Ottawa, Ontario – Brew Donkey a Ottawa craft-focused liquor delivery service and brewery tour operator is now offering craft brewery tours for free as a Result of a TICO investigation. You can help out this popular service by donating to their crowd funding campaign. The money raised will help off set the loss of profits and help with legal fees.
We’re Brew Donkey. Based in Ottawa, Ontario, we provide a craft beer focused delivery service as well as a brewery tour operating service. We’ve been in business since 2013 and are partnered with over 18 breweries in the Ottawa area. We provide a safe and responsible option for exploring our city’s craft beer scene – offering transportation, smart-serve certified operators, meals, and plenty of hydration.
Starting May 19, we will be offering our educational craft brewery tours, which normally sell for approximately $85 per ticket, for no charge.
What may seem like a questionable business decision at first is in fact an appeal to local business owners, politicians, and community members for support in an issue Brew Donkey is currently experiencing with the Tourism Industry Council of Ontario (“TICO”).
THE DIRTY DETAILS
On April 17, we received a notice from TICO, whose mandate is to ensure that anyone involved with selling travel in Ontario is doing so in accordance with the Travel Industry Act (“the Act”), concerning a compliance issue in regards to our operations. According to the letter received, TICO believes Brew Donkey is providing travel services without prior registration as a travel agent and therefore contravening the provincial legislation governing the travel industry in Ontario.
In order to become compliant we must either become a registered travel agent, or work as an Outside Sales Representative with an existing TICO registered travel agency through whom all of the business must flow. We were given until May 4, 2015 to become compliant, with an extension granted until May 19. After such time, if Brew Donkey remains non-compliant, we face legal action if any monies are accepted for brewery tours.
While Brew Donkey intends to do everything we can to become compliant, we are still in discussions with our lawyers and educating ourselves on the Act itself. We believe that we fall within an exemption* of the Act which would not require us to take any further action. At this time, the two parties are at a disagreement regarding the classification, and with the short time-frame given by TICO this has left the us with very few options.
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
The Brew Donkey team are stubborn as mules and refuse to stop educating Ottawa beer lovers on our city’s growing craft beer scene, even if it means offering the tours for free.
That’s right – until a solution is found, we will be offering all brewery tours that include bus transportation at no charge while we work to rectify the situation with TICO and become compliant with the Act.
Over the next month the we aim to raise $15,000 in pledges. By funding our Indiegogo campaign, you will be allowing us to continue supporting the local companies visited on these tours and to assist with loss of income while we work with TICO.
If you wish to support us even further, there is a template letter available for download on the Company’s website which can be sent to your local MPP to show your support.
Exemption 2.2 under the Travel Industry Act reads: A person (other than a person who operates an airline, cruise line or bus line) who, in connection with the business of being an end supplier of travel services, also provides local travel services that are purchased from another person, but does not accept payment of more than 25 per cent of the cost of the travel services sold to any customer more than 30 days before the travel services are to be provided.
From TICO Study Manual 2013: This applies only if the local supplier does not request more than 25% of payment in advance or payment more than 30 days in advance. The purpose of this exemption is to assist local tourism businesses.