Know your obligations
The information on this page is to help you understand the travel agency and wholesaler law and ensure you maintain your good standing as a business. This is a general overview of our expectations and the laws we oversee. It is your responsibility as a BC-licensed travel agent or wholesaler to review the laws in detail, comply with municipal bylaws and get independent legal advice, if necessary.
As part of our inspection or investigative process, we may impose an administrative monetary penalty (financial penalty) for certain violations of the laws we oversee. Every contravention has a base penalty amount, based in part on the seriousness of the infraction.
Read the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act.
Read the Travel Industry Regulation.
Understand all our policies, including about administrative penalties.
Submit your financial report yearly
You must submit your financial report within 3 months of your business year-end date annually. It is important to note you must submit your financial report prior to renewing your licence. It’s important to note, if you are within your first fiscal year you do not need to submit a financial report to us.
You must contribute annually to Travel Assurance Fund (TAF) for your first three (full) fiscal years. Contributions are made through MyAccount at the same time as your financial report submission.
See a sample of the financial reporting requirements (for reference only).
Learn more about Travel Assurance Fund.
Provide the security requirement
The required amount may change depending on the total gross sales each year.
|Total travel agent sales||Security required|
|$0 to $4,999,999.99||$15,000|
|$5,000,000.00 to $9,999,999.99||$25,000|
|More than $10,000,000||$40,000|
Travel wholesaler / accommodation provider
|Total travel agent sales||Security required|
|$0 to $1,999,999.99||$15,000|
|$2,000,000.00 to $2,999,999.99||$35,000|
|$3,000,000.00 to $4,999,999.99||$50,000|
|$5,000,000.00 to $6,999,999.99||$70,000|
|$7,000,000.00 to $14,999,999.99||$100,000|
|$15,000,000.00 to $24,999,999.99||$125,000|
|More than $24,999,999.99||$150,000|
We may require that you provide security greater than the amount required.
Financial security must be provided in any of the following forms:
- Letter of Credit – in favour of Consumer Protection BC issued by a financial institution. See sample.
- Surety Bond – an insurance policy issued by an insurance company authorized to operate in BC. See sample.
- Safekeeping Agreement (i.e. GIC or similar investment issued by a financial institution) – in favour of Consumer Protection BC. See sample.
- Cash – presented as bank draft or money order held in trust by Consumer Protection BC. Note: no interest is paid on cash securities.
The original issued document provided by the financial institution or insurer must be included with the application. This security will be held throughout the term of your licence plus 6-months after the cancellation or expiry of your licence.
Report changes to your business
You must report any changes to your business within 14 days including a business name change, location change, changing partner or corporate officer, change in your business model, fiscal year-end change, or if you are selling your business.
Display your licence
You must publicly display your licence in your place of business. You must also include your licence number on any print or web materials, including:
- business cards
- print collaterals (such as brochures and flyers)
- documentation (including contracts)
- your website
Renew your licence
Renew annually within 3 months from your financial year-end to maintain your travel agent or wholesaler licence.
Operating a branch
If your business has more than one location, each location must have its own licence. The head office must complete the branch application, not the Branch Manager.
Apply to get a branch licensed.
BC consumer protection laws require that businesses have a licence for each location from where it conducts business. Conducting business from a location means several things, including:
- A location from which your physical presence, address, or telephone number in British Columbia is given in a telephone directory.
- A location from which your physical presence, address, or telephone number in British Columbia is given in any verbal or written advertisement.
- You have, in British Columbia, a resident agent, or a warehouse, office, or place of business.
We understand that you may provide remote working options to your employees.
Provided they are not conducting business in the way described above, remote workers may work from remote locations if they follow these guidelines:
- They can only work remotely from their home-based location.
- If the law or health directives allow, they are only to directly meet and serve clients from licensed locations and not at remote or unlicensed home-based locations.
- While conducting business, they must only, use the contact information of the licensed location in any visual representation, correspondence, business cards, or on any printed or electronic advertisement.
- Other than cell phone numbers or corporate IP-based phone numbers, they may not disclose their personal telephone number(s) to suppliers or clients nor reveal that they are conducting business from any unlicensed location.
- Payments for services may be received only at the licensed office unless those payments are through electronic means via credit card or immediate EFT, and no payment information is retained or stored in the home-based location.
- All client files, arrangement details, and associated original records of accounting or contracts handled by a telecommuter must be kept at the businesses’ licensed location. (It is permissible for telecommuters to retain copies of routine correspondence and other records at their home-based location).
- Persons selling or otherwise arranging for the supply of goods and services to consumers with the expectation of receiving payment or benefit for so doing, are deemed to be acting as licensees and are required to comply with the provisions of these guidelines.
Except for items 6 and 7 above, these guidelines do not apply to employees of licensees performing purely accounting or other administrative functions.
Collect and maintain records
You must collect and keep organized records of consumer transactions, your accounting and other financial information documents.
Provide proof of payment documentation
You must provide your consumers with a receipt that includes:
- your business name, address, telephone number and licence number
- the date when payment is received
- the customer’s name and address
- the description of services including travel date
- the amount of money received, refunded or outstanding, with the itemized purchase price for the travel services
Keep current records of your trust account
You must keep proper records for your trust account – this includes money deposited, all disbursements, account balance, and balance for each customer where money has been deposited into the trust account where funds must be kept separate and apart from the business’s transactions.
Read the Travel Industry Regulation, section 13.
Understand your contract obligations
When you book travel for your customers, that’s a contract. Your receipts/invoices are a key element of your contract with your customers. As a BC travel agent or wholesaler, there are specific contract rules in BC that you must follow.
Understand our inspections process
We perform routine, random, follow-up and complaint-based inspections of all our regulated businesses to ensure they comply with the law.
Do not engage in deceptive or unconscionable acts
By law, you must not engage in deceptive or unconscionable acts.
Read the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act, section 4.