The law

In Ontario, travel agents (retailers) and travel wholesalers (for example, tour operators) must be registered with the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO), which enforces the Travel Industry Act. Registered travel agents or travel wholesalers (also called registrants) have a TICO registration number, which they must display when communicating information to people about travel services, including advertisements, websites, or brochures. Some travel agents or wholesalers may also choose to display the TICO logo to indicate that they are registered.

If you book with a TICO registered travel agent, whether it’s online, in person or over the phone, you have some rights under the Travel Industry Act.

If you book directly with an airline, hotel or tour yourself, your trip is not protected under the Travel Industry Act.

Travel Industry Council of Ontario logo

The price you see is the price you pay

All Ontario travel agents and wholesalers registered with TICO are required to follow rules when advertising the price of travel services.

Under these rules, they must display the total price to consumers — often called all-in pricing — in any advertising that includes the price of travel services. This includes all taxes, fees, levies and other charges, such as counselling fees.

All-in pricing helps reduce confusion when you are purchasing travel services in Ontario, such as all-inclusive vacations. The price you see is the price you pay.

What to expect when booking a trip

Travel agents must also provide you with specific information about your trip. This includes:

  • giving you the information about the destination that may affect your decision to purchase (for example, health, weather or construction warnings)
  • giving you an invoice that is itemized so you understand what you are paying for
  • telling you about the terms and conditions of your booking, including rules for changing, continuing or cancelling your trip
  • verifying your information on the ticket, voucher, itinerary and other documents
  • informing you about typical travel documents and entry requirements for the destination (for example, passport, visa, vaccinations, affidavits, the timeline to get these documents ready) before booking
  • informing you if they charge a service fee for travel counselling, whether or not you decide to book with them
  • giving you a receipt after booking (with the total cost, business name and contact information, TICO registration number, details on cancellation and insurance etc.)
  • letting you know about any trip cancellation insurance and out-of-province health insurance that are available before booking

File a claim for compensation

The Travel Industry Compensation Fund offers protection in certain circumstances for any travel services you’ve paid for and did not receive during or before the trip because of the bankruptcy or insolvency of a:

  • travel agent or travel wholesaler (such as a tour operator) registered in Ontario
  • an airline or cruise line

It may also cover reasonable replacement costs you must pay to complete a trip such as:

  • transportation
  • accommodation
  • meals

You may be reimbursed to a maximum of $5000 per person if you file a claim with TICO within 6 months of the business closing.

How to file a claim

Make a complaint

If you have a complaint against a registered travel agency or tour operator, you should first inform the business of your complaint. If you advise the business of your complaint by phone, make sure to note the date and details of the conversation. Keep a copy for your records.

If it’s not resolved, you can contact TICO with your complaint.

Ask the right questions

  • Are you dealing with a TICO registered travel agent or tour operator?
  • Is the travel booking website secure?
  • Is the price of the trip listed in Canadian dollars?
  • What are the cancellation and refund terms for the trip?
  • Are there any travel warnings for the place I am going?
  • Do I have enough out of country travel insurance to get me back to Ontario if I become sick or injured?
  • If I book my trip with my credit card, do I get additional insurance protection?