Protecting your Rights when Booking a Trip
Booking a vacation is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. You’re likely thinking of all the fun and exciting things you’re going to do, checking out hotels for the one that best suits your needs, and looking forward to the trip. However, it’s always important to make sure that your rights are being protected as well. Otherwise, you could end up being taken advantage of and you could lose money or worse.
To protect your rights, you’ll need to know your rights. Here are some rights that you have when it comes to booking a trip and traveling.
Your Rights When Booking a Trip
In general, you have rights when you book a trip with a registered travel agent. These rights will depend on where you live. For example, in Ontario, travel agents and travel wholesalers (such as tour operators) must be registered with the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO). When you book with a registered TICO agent (online, by phone, or in person) your rights are protected by the Travel Industry Act.
However, if you book directly with an airline, hotel, or tour group yourself, you are not protected under this act.
TICO-registered agents are required to follow certain rules.
For instance, travel agents who are registered with TICO are required to display the total price when advertising any travel services that includes the price in the ad. This means all taxes, fees, levies, and any other fees must be included.
You are also protected if you have paid for some travel services, but do not receive them due to bankruptcy or insolvency of the travel operator, airline, or cruise line. If you file a claim with TICO within six months of the business closing, you could be reimbursed up to $5000 per person.
In addition, travel agents in Ontario are legally required to provide you with certain information about your trip, including:
- An itemized invoice
- The terms and conditions of your booking, such as the rules for changing, cancelling, or continuing your trip
- Letting you know which travel documents (passports, etc.) you need to travel to the destination
- Giving you information that may affect your decision to purchase (such as health or weather warnings)
- Details regarding service fees for travel counselling
- Providing you with details relating to trip cancellation insurance and out-of-province health insurance
As mentioned, different provinces and territories in Canada will have different specific rights, but most regions should have protections in place if you are booking with a registered travel agent.
Your Rights and Vacation Time
If you’re planning on booking a trip, you’re likely also planning on booking some vacation time. Much like the protections in place for booking travel, the rules and legal protections regarding vacation time will vary depending on the province.
In Ontario, employees are required to receive a minimum of two weeks of vacation each year. However, the Ontario Employment Standards Act states employees have to work for an organization for 12 months before they are entitled to two weeks off.
Employers are able to increase the amount of vacation time you receive, but they are not required to in Ontario. In some provinces, the minimum may increase from two to three weeks after several years of service. It’s worth noting that, in Saskatchewan, the minimum mandated vacation time is three weeks.
Ontarians are entitled to receive to receive vacation pay of at least 4 percent of their regular gross wage in the last 12 months.
Employers are able to dictate when employees are entitled to time off and can require that employees take vacations in one-week blocks. For instance, if you work for an organization that shuts down for several weeks each year (such as a seasonable business), your employer can require you to take your vacation at this time.
It’s important to protect yourself when you travel. If you are outside of Canada and lose your passport, need urgent medical care, are arrested or detained, or are dealing with an emergency, Canadian consular officials can help you. You can find these officials at Canadian embassies and consulates in many countries around the world.
Before you travel, it’s a good idea to find out where the Government of Canada operates an office near your destination. If you need help when you are outside of Canada, speaking to Canadian consular officials can be a great help.