British Columbia

B.C. government announces public consultation on ticket scalping

People will have 3 weeks to fill out an online form about the practice

March 07, 2018

B.C. currently has no laws against the reselling of tickets. (Elizabeth McMillan/CBC)
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The B.C. government has announced a plan to crack down on online ticket scalping, in the hopes of making tickets to popular events more easily available to the general public.

"Live events should be an enjoyable experience for British Columbians, not a windfall for scalpers," said Solicitor General Mike Farnworth in a statement.

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"The action we're taking is aimed at protecting people from unscrupulous scalpers and unfair practices that shut average people out from events in B.C."

The first step of the plan is an online survey, which can be taken here. The survey will be open for three weeks and the government will issue a report in June. 

British Columbia currently has no laws against ticket scalping.  A number of jurisdictions, including Alberta and Ontario, have passed laws to ban scalper bots, but the long-term effectiveness of such moves is still unknown. 

Government defends consultations

Farnworth said last October his ministry was looking at options for cracking down on scalpers, and NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert has been advocating for a ban on scalper bots since 2016. 

Despite that, the timeline of the consultation means any legislation on scalper bots won't be coming forward until the fall of 2018 at the earliest. 

"There are other legislative models in place in different provinces, but they are quite variable.  We want to hear from people here in B.C., as well as the industry in B.C., and we think that will form a strong basis for us to make the right decision," said Farnworth.  

The consultation is one of several the government is overseeing at the moment, including high-profile consultations on spill regulation, ICBC rates and the Agricultural Land Reserve, all of which were launched over the past five weeks.

"If we didn't consult, you'd probably be going 'why didn't you consult with British Columbians?'" said Farnworth when asked if this particular consultation was necessary. 

"I've always found that public consultation works ... on this, I think consultation is appropriate, because there's industry out there that has expertise, there's the public that has experience, and we want to get all of that in. You know what, I am not going to apologize."

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