Ontario’s Ticket Sales Act Takes Effect, Price Cap Subsection Pushed Back

Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip
Dan Harper / DanHarperPhoto.com
– Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip
MTS Centre, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Legislation to better regulate Ontario’s secondary ticketing industry came into effect on Canada Day, but the portion capping resale prices at 50 percent has reportedly been delayed by new Premier Doug Ford.

Ford, brother of the mercurial former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, took office as Ontario Premier in June. Ford’s spokesperson Simon Jefferies told The Toronto Star in an email: “The previous government attempted to institute a cap on ticket re-sales with no way to enforce that cap, resulting in less consumer protection. We have paused the implementation of this section until we can review this provision in full to make sure it is in the best interest of Ontarians.”

The Ticket Sales Act, which is now legislation as of July 1, limits the use and selling of bot software; demands primary sellers must clearly show the face value of a ticket and itemize all fees, charges and taxes; and calls on primaries to disclose the distribution method of all tickets to be made available, along with the event’s maximum capacity.

The legislation also includes language to cap resale prices, including fees and service charges but excluding taxes, at 50 percent of the ticket’s face value. However, the Ontario Laws website includes a note about the subsection, reading that the cap “comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor,” a move seen as a consequence of Ontario’s most recent election.

StubHub and Ticketmaster both provided statements to the Star expressing appreciation for the suspension of the price cap.

“StubHub is pleased that the recently elected Ontario government has taken appropriate steps to ensure ticket transactions continue to occur on platforms that provide vital consumer protections for fans of live events,” a StubHub representative told the paper.

Longtime Ottawa promoter Dennis Ruffo told CBC he felt the legislation is unenforceable.

“Especially when you consider most of the after market sellers were American based,” Ruffo said. “How can you prevent someone from putting tickets up on StubHub when the transaction is going to be held in the U.S.A.? I don’t know how to do it.”

The Ticket Sales Act was put forth in June 2017 by Attorney General Yasir Naqvi and Sophie Kiwala. The legislation followed public outcry after The Tragically Hip’s farewell tour was exploited by scalpers.