Canada Has A New Plan To Upgrade Air Passenger Rights — Here's What You Need To Know

Buckle up for some legislative turbulence. 💺✈️

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
Canadian passengers watch planes on the tarmac at Vancouver Airport.

Canadian passengers watch planes on the tarmac at Vancouver Airport.

The government is introducing new amendments to the Canada Transportation Act to strengthen air passenger rights and increase the accountability of airlines. The proposed changes would make compensation mandatory for most disruptions, establish mandatory standards of treatment for all flight cancellations or delays, and require airlines to have an internal process for handling claims.

The new amendments would also streamline the process for resolving air travel complaints by allowing the Canadian Transportation Agency to simplify its process to ensure quicker decisions. Airlines will have a greater burden of proof to show that compensation is not payable to a complainant, and the Agency will have more enforcement powers to impose penalties on non-compliant airlines.

"A stronger and simpler system is needed to increase air carriers’ accountability and transparency, reduce the number of incidents referred to the Agency, and streamline the Agency’s processes for addressing travel complaints," Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a statement.

"The proposed amendments would significantly enhance our air passenger rights regime to ensure travellers get the services and treatment they pay for and deserve," he said.

The Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), which provide minimum requirements and compensation for air passengers, were implemented in 2019 and strengthened during the pandemic to include refunds for cancellations and long delays. The new amendments to the Canada Transportation Act will further enhance the APPR and are expected to be in place soon after the Budget Implementation Act receives royal assent.

The Canadian Government has also allocated $76 million over three years to help the Canadian Transportation Agency reduce the backlog of complaints and ensure that airlines meet their obligations swiftly.

Sofia Misenheimer
MTL Blog, Associate Editor
Sofia Misenheimer is an award-winning writer, editor and former radio journalist with a passion for finding hidden gems in the city.