New Ford government is caps off in Liberal’s anti-scalping law

Jul 4, 2018 | Arts, News

Singer Taylor Swift performs during her reputation stadium tour at Wembley Stadium in London on June 22. She is two months into her seven-month long world tour. (REUTERS/Simon Dawson)

Celeste Decaire

Ontario’s new Conservative government has put a hold on the Liberal’s anti-scalping law that would have capped scalpers’ ticket prices.

Doug Ford’s government is overruling a section of the Ticket Sales Act, a law enacted by the Liberals that would have outlawed ticket markups of more than 50 per cent.

Erin Benjamin, the executive director of Music Canada Live, the national trade association for the live music industry, said the law needs a tune up.

“We have always said that price caps don’t solve the problem. The problem is lack of access to tickets to high demand shows and when there are tickets available, they are very expensive in the resale market,” Benjamin said.

The issue with restricting ticket prices is the inability to enforce or regulate this cap. Portions of the law banning ticket-buying robots remain in effect, but its unclear what the new government will do to protect consumers.

“We’ve been working with the former government and will work with the new government to ensure that the legislation, at least from the industry perspective, meets the needs of consumers. Consumers first. Fans first. Always,” Benjamin said.

She said the issue starts with buyer knowledge. A buyer needs to be careful about the links they’re clicking on and be sure to purchase directly from the box-office, Benjamin said.

They should also ensure they’re purchasing in Canadian dollars. These are common mistakes that rope fans into steep prices and ultimately, disappointment, Benjamin said.

“It’s buyer beware. Fraudulent transactions, fake tickets, deceptive marketing. Often the music industry gets blamed for that, and we have no connection to any of that activity,” she said.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath took to Twitter Wednesday to write Ford’s new move will negatively impact fans and families purchasing tickets to attend live events.

However, restricting resale prices has been opposed by scalping websites which have praised the Ford government’s decision. Websites like StubHub, Ticketmaster and Vivid Seats argue the impact the law will have needs to be re-evaluated.

Major shows are headlining Toronto’s venues this summer, including Taylor Swift, Elton John, and Bruno Mars. Tickets have been marked up to more than double their face value, but apparently some fans’ dedication to see a show sometimes has no price limit.