CTA launches consultations on proposed amendments to Air Passenger Protection Regulations

CTA launches consultations on proposed amendments to Air Passenger Protection Regulations

GATINEAU, QC — The Canadian Transportation Agency is launching consultations on proposed amendments to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations – and Canadians are invited to share their feedback.

The consultation period will be open for 30 days, ending Aug. 10, 2023. The CTA will then draft regulations, which will ultimately be finalized and approved by the CTA and Cabinet. Both the draft regulations and the finalized regulations will be published in Canada Gazette Part I and Part II, respectively. The Canada Gazette is the official newspaper of the federal government and is available online.

Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, first announced that proposed amendments to the Canada Transportation Act had been introduced as part of Bill C-47, the Budget Implementation Act, back in April 2023.

The proposed amendments aim to strengthen Canada’s passenger rights regime, streamline the processes for administering air travel complaints before the CTA, and increase air carriers’ accountability.

The new proposed amendments to the Act would, among other things, allow the CTA to modify its regulations to…

  • Make compensation mandatory for all disruptions, unless the disruption was caused by very limited circumstances that would be specifically defined by regulations;
  • Remove exemptions to air carriers’ compensation obligations based on broad categories of disruptions (e.g., disruptions outside/within the control of airlines or required for safety);
  • Make standards of treatment, such as the provision of food and water, mandatory for all flight disruptions;
  • Establish requirements for delayed baggage and prescribe parameters around refund requirements as a result of a travel advisory issued by the government.
  • The amendments would also…
  • Replace the current process for resolving air travel complaints, which includes an adjudication process by Governor in Council-appointed members, with a more simplified process conducted primarily by CTA staff to ensure travellers get quicker decisions;
  • Impose a greater burden of proof on air carriers where it is presumed that compensation is payable to a complainant, unless the air carrier proves the contrary;
  • Require air carriers to establish an internal process for dealing with air travel claims;
  • . Broaden the authority of the CTA to set fees and charges to recover its costs; and;
  • . Enhance the CTA’s enforcement powers with respect to the air transportation sector by allowing the CTA to increase the maximum amount of Administrative Monetary Penalties applicable to the APPR for corporations and by providing the CTA with the authority to enter into compliance agreements with air carriers.

“It is clear that a stronger and simpler system is needed to increase air carriers’ accountability and transparency, reduce the number of incidents referred to the [CTA], and streamline the [CTA’s] processes for addressing travel complaints. The proposed amendments would significantly enhance our air passenger rights regime to ensure travellers get the services and treatment they pay for and deserve,” said Minister Alghabra in April.


The CTA says its site has more instructions for providing comments on the Consultation Paper.

“The Canadian Transportation Agency welcomes the opportunity to improve the air passenger protection regime. We are committed to improving how air passengers complaints are processed and to provide better services to Canadians,” says France Pégeot, CTA Chair and CEO.

In March 2023 Minister Alghabra announced new government funding to the tune of $75.9 million over three years to make it possible for the CTA to hire more employees and make a significant dent in the processing of complaints. At that point the number of passenger rights complaints in the queue to be processed by the CTA was 42,000.


For its part, the CTA says the proposed changes to the APPR are intended to clarify, simplify and strengthen consumer protection for air passengers. Specifically …

. Passengers will be eligible for assistance and compensation in more circumstances than under the existing regulations.

. It will be easier for passengers to understand whether or not they are entitled to assistance or compensation from airlines when there is a flight disruption.

. Airlines will have more clarity on their responsibilities in the event of a flight disruption.

On its site, the CTA says: “Under the existing APPR, passenger entitlements depend on how a flight disruption is categorized (within airline control, within airline control but required for safety or outside airline control), making it difficult for passengers and airlines to know what passengers are entitled to, and making the regulations difficult to enforce.

“The amendments to the Act eliminated the three flight disruption categories and require airlines to provide compensation for inconvenience to passengers when there is a flight disruption, unless there are exceptional circumstances, which the CTA will have to define by regulation. They also put the burden on airlines to prove the situation is an exceptional circumstance.

“Changes proposed to the APPR would establish passenger entitlements that apply in the case of all flight disruptions, and any entitlements that may apply in exceptional circumstances.”

One objective of the consultations is to define these exceptions.

Airlines cancelling flights and then refusing passenger compensation for ‘crew constraints’, saying that crew shortages constitute a safety issue and are therefore not eligible for compensation, have been a major sticking point coming out of the pandemic.

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