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New Air Passenger Protection Regulations Now in Effect in Canada



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New Air Passenger Protection Regulations Now in Effect in Canada

The federal government has just put into effect new regulations regarding the rights of air passengers in Canada.

Described as “Phase 1 of the new Air Passenger Protection Regulations,” these rules deal with compensation for denied boarding, compensation for lost or damaged luggage, the right to leave a plane during a tarmac delay, and more.

“With input from air travellers and the air industry, we have created a world-leading approach to air passenger rights that is clear, consistent, transparent and fair,” said Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport.

Starting today (July 15, 2019), airlines are required to:

  • Communicate information to passengers in a simple, clear way about their rights and recourses, and provide regular updates in the event of flight delays or cancellations
  • Provide compensation of up to $2,400 for denial of boarding for reasons within the airlines’ control
  • Ensure passengers receive prescribed standards of treatment during all tarmac delays and allow them to leave the airplane, when it’s safe to do so, if a tarmac delay lasts for over three hours and there’s no prospect of an imminent take-off
  • Provide compensation for lost or damaged baggage of up to $2,100 and a refund of any baggage fees
  • Set clear conditions regarding the transportation of musical instruments as checked or carry-on baggage

“I am proud to say that these regulations will apply to all airlines flying to, from, and within Canada, and that airlines will be required to follow these regulations or they could face penalties of up to $25,000 per incident of non-compliance,” Garneau said.

“The new regulations also take into account the realities of small and northern air carriers, as well as ultra-low cost carriers, with requirements adjusted accordingly.”

However, some opposition to the new regulations has already been voiced, with criticisms that these changes will either be ineffective or a downgrade.

“Under the new rules, airlines can keep you on the tarmac for up to 225 minutes. This is more than double the 90-minute limit that was also endorsed by the Senate,” says an article from organization Air Passenger Rights. “The new rule establishes 3 hours as the new limit, and allows the airline to keep you confined to the aircraft for another 45 minutes if take-off is imminent.”

The organization also claims that passengers will most likely not be eligible for denied boarding compensation, as “denial of boarding” is defined narrowly.

“You will get compensation only if you have evidence that at the boarding gate, there were more passengers than the number of seats available on the aircraft, and that all this happened for reasons within the airline’s control and not due to maintenance issues.”

With Phase 1 of the new regulations now in effect, Phase 2, which is related to flight delays, cancellations, and seating children in proximity of a parent or guardian, is planned to come into effect on December 15, 2019.

For a detailed look at the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, click here.

Are you happy with these new regulations or do you agree with the criticisms?

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