Edmonton

Air passenger rights in Canada cleared for takeoff by Ottawa

A new passenger bill of rights being proposed by the federal government could take some of the stress out of air travel for people flying on Canadian airlines.

Air traveller rights in this country have been grounded far too long - AMA

The federal transportation minister says the government will introduce an air passenger rights regime in the coming months. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Canadian air travellers who have their luggage lost or damaged and those who get bumped off flights are being promised new passenger rights to address their frustrations.

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced the government will introduce new rules in the coming months.

The guidelines will establish clear minimum requirements, so Canadians know when they qualify for compensation.

Jeff Kasbrick says new air passenger rights will take some of the stress out of flying. (CBC News)

"This is really an exciting announcement," said Jeff Kasbrick, vice-president of government relations for the Alberta Motor Association, which has been pushing for a bill of rights governing Canadian carriers for years.

Passengers whose baggage is lost by an airline can face a number of barriers trying to resolve their cases, said Kasbrick.

"Currently, you have to look into the fine print of each individual airline, because it's different airline by airline," he said.

He said AMA members were strongly in favour of new rights when surveyed in August.

The changes the federal government proposes include compensation standards for passengers who are bumped from flights due to factors within an airline's control, as well as rules for lost baggage, and new standards to reduce wait times at security screening.

"That's also going to extend industry-wide and not on a case-by-case basis, as it is right now," said Kasbrick, who noted the United States and the European Union already have far clearer rules in place for air travellers rights.

The federal government has said it will examine systems in other jurisdictions as it drafts new legislation.

The AMA, which represents more than 985,000 members, will present its own ideas as part of the process.

The changes being looked at are part of a sweeping review of the Canadian Transportation Act, which was released earlier this year.

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