Denied Boarding: Canada’s new air passenger regulations

2019-07-15
Canada’s new air passenger regulations

Confederation of 1867, Canadian Bill of Rights of 1960, or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 1982 are only few of several big moments and great historical events for the greatest country in the world: Canada. Today, though, on the day of 15th July, there is one more event that will go down in the pages of history: the new air passengers rights. Buckle up to find out more about them.

Let’s get down to brass tacks: legal basis.

In May 2019, the Canadian government unveiled a new set of rules regulating the rights of air passengers. These rules are known as the Air Passenger Protection Regulations: SOR/2019-150 and they cover all flights to, from and within Canada operated by any airline.

Commonly referred to as APPR, this legal act imposes standards on airlines when it comes to flight disruptions including cancellations, delays, lost luggage, or denied boarding resulting from airline overbooking. However, the new regulation is coming into effect in two phases. First one, starting on July 15th with denied boarding, luggage issues and tarmac delays and the second one starting on December 15th with flight cancellations and delays.

Carriers that overbook flights are obliged to pay their passenger even up to $2400 (CAD).

The harshest penalties regulated by the APPR are stipulated for passengers who were denied boarding against their will. This type of flight disruption is also known as overbooking and it refers to denying the carriage of a passenger, even though a passenger was present at boarding. In short, it happens when the air carrier sold more tickets than there were seats available on a flight.

In this case, compensation must be issued to the passenger as soon as possible and no later than 48 hours after boarding is denied. If not, the carrier must provide the passenger with written confirmation of the amount owed and adjust it accordingly to the waiting time of the alternative transport and the actual time of arrival to the final destination.

On the contrary to a similar air passenger rights regulation governing flights coming and leaving the  European Union, Regulation EC 261, the amount of compensation varies depending on the length of the delay in the final destination rather than on the distance traveled. The amounts are more favorable than the compensation offered by the European law:

Length of delay Amount of compensation (CAD)
0 – 6 hours $900
6 – 9 hours $1800
9 or more $2400

For comparison, the Regulation EC 261 states that passengers can get no more than €600 (approximately 880 CAD), regardless of whether they have finally reached their destination or not.

The form of compensation to be provided.

The airline has to offer compensation in:

  • monetary form, such as cheque, a deposit into passenger’s bank account, etc.,
  • an alternative form, such as vouchers or rebates, which is required to be of higher value than the monetary form and should never expire.

If a passenger agrees to an alternative form of compensation, he or she will no longer eligible for a monetary form of compensation.

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