The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) announced last week that it has finalized the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), a new set of rules that requires airlines to compensate travelers who are bumped from flights due to overbooking, or who would have to wait at the airport for hours due to delays.
This new bill follows in the footsteps of the EU regulations, which force airlines to pay passengers for overbooking, flight delays and lost luggage.
"The Air Passenger Protection Regulations establish a clear, consistent set of minimum airline obligations towards passengers if, for example, their flight is delayed or canceled, they're bumped from an overbooked flight, they sit on a plane during a tarmac delay, or their bag is lost or damaged,” said Scott Streiner, chairman and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency, in a statement.
“Thousands of Canadians participated in the consultations that helped shape these new rules,” Streiner said. We're grateful for their input, and confident that these groundbreaking regulations will help ensure passengers are treated fairly if their air travel doesn't go smoothly."
The regulations are set to come into effect in two phases.
Phase one is due to roll out on July 15, and will require airlines to update passengers regularly about flight information; provide compensation for bumping passengers and for losing luggage; and communicate passenger’s rights and ensure basic standards of treatment, such as allowing travelers to leave the plane under certain conditions when flights are delayed for more than three hours.
Phase two of the bill will take effect beginning Dec. 15, and will require airlines to compensate passengers for up to $1,000 for flight delays and cancellations; rebook or refund passengers when flights are delayed or canceled; provide food and drink during extended delays; and facilitate seating kids with their parents or guardians.
“Our goal was to provide a world-leading approach to air passenger rights that would be predictable and fair for passengers while ensuring our air carriers remain strong and competitive. After a long and thorough consultation process, I am proud to say these new regulations achieve that balance and will give air travelers the rights and treatment they pay for and deserve,” said Marc Garneau, Canada’s transport minister, in an interview with CBC News.
These regulations will apply to all flights to and from Canada, as well as domestic flights.
With the APPR finalized, the CTA is readying to take steps to ensure that the new rules are fully understood and respected by passengers and airlines alike. The CTA will issue a first batch of plain-language guidance material as soon as next week, and is expected to launch a program of education, monitoring, and enforcement to help make sure the regulations are followed within a month.