Canadian travellers to be compensated up to $1,000 for flight delays, cancellations

Canada’s new air passenger protection rights come into effect Sunday.

Under the Canadian Transportation Agency’s (CTA) new Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), which roll out Dec. 15, passengers will be provided with compensation of up to $1,000 for flight delays or cancellations, for reasons within the airlines control (except safety reasons).

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Passengers will also be provided with amenities, for example, food and drink, access to communication and hotel accommodations, in the event of delays or cancellations.

The regulations apply to any airlines flying to, from and within Canada.

Starting Sunday, airlines will have to take steps to seat children under the age of 14 near to their accompanying adult at no extra cost.

Proximity to the accompanying adult will depend on the child’s age. For example, if a child is under 5 years old, the adult will need to be in an adjacent seat, but if the child is 12 or 13 years old, they will be separated from the adult by no more than one row.

“Air travellers will now have full rights when things don’t go as expected,” said Minister of Transport Marc Garneau.

“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.”

If airlines fail to follow the new rules, they could face a penalty of up to $25,000 per incident, according to the CTA.

“Both air passengers and airlines deserve a consistent approach that allows passengers to be treated fairly while ensuring the industry remains strong and competitive,” said Garneau.

The CTA has also developed an online tool, available at airpassengerprotection.ca, to help passengers learn about their rights and file air travel complaints.

An earlier update to APPR came into effect in July, which provided regulations related to denied boarding, transporting musical instruments, communication and lost or damaged baggage.

The CTA began developing the APPR in May 2018 and conducted a three-month consultation with travellers, consumer rights groups and the airline industry.  

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