GATINEAU: Effective Sunday, December 15, air passengers have new rights under the Canadian Transportation Agency’s (CTA) Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR).
Airlines flying to, from and within Canada will need to provide passengers with:
• compensation of up to $1,000 for flight delays or cancellations for reasons within the airlines’ control (except for safety reasons); and
• amenities when there is a flight delay or cancellation within the airline’s control (reasonable food and drink; access to communication; and hotel accommodations for overnight delays).
In addition, airlines will have to take steps to seat children under the age of 14 near their accompanying adult, at no extra cost. A child must be seated near their accompanying adult at a proximity that depends on their age:
• under 5 years, in an adjacent seat;
• 5 to 11 years, in the same row, and separated by no more than one seat;
• 12 or 13 years, separated by no more than a row.
Other airline obligations under the APPR – related to denied boarding, transportation of musical instruments, lost or damaged baggage and communication – came into force in July 2019.
To help passengers navigate their rights, the CTA has an online service for air passengers at airpassengerprotection.ca. This dedicated website is a one-stop-shop for air passengers to learn about their rights, file an air travel complaint, and find tips for hassle-free travel.
“Travelling by air has become an integral part of modern life. Most of the time, our trips unfold without a hitch, but sometimes things do not go as planned. These new air passenger rights are coming into force just in time for the peak air travel season, passengers now have a clear, comprehensive set of rights that will help ensure fair treatment when they travel by air – whether they’re flying from, to or within this vast country,” said Scott Streiner, Chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency
In May 2018, the CTA began developing Air Passenger Protection Regulations to establish airline obligations towards passengers, including minimum compensation levels and standards of treatment in different circumstances.
The CTA consulted broadly for three months with the travelling public, consumer rights groups, and the airline industry through a variety of channels, including public sessions across the country, online questionnaires, surveys of passengers in airports, face-to-face meetings with key experts and stakeholders, and written submissions and comments. Following pre-publication of the regulations in Part I of the Canada Gazette, the CTA reviewed all feedback received. The CTA took all consultation input into account in finalizing the regulations.
Airlines are now required to follow all the obligations set out in the regulations and could be subject to administrative monetary penalties of up to $25,000 per incident for non-compliance.
The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal and regulator that has, with respect to all matters necessary for the exercise of its jurisdiction, all the powers of a superior court. The CTA has three core mandates: helping to keep the national transportation system running efficiently and smoothly, protecting the fundamental right of persons with disabilities to accessible transportation services, and providing consumer protection for air passengers.