Faced with the prospect of being forced out of business, some Canadian ticket brokers are contemplating legal action to try to stop a proposed ticket resale law in Quebec that would prohibit sales above face value.
Earlier this month, Quebec’s Minister of Justice Jean-Marc Fournier proposed the bill, “An Act to prohibit the resale of tickets at a price above that announced by the authorized vendor,” which was quickly met with opposition by the Canadian Ticket Brokers Association (CTBA) who labeled it “extreme legislation.”
Now, Quebec-based ticket brokers are reportedly reviewing their options as it pertains to the bill, and one, Quality Plus Tickets, has retained noted Montreal attorney and legal professor Julius Grey to represent them in a possible lawsuit.
Grey did not reply to a message seeking comment, but he told CBC News that brokers believe the proposed legislation is unfair. “I think my clients are very disappointed. They have a legitimate business. It’s not anything illegal or illicit.”
While ticket resale is pervasive throughout Canada — for example, the CBTA boasts more than 20 ticket broker companies as members — public attitudes in the country toward ticket resale appear to more closely mirror those of many Europeans as opposed to their American counterparts where the industry is more widely accepted. Ticket resale in Canada and Europe is frowned upon by some who believe ticket prices are artificially inflated on the secondary market, which led the new owners of the Winnipeg hockey team to cancel some season tickets bought by out-of-town brokers.
The Province of Ontario was also compelled to create its own ticket resale legislation before Quebec. And in the UK, similar legislation has been proposed to cap the amounts resellers can charge for tickets.
“The CTBA is actively working closely with our Quebec members on a strategy to oppose and defeat any legislation designed to restrict the free trade of event tickets,” Mario Livich, spokesperson for the CTBA, told TicketNews.
The short, tersely worded legislation states, “No merchant may sell a ticket to a consumer at a price above that announced by the vendor authorized to sell the tickets by the producer of the event.
“For the purposes of the first paragraph, ‘ticket’ means any document or instrument that upon presentation gives the ticket holder a right of entry to a show, sporting event, cultural event, exhibition or any other kind of entertainment.”
Fournier expects government action on the bill could come by the fall, and Livich said brokers will be ready. “Quebec brokers and the CTBA will be very active in any hearings that may take place.”