Toronto 11 January 2010: The Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) has commenced a consultation as to the structure of the TICO Board of Directors. TICO has e-mailed travel agency and travel wholesaler registrants a link to an online survey to provide feedback on whether or not changes to the composition of the TICO board are desirable.
Minister Fails to Appoint 5th Board Seat
The subject of the board composition was a contentious issue at the September 2009 TICO AGM, where with overwhelming support by ACTA proxies, TICO officially removed a seat to be elected by registrants in favour of a fifth board seat to be appointed by the Ministry of Consumer Services. It was ARTA Canada's position that the board was already top-heavy with industry appointments (3 by ACTA, 3 by CATO, 1 by OMCA, and 1 by CITC) and that if the Ministry required an additional board seat that ACTA or CATO should give up one of theirs; not remove a board seat from the three elected by TICO's own constituents. With nearly all of the industry appointments being ACTA members or serving on the ACTA board, the TICO board is currently dominated by ACTA members.
Despite TICO's and ACTA's cry that such a removal of an elected board seat was urgently needed to give the Ministry another appointment, the Ministry has still failed to appoint a fifth member; now nearly four months later. As such, the TICO board operates today with only two members elected by stakeholders, while 12 appointed board members currently dominate the Ontario regulator.
Why CATO or CITC? Good Question!
TICO's overture to travel agencies to complete the survey spins, with some subtle bias, on the historical fact that ACTA, CATO, OMCA, and CITC were founders of TICO and loaned TICO funds to get organized some 12 years ago. However, with the loans repaid and the industry changing substantially since TICO's founding, can it still be justified to continue a system of patronage appointments and disregard the need for more elected representation?
Take the case of the Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) as an example. Whatever CATO may have been 12 years ago, it certainly is different today. CATO has only 31 tour operators as members. Ontario has 412 tour operators.
Of CATO's 31 "members":
a) 4 are not TICO registrants;
b) 11 members are really various marketing brands of Thomas Cook which holds only 1 TICO registration;
c) 2 members are brands of Sunwing.
Some of the industry's largest tour operators, like Air Canada Vacations, are not even members of CATO.
In fact, CATO represents approximately 16 actual registrations in Ontario or less than 4% of the 412 wholesaler registrants in Ontario; yet surprisingly, CATO gets to appoint 3 out of 15 seats (20%) on the TICO board. How can this be at all equitable when registrants themselves get to elect only 2 seats?
As for CITC, the education provider is not a constituent. CITC is a national organization of individuals who have demonstrated excellence in travel industry education and training; but not a stakeholder or registrant in TICO.
ARTA Canada's Recommendations
While ARTA Canada asks TICO registrants to indicate their own preference in the survey, ARTA Canada is pleased to provide its recommendations:
Question 1 - Do you think that a fifteen member Board of Directors is appropriate to oversee TICO? Yes.
Question 2 - Do you think that there is adequate industry representation on the TICO Board? Yes.
Question 3 - Do you think that there is adequate consumer representation on the TICO Board? Yes.
Question 4 - Do you think that the industry associations that founded TICO should continue to have appointed seats on the Board? No.
Comment: The number of appointments needs to be reduced overall.
Question 5 - If the TICO Board is comprised of 15 members with 5 members appointed by the Minister, which of the following options for Board composition do you prefer?
Option #4 - Fully Elected:
ten (10) elected by the Registrant Members; and
five (5) appointed at the pleasure of the Minister.
Option #3 - Minimal Industry Association Representation:
one (1) named by ACTA Association of Canadian Travel Agencies);
one (1) named by CATO (Canadian Association of Tour Operators);
one (1) named by CITC (Canadian Institute of Travel Counsellors);
one (1) named by OMCA (Ontario Motor Coach Association);
six (6) elected by Registrant Members; and
five (5) appointed at the pleasure of the Minister.
Question 6 - If more Board members were to be elected by registrant members, should additional criteria be added to ensure that there is adequate representation of all segments of the industry? For example, one may want to consider retail and wholesale representation, geographic regions, etc. Yes.
Comment: The elected members should be registrants only and should approximately reflect the actual percentage of travel agencies versus travel wholesalers.
Question 7 - Currently, the By-law provides for a two year term for an elected Director. Do you think that a two year term is appropriate? No.
Comment: This term will have to increase to accommodate more elected Directors.
Question 8 - Currently, the By-law provides for a one-year term for a Director named by an Industry Association. Do you think that a one-year term is appropriate? No.
Comment: Limiting one year terms of persons who can simply be re-appointed accomplishes nothing. The real limitation should be as to how many terms an appointed person may be reappointed. It is recommended that appointments be limited to two consecutive two-year terms.
Complete the TICO Board Member Survey Before 15 January 2010
Ontario travel agencies may access the TICO survey by clicking here or going to