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The federal government has announced proposed amendments to the Canada Transportation Act that it says would strengthen Canada's passenger rights regime, streamline the processes for administering air travel complaints before the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), and increase air carrier accountability.
"It is clear that a stronger and simpler system is needed to increase air carriers' accountability and transparency, reduce the number of incidents referred to the Agency, and streamline the Agency's processes for addressing travel complaints," said Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport.
"The proposed amendments would significantly enhance our air passenger rights regime to ensure travellers get the services and treatment they pay for and deserve."
The new proposed amendments would allow the CTA to modify its regulations to:
--Make compensation mandatory for all disruptions, unless the disruption was caused by very limited circumstances that would be specifically defined by regulations - those circumstances have not yet been defined however.
-- Remove exemptions to air carriers' compensation obligations based on broad categories of disruptions (e.g., disruptions outside/within the control of airlines or required for safety);
-- Make standards of treatment, such as the provision of food and water, mandatory for all flight disruptions.
-- Establish requirements for delayed baggage and prescribe parameters around refund requirements as a result of a travel advisory issued by the Government.
The amendments would also:
-- Replace the current process for resolving air travel complaints, which includes an adjudication process by Governor in Council-appointed members, with a more simplified process conducted primarily by CTA staff to ensure travellers get quicker decisions.
-- Impose a greater burden of proof on air carriers where it is presumed that compensation is payable to a complainant, unless the air carrier proves the contrary.
-- Require airlines to establish an internal process for dealing with air travel claims.
-- Broaden the authority of the CTA to set fees and charges to recover its costs and
enhance its enforcement powers by allowing the CTA to increase the maximum amount of fines for non-compliance.
The new regulations are expected to be in place as of September 30.
A journalist by training and extensive experience, Bruce spent the early part of his career writing about business, fashion and...
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