CAA Manitoba President Tim Scott.
New air passenger rights chart a clearer course for Canadian travellers.
For some of us, air travel is stressful enough—even when everything goes according to plan. When things go wrong, Canadians travellers now have new rights to protect them.
After a few years of research, consultation and debate, Transport Canada implemented the start of a new air passenger bill of rights in July of this year. Canadians are now eligible for up to $2,400 for lost or damaged baggage and for getting bumped off a flight. A number of changes are being phased in over time. The remainder of the rights package will come into force on December 15, 2019 and is set to include cash compensation for long delays and cancellations.
But it isn’t just about money. Dreaded tarmac delays will be limited to three hours, at which point the aircraft must return to the gate and provide passengers with access to washrooms, food, water and air conditioning. And all communications from an airline will have to contain clear information on passenger rights and how to access them, so travellers won’t be confused if a problem arises.
CAA was a key stakeholder in creating these rules to offer more protections for Canadians and to empower consumers. Before this legislation, there were no national standards like those in other countries. So airlines flying in Canada each had their own set of guidelines that were enforced to varying degrees. Since the regulations are now public, everyone can identify if an airline is following the rules. If something goes wrong on a trip, you can easily search online for compensation requirements or ask your travel agent—meaning airlines must be more accountable.
Travellers are encouraged to visit the Canadian Transportation Agency at airpassengerprotection.ca to find out more or file a complaint. CAA will continue to advocate on your behalf. And we’ll actively monitor how well the airlines follow the new rules and their enforcement by the federal government, so we can see how effective these protections really are. Knowing your rights—and that CAA will always defend them—will mean safer travels for all Canadians.