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Thoughts on Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulation

I yet to write about the new Canadian Air Passenger Protection Regulation, so I thought I was due for this post. I wanted to see how things played out before I got into it. Sure enough, CBC recently published a story about two stories of people who received compensation for being denied boarding. One from Air Canada and another from WestJet. It took some work to receive their share of the compensation, no shortage of frustrations, but they finally received what they felt they were owed.

Basically, the Federal Government enacted a new law for more passenger protection. The new law comes into effect in two phases:

  • Since July 15, 2019, airlines have been required to meet new obligations concerning communication, denied boarding, tarmac delay, baggage and the transportation of musical instruments.
  • On December 15, 2019, the remaining obligations will come into effect.

For this post, I am going to focus more on the compensation packages that will be offered and my thoughts on them.

Lost or damaged baggage

Airlines can now be held liable for up to $2,100 for baggage that is lost or damaged during domestic flights. A passenger must file a claim for expenses with the airline within 21 days after the day it was supposed to arrive.

Denied Boarding

One of the laws that came into effect on July 15, 2019 is the denied boarding one (which was mentioned predominately in the CBC article mentioned above). Basically, “denied boarding” occurs when a passenger has a valid ticket for a flight, but is not allowed to occupy a seat on board the aircraft because the number of passengers who have checked in. Volunteers will still be asked to give up their seats first. But if there are not enough volunteers, the airlines will need to bump someone off the flight.

The minimum compensation chart looks as follows:

Length of delay Amount (CAD)
0-6 hours $900
6-9 hours $1,800
9+ hours $2,400

Flight disruptions (as of December 15, 2019)

Another hefty fine comes into effect later this year regarding flight delays or cancellations that are in their control and not related to safety. The compensation is based on the length of delay and their final destination:

Large Airlines
Length of delay Amount (CAD)
3-6 hours $400
6-9 hours $700
9+ hours $1000
Small Airlines
Length of delay Amount (CAD)
3-6 hours $125
6-9 hours $250
9+ hours $500


Personally, I am quite torn by these new rules. One the one hand, it does tighten things up for airlines to avoid overbooking, because they will not want to offer those compensation packages very often. Either airlines need to find more ways to be more efficient, so that they can avoid the fees, or they might eat the fees and pass on the costs to customers in some other form. Time will tell what ends up happening, but one thing I am fairly sure of, airlines will find a way to balance their books. I just hope that the government did not meddle into something where they might make the problem worse.

What do you think of the new changes? Please let us know in the comment section below!

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