Ontario to announce ticket sale reforms

TORONTO — Ontario will announce reforms to ticket selling legislation on Monday, after a public consultation found widespread support for more transparent sales and more rules for resellers, The Canadian Press has learned.

The attorney general sought public feedback earlier this year on how to craft legislation on ticket buying and resale, including how to shut “scalper bots,” which scoop up huge blocks of tickets that quickly appear on resale sites at higher prices.

Of the 34,700 people who responded to the government’s online survey, 89 per cent said ticket-buying software should be illegal and the same percentage said there should be a cap on ticket resale mark-ups.

The results of the survey, obtained by The Canadian Press, were released Friday.

“We heard loud and clear through our survey that people are frustrated seeing the tickets they want sell out right away, only to see them pop up for resale at a massive markup,” Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said in a statement.

“That isn’t fair and it isn’t right. That’s why we’re changing the rules to put fans first, provide more information to consumers, and make sure everyone has a fair shot at getting the tickets they want.”

Naqvi has previously admitted enforcing a ban on scalper bots, which are not unique to Ontario, would be difficult.

The opposition parties have charged that it’s a problem of the Liberal government’s own making, since it changed the Ticket Speculation Act in 2015 to make it legal to resell tickets above their original face value.

An outcry from fans shut out of buying tickets to the Tragically Hip’s farewell tour last year prompted the Ontario government to take a look at the issue.

About 90 per cent of people who replied to the government’s online survey said a ticket’s original face value should be displayed by secondary sellers and on resale sites.

When it comes to primary ticket sellers, respondents wanted to see more transparency, with 96 per cent saying the total ticket price — including all taxes and fees — should be made clear up front and 75 per cent said the total number of tickets available for sale should be disclosed.

Not all ticket reselling is a problem, the government says alongside the survey results. Most resellers do so “occasionally and entirely legitimately.”

About 15 per cent of people who took the survey said they had sold tickets online in the past, and two per cent of those people said they bought tickets for the sole purpose of reselling them.

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