Canada Announces ‘Passenger Bill of Rights’

Overview

Catching up with the US and EU, new consumer rights for Canadians come into effect this year in two waves, July 15 and December 15. The new system will provide standardized, publicly-accessible passenger rights.

Timeline

The new regulations will be launched in two phases. Some regulations come into force on July 15, while others will not take effect until December 15.  Regulations will apply to all airlines with flights to, from and within Canada, including connecting flights.

                July 15. 2019

  • The first set of rules include the regulations and compensation related to delays on the tarmac, denied boarding, lost and damaged luggage and the transportation of musical instruments.
  • Delays / Cancellations
    • The standards of treatment include ensuring that all passengers have access to working toilets during tarmac delays.
    • Aircraft must be cooled/heated, food/drink provided and the ability to communicate outside the plane free of charge
    • Tarmac delays for three hours will be required to return to the gate so people can get off. The only exception is when a departure is likely within the first 45 minutes after the three-hour time. In that case, the plane can remain where it is.
  • Overbooking / Denied Boarding
    • Overbooking delays of less than six hours will require a minimum $900 payment, delays between six and nine hours mean a minimum $1,800 payment and delays longer than nine hours will see passengers compensated a minimum of $2,400.
  • Lost / Damaged Baggage / Musical Instruments
    • For lost or damaged baggage, an airline will be liable for $2,100 for the lost bag and will also have to refund any baggage fees paid for the lost bag.
    • Airlines are also going to have to include terms and conditions for the transportation of musical instruments whether they are taken as a carry on or are checked into the cargo hold.

December 15, 2019

  • Delays / Cancellations
    • Delayed arrival at a final destination of between three to six hours will cost large airlines $400 and small airlines $125. Delays of between six to nine hour will cost large airlines $700 and small airlines $250. Delays greater than nine hours will cost large airlines $1,000 and smaller airlines half that amount.
    • The regulations do not only require an airline ensure the passenger gets to their final destination, but that they do so in the same class of service.
    • If an airline cannot rebook a passenger on their own airline and the delay is longer than nine hours, the airline has to book the passenger on a competing airline. If the passenger decides the delay has rendered the trip useless they will get a refund and the required financial compensation.
  • Child Seating
    • Airlines will also have to ensure that children under the age of five are seated next to their parent or guardian, children aged five to 11 are in the same row and no more than one seat away from their parent or guardian and children aged 12 or 13 are no more than one row away.

Highlights

  • The regulations will apply to all flights to, from and within Canada, including connecting flights. Large airlines, those that have serviced two million passengers or more in the last two years, will have a slightly different regulatory regime than smaller airlines in some cases.
  • Smaller airlines, for example, will have to pay less compensation for delays or cancellations that are within the airline’s control but are not related to safety issues.
  • Airlines that don’t adhere to the new standards can be fined up to $25,000 per incident by the Canadian Transport Agency.