MONTREAL — The federal transport minister has heard the many gripes of frustrated travellers who’ve been booted off oversold flights or lost their luggage and is finally doing something about it.
Marc Garneau says the Liberals will introduce an air passenger rights regime in the coming months that will establish clear, minimum requirements so Canadians know their rights – and when they are eligible for compensation.
The plan would pull ideas from dozens of other countries that have similar regimes, including the United States and members of the European Union. It would craft into Canadian law something that had been pushed by the NDP and picked up on by the previous Conservative government but never turned into reality.
Garneau says the regime will be clear and fair to travellers and airlines, and include compensation standards for passengers denied boarding due to factors within the carrier’s control, or in cases of lost or damaged baggage.
He also says the government wants to help drive down the cost of air travel by loosening Canada’s strict foreign investment rules for airlines to help create more competition from low-cost carriers.
International companies, he says, will soon be able to own 49% of an airline in Canada, a jump from the current 25%, once the government makes the necessary legislative amendments.
In the meantime, Garneau says he is granting exemptions that will allow aspiring discount airlines Canada Jetlines and Enerjet to land more international investors, giving the airlines what they have long requested.
Garneau also laid out the government’s transportation plans for the coming decades, including putting black boxes in locomotives, changes to airport security to avoid lengthy delays for travellers, and stricter environmental standards for the transport sector.
The government has been looking at making major changes to how goods and people are moved by road, rail and air after a sweeping review of the Transportation Act was released earlier this year.
With file from The Canadian Press