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e-4376 (Transportation)

Initiated by Gabor Lukacs from Halifax, Nova Scotia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Canada's air passenger protection regime continues to fall short of the standards set in other jurisdictions, such as the European Union;
  • The Canadian Transportation Agency has a growing backlog of over 42,000 complaints from air passengers as of March 20, 2023;
  • The Minister of Transport has acknowledged that Canada's Air Passenger Protection Regulations are not sufficiently protecting Canadian air passengers; and
  • Bill C-327 was drafted in collaboration with leading consumer advocacy groups, addressing their major legislative recommendations to protect Canadian air passengers.
We, the undersigned, Residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to immediately introduce a government bill reflecting the entirety of Bill C-327, the Strengthening Air Passenger Protections Act, and prioritize its swift passage into law.

Response by the Minister of Transport

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez

The creation of the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), which fully came into force in December 2019, provided an important framework of rights for Canadians when air travel does not go as planned, clarifying minimum standards of treatment and compensation that must be provided to passengers based on the level of control an airline has over a flight disruption.

These regulations were immediately and severely tested by extraordinary circumstances that occurred because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a sudden rapid recovery of demand. The lack of clarity in the framework led to a significant and growing backlog of complaints with the Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) and the lessons learned throughout these events provided the Government of Canada with valuable insight, including areas of the regulatory framework that needed to be strengthened.   

As a result, legislative amendments were introduced in the Budget Implementation Act, 2023, No.1, which received Royal Assent on June 22, 2023, to strengthen Canada’s air passenger rights regime. This places the onus on air carriers where it is presumed that compensation is payable unless they can demonstrate otherwise, streamlining the processes for administering air travel complaints before the Agency, increasing air carriers’ accountability, and providing the Agency with enhanced enforcement authorities for APPR-related non-compliance.

Following these recent legislative amendments to the Canada Transportation Act, the Agency has implemented a more streamlined process for resolving air travel complaints, which took effect on September 30, 2023, and has been designed to increase the Agency’s ability to provide timely dispute resolution services to Canadians for both new and existing complaints in the backlog.

The Agency has also undertaken a regulatory process to update the APPR, which includes consultations with Canadians, passenger rights representatives, and air industry stakeholders to inform upcoming changes. The updated regulations are expected to be in place at the earliest opportunity and are intended to ensure that travellers are fairly compensated in all cases where disruptions occur, except in exceptional circumstances that will be specifically defined in regulations.

The Government is confident that the recent legislative amendments, as well as the upcoming regulatory changes, will address the issues identified in Bill C-327 and go even beyond by streamlining the processes for administering air travel complaints before the Agency, increasing air carriers’ accountability, and requiring the air carriers to pay the costs of assessing eligible complaints that will be referred to the Agency.

Understanding the importance of fair and timely compensation, the legislative amendments to the Act also require airlines to establish a process to deal with passenger complaints within 30 days of receiving them. These changes are a continuation of the Government’s commitment to strengthen air passenger rights. They align with Transport Canada’s core responsibility and commitment to foster an efficient and essential transportation system and implement rules and policies that promote choice and improved service to Canadian travellers.


Open for signature
March 31, 2023, at 3:21 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
July 29, 2023, at 3:21 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Taylor Bachrach (Skeena—Bulkley Valley)
October 5, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01735)
Government response tabled
November 20, 2023
Photo - Taylor Bachrach
Skeena—Bulkley Valley
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia