Halifax, NS (December 20, 2022) - Air Passenger Rights, Canada’s independent nonprofit consumer advocacy group for air travellers, has filed its report with the House of Commons Transport Committee on the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR). The report shows that Canada’s air passenger protection regime is unnecessarily complex, creates barriers to access to justice for passengers, and does not offer adequate protection to Canadians.
Air Passenger Rights’s report urges harmonization with the European Union’s passenger protection regime, and provides five key recommendations for amending Canada’s air passenger protection laws:
- Establish simple criteria for automatic standardized compensation of passengers for flight delay, flight cancellation, and denial of boarding.
- Impose a clear burden of proof on airlines to present evidence about the circumstances of a travel disruption.
- Establish common sense definitions for “flight cancellation” and “denial of boarding.”
- Codify the right to a refund in the original form of payment of the itinerary if the passenger chooses not to travel due to a flight’s cancellation, delay, or denial of boarding by the airline.
- Impose enforcement measures that include mandatory and minimum penalties, and higher maximum penalties.
“The status quo is untenable,” the 29-page document concludes. “The [...] framework should be harmonized with the European Union’s passenger protection regime, which has been tested and proven to work for more than 16 years.”
In 2017, it was predicted that the government’s air passenger protection framework would “double the amount of compensation that passengers are not going to receive.”
By 2022, that prediction has proven to be an underestimate. The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has a soaring backlog of 30,000 passenger complaints in spite of substantial additional temporary funds announced in the 2022 budget.
“The problem is compounded by the CTA’s systemic failure to impose meaningful penalties on airlines that disobey the APPR,” said Dr. Gábor Lukács, president of Air Passenger Rights. “As it stands, it is more profitable for airlines to violate passengers’ rights than to obey the law.”
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities is currently conducting a study of the APPR.
The Air Passenger Rights report, entitled “From the Ground up: Revamping Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regime,” is available online.
About Air Passenger Rights
Air Passenger Rights is Canada’s independent, nonprofit organization of volunteers working to make the travelling public aware of its rights and capable of enforcing them. The organization’s mission is to turn helpless passengers into empowered travelers through education, advocacy, investigation, and litigation.
For further information, please contact:
Dr. Gábor Lukács