Canada reconsiders airline ownership, passenger rights

Canada’s Transportation Modernization Act became law on May 23, 2018, lifting the cap on foreign ownership of Canadian airlines to 49% and initiating the creation of a passenger bill of rights.

At a time when passenger complaints have soared in Canada, the Transportation Modernization Act is aimed at creating “a world-leading approach to air passenger rights”, enhancing the travel experience for Canadians.

“The first major element of this Act is that air passengers should know their rights and are entitled to clear, consistent, transparent and enforceable compensation, as well as minimum standards of treatment when things do not go as planned,” stated Canada’s Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau.

Garneau expects the Canadian Transportation Agency to begin consulting airlines, the public and other stakeholders to develop rules “in simple-to-understand language what their rights are so that when they’re not respected and it’s within the airline’s control, they will be compensated,” local media reports.

As for lifting the long-standing cap on foreign ownership, Garneau told reporters that the change on Canadian airline ownership limits is designed “to increase competition so that we can bring down prices for those who buy tickets by having more choices,” adding that the change also should mean “greater possibilities of joint ventures, which is also good for air passengers”.

The bill was first introduced by Garneau in May 2017, and is part of the government’s strategic plan for the future of transportation in Canada, known as Transportation 2030.  The legislation includes amendments to the Canada Transportation Act and other related transportation acts. What concerns the aviation sector is:

  • Mandate the Canadian Transportation Agency to develop regulations to strengthen air passenger rights, and establish clear standards of treatment and consistent compensation for air travellers under certain circumstances.
  • Provide travelers with more choice and lower prices through increased competition by liberalizing international ownership restrictions for Canadian air carriers; creating a more predictable approach to the consideration of air carrier joint ventures

Source – AeroTime