Canadian Transportation Agency wants public input on air passenger rights

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OTTAWA — The Canadian Transportation Agency is asking Canadians to help it develop regulations about the rights of air passengers, including how best to deal with tarmac delays, bumped seats and lost luggage.

Under legislation given final approval last week, the agency is charged with drafting rules and, in most cases, setting minimum standards of treatment in order to establish a bill of rights for air travellers.

Those interested in offering their thoughts can attend one of eight public sessions to be held across the country, fill in a questionnaire, or provide a written submission.

The agency will also survey air travellers at selected airports.

The consultations will continue until Aug. 28.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau says the new rules will ensure that passengers are treated with respect and that airlines live up to their commitments.

“These regulations will establish clear and consistent standards of treatment for all flights operating in Canada,” Garneau told a news conference.

“In certain circumstances, they will include compensation for air travellers when things do not go as planned, when a flight is delayed, cancelled or overbooked and it is considered to be within the airline’s control.”

For example, they will set time limits and treatment standards for tarmac delays.

Ian Jack, managing director of the Canadian Automobile Association, which has been following the issue closely, said people have to ensure that the regulations provide what is needed. He said the transportation agency seems to be on track.

“They’re are asking all the right questions, it seems to us,” he said. “We need to keep up the pressure to ensure Canadians get what they deserve.”

The schedule for the public sessions:

June 14: Toronto

June 18: Vancouver

June 20: Calgary

June 22: Yellowknife

June 25: Winnipeg

June 27: Montreal

June 29: Halifax

July 4: Ottawa

The Canadian Press

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