CATO - Canadian Association of Tour Operators

Membership Criteria and Application

An application form request is at the bottom of this page.

Tour Operator Membership Qualification Criteria

Membership to the Canadian Association of Tour Operators shall be granted to all companies who qualify, based on the following criteria:

  1. Any applicant company which fulfills the definition of 'Outbound Tour Operator or Wholesaler', with a minimum of CAD$ 5 Million annual gross sales for all brands in Canada may apply to join as ACTIVE (voting) MEMBERS.
  2. Applicants with less than the minimum gross sales requirement of CAD$ 5 Million may apply to join as ASSOCIATE (non-voting) MEMBERS.
  3. Minimum 3 years of uninterrupted business as a Tour Operator with no substantive change in ownership or management. Membership must include all brands operated by the same parent company.
  4. No history of bankruptcy, fraud or similar breaches for the last three years.
  5. Be in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations and be duly qualified and licensed to do business in each jurisdiction which requires such qualification or licensing.
  6. Active and Associate Members must maintain Professional Liability Insurance with a minimum of CAD$ 1 Million coverage, underwritten by a reputable insurance company.
  7. New applications for Active (voting) and Associate (non-voting) membership must be supported by two existing unrelated or affiliated members.

Supporting Member Category

In addition to the above, Suppliers and Destination Tourism Authorities or other interested organizations supportive of CATO and the travel industry may apply as SUPPORTING MEMBERS

Membership acceptance in all categories is subject to approval by two-thirds (2/3) of the Active (voting) membership, within 30 days after having been proposed and circulated.

Privileges and Benefits of CATO Membership:

  1. Representation with Governments and regulatory bodies at all levels, in Canada and internationally.
  2. Direct involvement and representation at TICO, and on other boards, dealing with all matters affecting tour operators, e.g. Compensation funding and payouts, alternate compensation fund financing, liability issues, and any other issues affecting all tour operators, etc...
  3. Retail trade interaction and input.
  4. When required, Members have access to direct communications links allowing pertinent and timely exchanges with other Member tour Operators concerning matters of mutual interest.
  5. CATO Red alert contact in Emergencies.
  6. Crisis co-ordination and Public Relations voice in emergency situations, allowing operators to act confidently in a measured, concerted manner for the benefit of their passengers.
  7. Positive Tour Operator Publicity.
  8. CATO Logo Recognition and use on Operator published materials. Associate and Supporting Members must include and utilize the appropriate 'Associate Member' or 'Supporting Member' designation subscribed under the CATO logo for their published material.
  9. Networking opportunities with key industry colleagues and partners, within the most representative and significant organization of professional Tour Operators in Canada.
  10. Broad-based and respected Tour Operator industry voice that speaks on members' behalf, recognized by governments and other industry associations as representing the outbound tour operating industry in Canada.
  11. Listing and identification on Association website, with direct links to each Member's own website(s).

Active (voting) Members have equal voting privileges. One Member = One Vote.

Every Member's input is valued and considered, regardless of category or relative size.

Decisions are generally made by consensus. If serious objections are raised to a particular course of action, it is unlikely the Association would undertake said course of action.

Issues that affect only a certain type of member shall be dealt with by those members affected.

Emergency issues are dealt with on an ad hoc basis as they arise, e.g. crisis or force majeure event management, etc.

Other issues which affect all equally, are dealt with by all, or an appointed representative committee.

Membership in CATO is considered a National membership including all of Canada. Co-operation between CATO and ATOQ (Association des Tours Opérateurs du Québec) is permanent and ongoing, sharing similar goals.

A General Membership Meeting for Active (voting) and Associate Members is held on an annual basis in the Spring, usually in Toronto, Ontario to receive and approve financial statements, as well as to deal with any other matters as required. Conference Calls are held also as necessary on a quarterly basis, supplemented by electronic updates and communication. Additional meetings may be held from time to time as required, and in other locations and/or provinces.


To download the Application Form for Active (voting) and Associate (non-voting) Membership, CLICK HERE.

To download the Application Form for Supporting Membership, CLICK HERE.



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