More details about the Sherkston trailer rentals are expected to be heard in court later this month
When the Travel Industry Council of Ontario hears allegations of people breaking the rules of the industry it oversees, its first step is to raise awareness of what people can and cannot do.
But when someone is on file for a previous offense and comes back on TICO’s radar, there’s a lot less leniency, vice president of operations Dorian Werda said.
Earlier this week, the nonprofit revealed details of charges against two people accused of violating Ontario’s Travel Industry Act during an operation at Sherkston Shores in Port Colborne.
TICO – funded entirely by Ontario-registered travel agents and wholesalers – has charged Sherkston Trailer Rentals Inc. with one count of operating as an unregistered travel agent, alleging the company has rented short-term cabins that she doesn’t own at the campground and resort along Lake Erie.
Park owners declined to comment Thursday, and Werda declined to say whether the park was involved in the investigation.
Aladino Dini has been charged with one count of acting as a travel agent without being registered, and one count of being an officer and director of a company and failing to take reasonable precautions to prevent the company from committing an offense, in this case for acting without TICO Registration.
Patricia Mason (Levasseur) has been charged with a charge of operating as a travel agent without being listed.
Both are due to appear in Provincial Offenses Court in Welland on March 25. Details of Sherkston Trailer Rentals Inc. and how it allegedly broke the rules are set to be heard in court.
TICO investigators and Provincial Offenses Officers are appointed under the Travel Industry Act as well as the Provincial Offenses Act.
They have the authority to investigate and lay charges under provincial law.
In an interview on Friday, Werda declined to discuss the details of the case because it is in court, but said it was not a “heavy” organization and that bringing charges was really the “last resort”.
When asked if Sherkston Shores itself was involved in the investigation, she declined to comment.
Tony Breton, regional vice president of Canadian operations for Sun Communities Inc., owned by Sherkston Shores, said Thursday that the station “does not have any comment regarding the active TICO case.”
Werda said alleged violations are reported through complaints, but TICO also proactively looks for groups operating without proper registration.
Today, “special interest trips” are common, where groups form from places like yoga studios and photography classes and trips are organized.
“Some people don’t realize it’s a regulated industry,” Werda said.
When parties have had “opportunity after opportunity” to comply with travel and/or accommodation rules and they are still believed to be malfunctioning, that’s when the app kicks in. force, Werda said.
Still, she said, people who own a caravan can rent out their space to guests without a license.
“If you personally want to rent it, that’s your personal business,” Werda said.
But when you’re in the “middle” of consumer-supplier transactions, such as a hotel or resort and campground, and you’re not a licensed travel agent, that’s when that TICO intervenes.
Individuals Convicted by a Court of Travel Industry Act Offenses are subject to fines of up to $50,000 and/or prison terms of up to two years. Companies are subject to fines of up to $250,000.
Asked how often the maximum penalty is imposed, Werda replied that it “depends on the circumstances” and that
From “time to time” police are involved in TICO investigations, usually when it involves “large” sums of money and people, Werda said.
const. Phil Gavin said Niagara Regional Police have not brought criminal charges in the case.