OTTAWA — Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau is directing the Canadian Transportation Agency to strengthen rules that require airlines to refund passengers for cancelled flights.
In a statement Monday, Garneau said the pandemic has highlighted a gap in Canada’s protections for airline passengers, which weren’t designed to cover such lengthy delays.
The announcement comes as various consumer groups lobby the government to mandate that airlines issue cash refunds, rather than travel vouchers, for flights that were cancelled due to COVID-19.
The new rules would apply to future cancellations only and will not be retroactive, leaving passengers whose flights are cancelled prior to their introduction on their own.
Airlines maintain that they are not legally required to issue refunds and have criticized Ottawa for its delay in issuing more assistance to the struggling travel sector.
The federal government has said that it would not issue aid to the airline sector unless carriers offered passengers full refunds for cancelled flights.