December 17th, 2018

Liberals' Bill of Rights Does Not Protect Canadian Air Travelers: NDP

OTTAWA - Despite over a decade of NDP calls and action on the Canadian Airline Bill of Rights, Minister Garneau's announcement today includes no regulations to protect air travel consumers this holiday season or before the end of 2019.

"If this government was serious about doing this right, they would have already implemented the basic rights for passengers travelling by air with the ability to update regulations following further review," stated NDP Industry Critic Brian Masse. "Instead, Canadians have waited through consultation after consultation and now must wait through another sixty day consultation process. This is absurd."

To date, airlines have been able to pick and choose when they will help complaining consumers, and what compensation each complaint warrants. Today's announcement should have changed this system, yet it still leaves the onus up to passengers to file formal complaints in order to seek compensation for unwanted delays and other travel issues.

"By opening up these regulations, and allowing the airlines to voice their concerns, this can amount to them scrubbing regulations, or worse, implementing new fees to cover future compensations paid to Canadians for the airline's own mistakes," added Masse. "This is like setting up an insurance policy for passengers that they might never be able to use."

This process adds to the disappointment Canadians have experienced over years of promises and no action. By doing this through regulations rather than legislation, Minister Garneau, and any future Minister, can change the regulations at their own will. A change in government could see the abolishment of these rights if the Minister of Transport deems them unnecessary. It's high time for the Liberal government to step up, immediately bring in legislation to protect Canadians and enshrine these rights for the future.