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Explained: the new Canadian air passenger bill of rights

Perhaps you’ve already heard the news! Coverage to your passenger rights will now be extended when flying in, to and from Canada. Certainly, everyone agrees, well besides a small group of airline CEOs, that these changes are beneficial for the passengers and the industry as a whole.

Air passenger rights in Europe have been protected by EC 261/2004 for a while now and legal precedents have been set in various landmark rulings. This makes the enforcement of the regulations more straightforward. We expect that it will take some time before everything is up and running in Canada. Also, as proven by the behaviour of some airlines in Europe, it wouldn’t be surprising if we see carriers try to argue that almost all delays and cancellations are caused by extraordinary circumstances.

Regardless, we welcome the decision by the Canadian government and celebrate that more passengers will have the right to claim compensation if their flight has been delayed or cancelled. Here are the basic facts that you need to know regarding the new Canadian air passenger bill of rights.

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When will the new Canadian air passenger rights come into effect?

The new rules will apply in full on December 15, 2019. However, the rules norming tarmac delays, luggage mishaps, musical instruments transportation, communication standards, compensation for passengers who have been denied boarding and tarmac delays came into effect on July 15.


What are the new rules that have already been put in place?


Regarding tarmac delays, if the plane has been on the tarmac for three hours, then the aircraft must return to the departure gate and allow passengers disembark.

Regarding communication standards, the airlines must communicate the rights of passengers clearly and effectively to the people that use their service. As well as the reason behind a flight’s delay, cancellation or if you were denied boarding.

Regarding lost or damaged luggage, the international coverage extends to internal flights and now passengers whose luggage has been lost or damaged could be entitled to receive up to $2,100 in compensation.


What about compensation if you’ve been denied boarding in Canada?

Changes have been made to the process with which the airlines decide who will be bumped off the plane. They are now obligated to ask for volunteers before they can proceed to choose themselves. As in Europe, if passengers have been bumped off the flight due to overbooking (or other reasons that could not be considered an extraordinary circumstance) they are now entitled to receive compensation. The total monetary compensation to receive will be determined by the length of the delay when arriving at the final destination:

  • 0 to 6 hours = $900 (+/- EUR 613)      
  • 6 to 9 hours = $1,800 (+/- EUR 1,225)
  • 9 hours or more = $2,400 (+/- EUR 1,634)

The total amounts to be paid out in the case of a passenger being denied boarding surpass the amounts being paid in Europe. However, the European regulation sets the amount taken the distance into consideration and not the total delay time.

Young children won’t be separated from their guardians

The first of the rules that will begin being enforced coming 15 December states that children under the of 14 must be seated next to or near to a parent, tutor or legal guardian. Airlines won’t be allowed to charge an extra fee to parents or guardians trying to change seats in order for this to happen.

Flight delays and cancellation in Canada, you’re now entitled to compensation!

The second set of rules, that will apply from December 15 onwards, focus on the compensation that passengers should receive in case of a flight delay or cancellation. In the same way as when passenger have been denied boarding, the total time of the delay will determine how much compensation you should receive when flying to, from and in Canada. The fact that small airlines will have to pay a smaller amount of money in compensation is a little intriguing. Nevertheless, here are the amounts passengers should receive in compensation if they’ve experienced a flight delay or cancellation:

  • For a delay of 3 to 6 hours, a passenger should receive $400 (+/- EUR 272)
  • For a delay of 6 to 9 hours, a passenger should receive $700 (+/- EUR 477)
  • For a delay of 9 hours or more, a passenger should receive $1000 (+/- EUR 681)

The Canadian Transport Agency has stated that if an airline does not comply with these new set of rules they will receive a fine of $25,000.

Claim compensation when flying in Canada

Compensation for a flight delay, cancellation or overbooking in the EU

Canada is following in the footsteps of the EU. When you fly in, from or to the EU with a European airline, your rights are protected and you are entitled to compensation if your flight is delayed, cancelled or overbooked. Depending on the distance, you can claim up to EUR 600! Here at Flight-Delayed, we specialise in holding airlines accountable and making sure that passengers receive what they are entitled to. Check your flight for free to find out how much money you can claim and you can later submit a claim under our no win no fee policy and we’ll take care of claiming your compensation. Even if we have to sue the airline to get you compensated!


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