Canada’s Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau has issued a new ministerial direction to the Canadian Transportation Agency to develop a new regulation to address future large-scale flight cancellations.
In a statement, Minister Garneau said that: “Air travel is essential to Canada’s economic growth and prosperity, and when Canadians buy an airline ticket, they expect airlines to meet their obligations. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a gap in the air passenger protection framework, which did not foresee the potential for large-scale and lengthy flight cancellations and groundings of air carrier fleets not only in Canada but globally. In the event of a future situation that causes similar large-scale flight cancellations, this gap needs to be closed so that travellers are treated fairly.”
Minister Garneau’s statement continued: “Today I issued a Ministerial Direction to provide the Canadian Transportation Agency with the authority to develop a new regulation on the issue of refunds to passengers. This new regulation will apply to future flights that are cancelled for reasons outside an air carrier’s control, such as a pandemic, and where it is not possible for the carrier to complete the passenger’s itinerary within a reasonable timeframe.”
And the Minister advised that: “This updated regulation should be made in a manner that is fair and reasonable to passengers, and to the extent possible not impose an undue financial burden on air carriers that could lead to their insolvency.”
Minister Garneau concluded: “As I announced on Nov. 8, 2020, the Government of Canada is developing a package of assistance to Canadian airlines, airports and the aerospace sector that will include strict conditions to protect Canadians and the public interest, including issuing refunds for flights cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new regulation will ensure that a similar situation doesn’t occur again in the future.”