New Air Passenger Regulations for Canadian Travellers

Flight rights for travellers now in place.

Lost luggage. Flight delay. Getting bumped. Talk to any traveller and chances they’ve got a tale to tell about a travel experience that was anything but smooth. Some experiences, however, are more disruptive than others and the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has introduced regulations that aim to help travellers ride out the turbulence when things get bumpy.

The regulations, officially called the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, come into effect in two phases. The first, came into force on July 15, 2019 and the second round will come into effect on December 15, 2019.

First Phase of the Air Passenger Bill of Rights

According to the CTA, beginning July 15, 2019, airlines are required to:

  • communicate to passengers, in a simple, clear way, information on their rights and recourses and regular updates in the event of flight delays and cancellations;
  • provide compensation of up to $2,400 for bumping a passenger for reasons within the airlines’ control;
  • ensure passengers receive prescribed standards of treatment during all tarmac delays and allow them to leave the airplane, when it’s safe to do so, if a tarmac delay lasts for over three hours and there is no prospect of an imminent take-off;
  • provide compensation for lost or damaged baggage of up to $2,100 and a refund of any baggage fees; and
  • set clear policies for transporting musical instruments.

Compensation for being bumped is tiered. If being bumped results in a delay of 0 to 6 hours the minimum compensation is $900, if the delay is 6 to 9 hours it’s $1,800, and if it’s 9 or more hours it’s $2,400.

Second Phase of the Air Passenger Rules and Regulations

Ahead of the busy holiday season, on December 15, 2019, the second phase of the regulations take effect. These regulations speak mostly to flight disruptions and seating children.

Flight disruptions

For flight delays or cancellations that are within the control of the airline and not related to safety concerns, passengers will be entitled to compensation that is based on the delay of arrival at their final destination. It also varies on whether or not the airline is large or small.

Length of Delay Large Airline Small Airline
3-6 hours $400 $125
6-9 hours $700 $250
9+ hours $1,000 $500

In addition, once a delay hits the two-hour mark, the airline is expected to provide passengers with food and drink, as well as free wi-fi. If a delay is to extend overnight, free accommodation will need to be provided as well as transportation to it.

Seating of children

The regulations also formalize the seating of children with their parent, guardian or tutor. At no cost, the airlines must seat children who are:

  • Under the age of five next to their travelling companion;
  • Between the ages of 5 and 11 in the same row with no more than one seat between them and their travelling companion; and
  • Aged 12 or 13 either the row behind or the row ahead.

For all of the new regulations, visit CTA’s Air Passenger Protection page.

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