to a destination after a tourist service has already been bought;
- Another service that has not been provided as expected (for example, a flight delay that causes a traveller to miss their cruise departure).
Depending on the circumstances, the fund could also reimburse the following:
- Reasonable amounts spent on alternative tourist services (for example, if a traveller, upon reaching their destination, discovers that the hotel reserved by their travel agent is closed and they need to find lodging elsewhere, at additional cost);
- Meal and accommodation costs if applicable, up to $200 per day per person (for example, if a traveller’s flight is cancelled due to an airline strike and they need to pay for accommodation and meals while waiting for another flight).
Other regulatory changes will come into effect on August 1:
- The six-month delay on all refunds has been abolished; travel agency customers will therefore be compensated after their request has been processed;
- The total amount that can be offered to travellers affected by the same event has been raised;
- Travel agents will need to hire travel consultants that have the necessary certification and inform the Office de la protection du consommateur whenever a contract with one of their agency’s travel consultants ends.
Furthermore, starting January 1, 2019, the fund’s protection will be free: travel agents will no longer need to have their clients pay extra to be protected. This contribution to the fund equals $1 per $1,000 of tourist services sold.
As Minister responsible for Consumer Protection, I believe that the public should be more aware of this financial protection, since more and more of them are travelling. This is particularly true because, besides refunding money paid to a travel agent for tourist services when these services are not provided, the fund gives the customers of travel agents better protection by covering additional situations. Therefore, more of them will be able to benefit from the fund they helped pay for.
– Lise Thériault, Minister responsible for Consumer Protection and for Housing and Minister responsible for the Lanaudière region
- Improving the fund is part of a group of regulatory changes made to the Travel Agents Act which are part of the Act mainly to modernize rules relating to consumer credit and to regulate debt settlement service contracts, high-cost credit contracts and loyalty programs, adopted unanimously on November 15 last year.
- It is also important to mention that the fund could pay sums awarded in court judgements to compensate for damages suffered, up to $500. For example, this could include damages awarded to customers who were unable to benefit from promised services because the hotel they were staying at was under construction.