You will immediately be eligible for compensation. Currently, there are three categories of delays or cancellations: situations attributable to the carrier; situations attributable to the carrier, but necessary for security reasons; situations beyond the carrier’s control. The last two categories do not provide for compensation. This angered travellers, who were unable to obtain compensation because an airline attributed its contingencies to safety issues – for example, mechanical breakdowns or a lack of flight personnel.

“It’s a good thing,” rejoices the lawyer at Option consommateurs Sylvie De Bellefeuille. We are trying to plug loopholes that have appeared in recent years in the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR). »

The Trudeau government wants to eliminate the three categories. Unless a carrier is able to prove otherwise, it will be held responsible when an aircraft is grounded due to an unforeseen event. The burden of proof will no longer rest on the passengers. In the current format, it is difficult for them to obtain all the necessary information from the carriers to, for example, question the version of the facts of a company that cancels a connection for a mechanical breakdown.

It is said that the devil is in the details and the expression sums up this facet of the new version of the travelers charter. A list of exceptions – such as a major snowstorm – will need to be written. It remains to be seen whether it will take any bite out of the RPPA. Aviation expert and lecturer at McGill University John Gradek hopes that the Trudeau government will not bow to the pressures that will be exerted by the industry.

“The excuses will continue to exist, underlines the expert. I hope the list will be shorter. A shortage of pilots or flight attendants should not be an excuse. There will always be an effort by airlines to avoid paying compensation to travelers. »

(For carriers like Air Canada, WestJet, etc.)

It’s hard to tell when a preview will be available. Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra limited himself to indicating on Monday that the list of exemptions will be established following consultations. He wants the changes to come into force before the end of the year. The minister did not provide a more specific timeline.

Yes, and there is something new. Well aware that there are more than 45,000 complaints pending at the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) – the federal agency responsible for enforcing the Travelers Charter – Ottawa will force airlines to foot the bill handling complaints to the Office. We hope to encourage them to settle amicably with their clients.

Carriers will also need to have a process in place to handle complaints about delays and cancellations, and to respond within 30 days.

In addition, at the CTA, complaints will be able to be handled by federal agency staff, rather than through the current arbitration process, which should speed up decision-making and reduce wait times. .

Evil. The National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents companies such as Air Canada, Air Transat and WestJet, blames the Trudeau government for placing all the blame on the airlines.

Its president and CEO, Jeff Morrison, believes its members shouldn’t have to pay for the hiccups that can happen at an airport – such as at security checkpoints – and cause delays and cancellations. .

“Failure to extend accountability […] to any other organization in the air transport system, despite the fact that many travel disruptions are caused by these entities, will mean that the air transport system as a whole will not improve. not,” says Morrison.

The Council was quick to discuss this scenario. Morrison says “the cost of air travel could increase” as the Trudeau government plans to impose new fees on carriers with respect to traveler complaints that will be submitted to the CTA.

Ms. De Bellefeuille and Mr. Gradek believe it is more of a threat to try to get Ottawa to back down.

“It’s a competitive industry,” says Gradek. Companies that will enforce the guidelines and operate a busier flight schedule with fewer cancellations will quickly gain market share. This will offset the additional costs generated by the changes announced by Mr. Alghabra. »