CTA releases What We Heard Report summarizing its air passenger protection consultations
Gatineau, Quebec – October 16, 2018 – The Canadian transportation Agency (CTA) today released its What We Heard Report, summarizing the input it received from Canadians over the course of its national consultations on new air passenger protection regulations.
The three-month consultation process gave the travelling public, the airline industry, consumer rights groups, and other interested parties a variety of channels for providing information, ideas, and suggestions. The level of public and stakeholder engagement was very high.
During the process, there were close to 31,000 visits to the consultation website and, 4,923 online questionnaires were completed, 463 written comments were sent in through the website, 930 randomly-selected travellers filled out surveys in 11 different airports, 104 formal written submissions were sent to the CTA, 39 in-depth discussions were held with key stakeholders and experts, and 203 Canadians attended in-person consultation sessions in eight cities and a phone-in consultation session.
All written feedback received and transcripts of the in-person sessions are available on the CTA's Air passenger protection regulations web page. The CTA is now developing air passenger protection regulations based on the input received, as well as best practices and lessons learned in other jurisdictions.
What we Heard
Common points made by the public include:
- Clear, concise, accurate, and regular communication from airlines is important so that passengers know their rights, particularly during flight disruptions;
- Compensation for flight delays and cancellations within an airline's control should be fair, reflect losses and inconvenience, and discourage overbooking;
- During tarmac delays, airlines should provide necessities such as food, water, and working lavatories and should be required to let passengers leave the plane after 3 hours (the earliest this obligation could kick in by law); and
- The regulations should be developed taking into account the accessibility-related needs of persons with disabilities.
Consumer advocates generally agree that:
- Communication of passenger rights must be done in simple, concise and clear language;
- Compensation for delays and cancellations within the control of the airline should reflect how late the passenger arrives at their destination, with cash as the primary payment form; and
- Non-compliance with the regulations must be addressed through timely, fair, and effective complaint and enforcement mechanisms.
Key themes raised by the air industry include:
- There are many players and factors impacting flights, and the regulations should not penalize airlines for flight disruptions caused by others;
- The regulations should not create duplicative regimes for flights from jurisdictions that already have passenger protection rules and should align with the Montreal Convention; and
- The rules should not be punitive and should not hinder the ability of airlines to innovate and distinguish themselves in the marketplace.
"We thank the many Canadians who participated in the CTA's consultations on air passenger protection regulations for their valuable input. All the information and suggestions received are being carefully considered as we prepare the regulations. We're committed to ensuring that the new rules are clear, transparent, fair, and consistent – and to getting them done as soon as possible."
Scott Streiner, Chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency
The proposed regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette.
For more information
Visit the CTA's Air passenger protection regulations web page.
New provisions of the Canada Transportation Act, which were added by the Transportation Modernization Act, mandate the CTA to develop regulations setting out airlines' obligations toward passengers with respect to flight delays and cancellations, denied boarding (bumping), tarmac delays over three hours, damaged or lost baggage, seating of children with parents or guardians, the transportation of musical instruments, and communication with passengers. For most of these categories, the law states that the regulations should prescribe minimum standards of treatment. For several (flight delays or cancellations within the airline's control, denied boarding within the airline's control, and lost or damaged baggage), the law also provides for minimum levels of compensation.