New airline passenger rights in Canada
Photo by Michelle Spollen on Unsplash

As of July 15, flyers have new and expanded airline passenger rights in Canada. That means that if you’re booked on a flight into or out of a Canadian city, the new set of services and protections will apply to you. And that’s true no matter whether you’re a Canadian citizen or not. In addition to those already in effect, more of the approved rights will go into use on December 15. CBC has a great outline of all that you need to know, but here are a few highlights:

  • New compensation minimums for bumped passengers: “Anyone who’s denied a seat for reasons in the airline’s control (and not required for safety) is entitled to compensation based on how late they will arrive at their final destination, compared to their original plan. A delay of zero to six hours means $900 in compensation. Six to nine hours means $1,800, and any delay of more than nine hours is worth $2,400 in compensation.”
  • New lost luggage compensation requirements: “Under existing rules, anyone who has a lost bag is entitled to up to $2,100 in compensation if their bag is lost on an international flight. The new rules mandate that compensation level be in effect now for domestic flights, too.”
  • New rules for delayed flights: “Airlines must inform their customers of any disruption to the flight, prior to boarding. That would include any flight and tarmac delays, flight cancellations, or denials of boarding due to causes like overbooking…If there are any such delays, airlines have to provide flight status updates every 30 minutes until a new departure time has been confirmed. The airline must offer any new status information to passengers as soon as is feasible…”

Starting December 15

The additional rights that will go into effect on December 15, also outlined by CBC, include the following:

  • New compensation for delayed passengers: “Passengers on large airlines will get $400 for a delay of between three and six hours, $700 of a delay of six to nine hours, and $1,000 for a delay of nine hours or more. Small airlines must pay $125, $250 and $500, respectively, for those same delays…The compensation can be cash or in vouchers or flight rebates…”
  • New non-compensation entitlements for delayed passengers: “After a delay at departure of two hours, the airline operating the disrupted flight will have to provide food and drink in reasonable quantities, electronic means of communication (e.g., free Wi-Fi)…If a delay runs overnight, airlines will have to offer hotel or other comparable accommodation free of charge, as well as free transportation to the accommodation.”

What’s next?

These new airline passenger rights in Canada are already the subject of contention. Word is that airline trade group IATA, among others, is prepared to fight them. And per USA TODAY, “some disability rights group say the tarmac delay rules don’t go far enough to protect passengers who can’t sit for prolonged lengths of time.”

Stay tuned, and for now, know that when you fly to/from Canada you have expanded rights. For even more, see the full CBC write-up.



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