Op-ed: Airline passenger rights: Will you be protected? (@CBCMarketplace) Minister @MarcGarneau PM @JustinTrudeau, Why Canadians are still getting worse protections than Britons & Europeans?

Have a watch of another great episode of CBC Marketplace!, this time about Airline passenger rights. Here is an excerpt from CBC News report that should make most air travellers who have experienced extensive delays angry, “‘It’s just not fair’: Canadian passenger won’t be compensated, when in Europe she’d get $900” (emphasis added)

Marketplace took a close look at the proposed legislation and found areas where it will fall short of protections offered elsewhere, especially in Europe.

Europeans enjoy the world’s strongest consumer protections when flying. Their bill of rights outlines how airlines must treat passengers when things go wrong, including generous compensation that can reach up to $900 for the longest delays on long-haul flights.

‘Airlines should be liable for compensating passengers in the event of cancellation, delay or overbooking that is somehow caused by mechanical issues.’
– Gabor Lukacs, passenger advocate

Those rules apply to any flight on a European carrier, but also extend to Canadian carriers if the flight is departing from Europe. Had Chris Conrad been flying in the opposite direction, or with a European airline, she would be owed a payout of $900.

“It’s just not fair,” she says.

it seems clear that the “new” Passenger Bill of Rights (Bill C-49 is commonly known as passenger bill of rights (CBC news article), read the text of billPDF) will still be willfully inadequate compare to European/British passengers’ rights! Minister PM , Why Canadians are still getting worse protections than Britons & Europeans?

Airline passenger rights: Will you be protected? (CBC Marketplace)

Air Passenger Rights issues is an area this reporter has been reporting for years, for example, see this August 2013 video interview report, “Halifax mathematician gets bumped Air Canada passengers $200, $400, or $800 compensation” and yet this reporter will freely admit there are still many things to learn. Have a watch of this Sept 2017 video presentation, Air Passenger Bill: Dr. Gábor Lukács addresses the House of Commons’ Transport Committee and have a read of the text of Dr. Lukacs’ submission (PDF file) to the Transport Committee.

Reading “Private Consultation with IATA About Regulations to be Developed” paragraph in Dr. Lukacs’ submission (PDF file) which I quote below (emphasis added), one is left to wonder if Canadian Transportation Agency consulting with IATA is kinda akin to consulting with foxes to design hen house? Surely, an effective and powerful passenger bill of rights has to protect passengers from airlines, no? This reporter will leave it to the readers to decide if it is fair or not in saying “akin to consulting with foxes to design hen house“.

The International Air Transport Association (“IATA”) is an international trade association of the airline industry, representing the interests of the airlines. Before Bill C-49 would be passed by Parliament and before any public consultation would take place about the regulations to be developed, the Agency has “sought IATA’s input with regard to the regulations that” the Agency would draft.

To casual readers, IATA sounded a matter of fact (and may be even rather “proud“) that the Agency has “sought IATA’s input with regard to the regulations that” the Agency would draft..

Have a read yourself the exact words IATA’s own lawyer filed in Supreme Court of Canada File no. 37276: Motion Record (June 19, 2017), Tab 1, p. 13, para. 25. which I quote here (emphasis added) to let readers judge for themselves,

25. Also, on 16 May 2017, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau introduced Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Bill, that proposes to amend several key provisions of the Canada Transportation Act. Bill C-49, as currently drafted, authorizes the Agency to make regulations in respect of various matters affecting air passengers. The Agency has sought IATA’s input with regard to the regulations it will draft. IATA is actively participating in the consultation process with Transport Canada and the Agency on this topic.

At the end of the day, it is up to us Canadians to hold our Government of Canada accountable to make Canada better! I recently learned the Order of Canada‘s Latin motto is desiderantes meliorem patriam (They desire a better country). Most of us Canadians will never get an Order of Canada but I say it is still important for us to strive for a “better Canada“! A “better Canada” that includes much improved Air Passenger Rights that is at least on par (if not better) than rights long ago (12 years ago!) received by Britons and Europeans! Right now, we are not!

Let me ask again, Minister PM , Why Canadians are still getting worse protections than Britons & Europeans?

 

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