Source: Transport Canada

The air sector plays a crucial role in connecting Canadians from coast to coast to coast and to the world. The sector also helps create good, middle-class jobs and build an economy that works for everyone. However, following the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery has been difficult, and travellers have experienced many flight delays and cancellations that are unacceptable. These travellers have rights, and the Government of Canada will continue to ensure that they are respected by the airlines.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honorable Omar Alghabra, announced $75.9 million in additional funding over three years, starting in 2023-24, to ensure the Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) has the resources to address passenger rights complaints, and strengthen the operation of the federal transportation network, enabling the Agency to efficiently deliver on its mandate for Canadians. For example, the new funding will make it possible to hire more employees to deal with complaints.

In 2019, for the first time in Canadian history, an air passenger rights regime, called the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), was implemented to clarify minimum requirements and compensation based on whether an airline has control over the disruption or not. During the pandemic, the government strengthened these rights to include refunds for situations outside the airline’s control, including major weather events or a pandemic.

The funding announced today will help strengthen passenger rights by giving the Agency additional resources to carry out its mandate and reduce the backlog of existing complaints.

The Government of Canada is also working on significant reforms to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations to ensure passenger rights are even more protected. These changes will place Canada at the forefront of passenger protections globally and, together with other steps to be taken, will help prevent the frustrating passenger experiences of last summer and over the holiday season.

The Minister of Transport of Canada Omar Alghabra commented that “travellers have rights, and these rights must be respected by airlines. When airlines do not provide the reimbursement or compensation to which travellers are entitled, the Canadian Transportation Agency is there to ensure passenger rights are respected. Today’s announcement helps give the Agency more resources to deal with complaints and ensure the rules are respected. Our government also continues to work to strengthen and clarify travellers’ rights.”