Transportation Modernization Act proposed in Canada

The Government of Canada on May 16, 2017 announced the proposal of the Transportation Modernization Act, which includes establishing new air passenger rights and liberalizing international ownership restrictions for Canadian air carriers, raising foreign ownership limits from 25% to 49%.

The new legislation aims “to provide a better experience for travelers and a transparent, fair, efficient and safer freight rail system to facilitate trade and economic growth”, according to the Canadian Government.

“In a vast nation like Canada, Canadians rely on economically viable modes of transportation to travel and move commodities within the country, across the border, and to our ports for shipment overseas,” said Marc Garneau, Canada’s Minister of Transport. ”The time has come to modernize our policies and practices to provide a safer, more competitive and respectful system that can respond to modern conditions and to Canadians’ expectations.”

“When Canadians purchase an airline ticket, they expect the airline to provide the service that they paid for and to be treated with respect,” added Garneau. “When things don’t go the way they are planned, travellers deserve clear, transparent, fair and consistent compensation.”

Canadian airlines react

Canadian carriers WestJet and Air Canada have already commented on the Transportation Modernization Act, both welcoming the initiative to clearly establish air passenger rights.

“For more than 21 years, we have taken great pride in our award-winning culture of care and the efforts of our more than 12,000 WestJetters to deliver a remarkable guest experience each and every day,” said Mike McNaney, WestJet vice-president for industry, corporate and airport affairs. “We welcome the legislation and are committed to working with the CTA, the Minister, parliamentarians and government agencies in the months to come.”

“We also encourage the government to address all aspects of the travel experience, particularly those beyond the control of airlines such as lengthy wait times for passenger screening and customs,” McNaney added.

Air Canada has also welcomed the initiative to establishing air passenger rights and noted that increasing foreign ownership limits would provide the airline improved access to international investors and global capital markets.

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