Minister Garneau directs the Canadian Transportation Agency to develop a new regulation to address future large-scale flight cancellations
December 21, 2020 Ottawa Transport Canada
The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, issued this statement today on a new Ministerial Direction to the Canadian Transportation Agency to ensure that the interests of Canadians are protected when they travel by air:
“Air travel is essential to Canada's economic growth and prosperity, and when Canadians buy an airline ticket, they expect airlines to meet their obligations. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a gap in the air passenger protection framework, which did not foresee the potential for large-scale and lengthy flight cancellations and groundings of air carrier fleets not only in Canada but globally. In the event of a future situation that causes similar large-scale flight cancellations, this gap needs to be closed so that travellers are treated fairly.
“Today I issued a Ministerial Direction to provide the Canadian Transportation Agency with the authority to develop a new regulation on the issue of refunds to passengers. This new regulation will apply to future flights that are cancelled for reasons outside an air carrier’s control, such as a pandemic, and where it is not possible for the carrier to complete the passenger’s itinerary within a reasonable timeframe.
“This updated regulation should be made in a manner that is fair and reasonable to passengers, and to the extent possible not impose an undue financial burden on air carriers that could lead to their insolvency. As I announced on November 8, 2020, the Government of Canada is developing a package of assistance to Canadian airlines, airports and the aerospace sector that will include strict conditions to protect Canadians and the public interest, including issuing refunds for flights cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new regulation will ensure that a similar situation doesn’t occur again in the future.”
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