Notification of fee changes for travel agents and wholesalers (2022-2024)
Consumer Protection BC is an independent, self-funded, not-for-profit organization. Government has tasked us with regulating and licensing your sector. We have legal authority to set your licensing fees and other charges. In doing so, we are required by law to recover our costs, to consult with you and to provide at least ninety (90) days’ notice prior to changing or introducing new fees.
What is happening?
We are notifying you that the licensing fees and other charges for 2022-2024 are changing. Our Board of Directors has approved the following fee changes that will take effect on January 1, 2022.
- Annual 4% increases for all licence fees and other charges for 2022-2024.
Travel agents and travel wholesalers
|Fee Type||Current fees||Fees Jan. 1, 2022||Fees Jan. 1, 2023||Fees Jan. 1, 2024|
|New travel agency/travel wholesaler licence||$1,195||$1,243||$1,293||$1,345|
|New branch office licence||$776||$807||$839||$873|
|Initial contribution to the Travel Assurance Fund||$585||$608||$632||$657|
|Renewal travel agency/travel wholesaler licence more than 2 weeks prior to expiry||$717||$746||$776||$807|
|Renewal travel agency/travel wholesaler licence less than 2 weeks prior to expiry||$776||$807||$839||$873|
|Change of name or address||$59||$61||$63||$66|
|Change of directors/officers/shareholder||$59||$61||$63||$66|
|Non-sufficient funds payment||$57||$59||$61||$63|
|Late filing Travel Assurance Fund||$252||$262||$272||$283|
|Late filing financial statement||$252||$262||$272||$283|
Why are fees changing?
Your licensing fees pay for the direct costs of regulating your sector, such as licensing, compliance inspections, complaint handling and enforcement activities as well as indirect costs like IT, finance and accounting, and office rent. Every year these costs increase. In some cases, cost increases are consistent with inflation, in other cases increases are based on specific and unique factors related to a sector (for example, changes to the law that result in new regulatory requirements).
Our costs for regulating the travel agent and travel wholesaler sector have increased significantly due to increases in both the number and complexity of consumer and licensee inquiries. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we significantly cut spending to operate in a scenario well below cost-recovery. This is not sustainable and due to a 0% increase in fees for 2021 and increased inflationary pressures we are implementing a 4% annual increase for the next three years to cover our costs for regulating your sector.
What did we hear from you?
We heard from 24% of the licensees from your sector on our email list. Our goals for the consultation were to make licensees aware of pending licence fee changes and to solicit feedback on those changes and our process. Of those who responded to our survey from your sector, 85% indicated they understood that we were proposing to change licensing fees and other charges. Further, 73% of respondents indicated they understand how we use their fees to regulate your sector.
The emergent themes from the feedback we received can be summarized as follows:
- Objection to raising fees and/or the size of fee increase.
- Request for a deferral of fee increases, or waiving of fees, due to COVID-19.
- Acknowledgment of the importance of regulation for the sector and the work that Consumer Protection BC does.
- The fee increase is reasonable or not a significant increase.
- Fee rates should be tied to sales or compliance history, or a consumer-paid fee should be implemented.
With respect to these feedback themes, we would like to provide the following context and clarification:
We recognize that your sector has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. From a regulatory perspective, we must maintain our ability to regulate this sector and we are mandated to ensure that we have the resources required to do so.
At this time, we are preparing a fee schedule for implementation for 2022-2024. As we have always done, we will continue to work with you to find the best scenario for your sector while balancing our legislated duty and the associated costs to license and regulate the industry. An example of this is work is the fee deferral offered to licensees during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic and our decision to keep 2021 licensing fees at the same rate as in 2020. We can’t waive fees. We are required to recover costs and maintain the required resources to regulate your sector, and we have no other source of income to cover those costs.
We are aware that the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) has approached the BC government to ask for funding to allow us to waive licensing fees for 2022. Should government provide this funding, we will be in touch with you relating to any potential fee waiver for 2022.
We appreciate hearing your thoughts and suggestions on how to make improvements to the fee model. Some of the suggestions would require changes to the law which government is responsible for. For the suggestions that we have the authority to implement, we will consider them in our decision making as we look at future fee reviews or potential fee model adjustments.