Canadian Transportation Agency launches consultations to strengthen air passenger protection
The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has announced the launch of consultations aimed at strengthening air passenger protection in Canada. The consultations will focus on proposed amendments to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) and invite participation from Canadians.
The changes stem from the Budget Implementation Act, which introduced modifications to the Canada Transportation Act to enhance and clarify the existing air passenger protection regime. The CTA will be responsible for creating regulations to implement these changes.
The 30-day consultation period will conclude on August 10, 2023. Feedback and comments received during this period will be taken into consideration by the CTA. Following the consultation process, draft regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette Part I, providing another opportunity for review and comment before finalization, approval by the CTA and Cabinet, and publication in the Canada Gazette II.
One of the key changes proposed is the elimination of the current three categories of flight disruptions used to determine passenger compensation. Instead, airlines will be required to provide compensation for inconvenience to passengers in the event of flight disruptions, except in cases of exceptional circumstances. It will be the responsibility of the airlines to demonstrate that the situation qualifies as an exceptional circumstance. The consultations aim to define these exceptions more precisely.
Additionally, the CTA is proposing other regulatory amendments as a result of the legislative changes and lessons learned since the implementation of the APPR in 2019. These amendments encompass assistance standards, communication requirements, and the definition of passenger entitlements for all flight disruptions, as well as those that would apply in exceptional circumstances. The Consultation Paper provides further details on these proposed changes.
Furthermore, the Budget Implementation Act introduces significant improvements to the efficiency of the CTA's dispute resolution process. It also empowers the CTA to recover costs associated with processing air passenger complaints from the airlines. A separate consultation process specifically addressing these matters will take place later in 2023.
"The Canadian Transportation Agency welcomes the opportunity to improve the air passenger protection regime. We are committed to improving how air passengers’ complaints are processed and to provide better services to Canadians," said France Pégeot, Chair and CEO of the CTA.
The deadline for submitting comments online is August 10, 2023. To access detailed information about the consultation process and instructions on how to provide comments on the Consultation Paper, individuals can visit the CTA's website at: https://formulaires-forms.otc-cta.gc.ca/en/consultation-2023-appr-30.
Photo caption: View from up above the clouds on an airplane.
Photo credit: Alana Repstock