Statement by Canadian Transportation Agency Chair & CEO Scott Streiner on the launch of the Air Passenger Protection Consultations on May 28, 2018
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Remarks on the launch of consultations on new Air Passenger Protection Regulations
Air travel is an integral part of modern life. We take planes to see family and friends, visit new places, conduct business.
Most of the time, our flights are uneventful. But when something goes wrong, it can be very frustrating. Partly, this is because passengers often feel they have little control over events. Partly, it's because they may not get information on the reasons for flight disruptions, or may not be sure what their rights are, or may not know whom they can turn to for explanations and recourse.
Historically, airlines have been required to list terms and conditions of carriage in documents called tariffs. The role of the Canadian Transportation Agency, the CTA, has been to deal with complaints from passenger that airlines aren't following their own tariffs, and in some cases, to rule on whether the terms and conditions in those tariffs are reasonable.
The CTA is Canada's longest-standing independent, expert regulator and tribunal. As the primary administrator of the Canada Transportation Act, we observed that the tariffs-only approach did not always result in airline obligations that were as transparent, clear, fair, and consistent as passengers have a right to expect.
The amendments to the Canada Transportation Act that came into force last week will help strengthen passenger rights. They give the CTA a mandate to make regulations specifying a standard set of airline responsibilities if your flight is delayed or cancelled, you're denied boarding onto your flight, your plane is delayed on the tarmac, your bags are lost or damaged, your children need to be seated near you, or you're transporting a musical instrument. For most of these situations, the regulations will establish minimum standards of treatment. For some, they'll also prescribe minimum compensation levels.
We know there's a lot of interest in these matters. Canadians want to have their say. They also want the new rules to take effect without unnecessary delay. Today, the CTA is launching a comprehensive consultation process that will give the public, consumer groups, airlines, and other interested parties a chance to provide their views on what the Air Passenger Protection Regulations should say.
We've set up a dedicated website that includes a discussion paper, a questionnaire, and a link for sending written submissions. We'll be conducting passenger surveys at airports across the country and meeting with key stakeholders. We'll be holding public consultation sessions in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Yellowknife, Winnipeg, Montreal, Halifax, and Ottawa. And we'll be organizing a call-in session open to anyone who wants to offer verbal comments but can't attend an in-person session.
Our consultation website will remain active through July and August. Once consultations are complete, we'll carefully consider all the input received as we develop the regulations.
We want to hear from Canadians. These consultations are their opportunity to shape the new Air Passenger Protection Regulations. We encourage everyone with an interest in the air travel experience – which really, is anyone who flies – to start by visiting our website: airpassengerprotection.ca.