December 17th, 2018 - 8:45pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 17, 2018
NDP RESPONDS TO LACK OF PROTECTION FOR CANADIAN AIR TRAVELLERS IN BILL OF RIGHTS ANNOUNCEMENT
OTTAWA, ON –NDP Industry Critic Brian Masse MP (Windsor West) today responded to Minister Marc Garneau’s announcement that the Canadian Airline Bill of Rights regulations are moving forward. Despite over a decade of NDP calls and action on this file, there are still no regulations protecting air travel consumers this holiday season or before the end of 2019.
“If this government really wanted a Passenger Bill of Rights, they would have already implemented the basic rights with the ability to update regulations following further reviews,” stated Masse. “Canadians are tired of consultation after consultation and are waiting again for another sixty day consultation process.” The current consultation allows comments on the draft regulations until February 20, 2019. Then the final comments will be reviewed by Cabinet and another period of time allowing the airlines to prepare. Minister Garneau said he hopes that the regulations will be applied by summer 2019.
To date, airlines have been able to pick and choose when they will help complaining consumers, and what compensation each complaint warrants. Today’s announcement should change this system, yet it still leaves the onus up to passengers to file formal complaints in order to seek compensation for unwanted delays and other travel issues. Parents still do not have options for sitting with their own children in some instances and will have to wait until at least the end of 2019 to have this guarantee available to them.
“By opening up these regulations, and allowing the airlines to voice their concerns, can amount to them scrubbing regulations, or worse, the implementation of further fees to cover future costs associated with them compensating Canadians for the airlines own mistakes,” said Masse. “This is like setting up an insurance policy for passengers that they might never be able to use.” Masse further cited concerns about seniors and newcomers who might have limited language to actually understand and voice their concerns.
Sadly, this process seems to just add to the disappointment Canadians have experienced over years of promises and no action. By doing this through regulations rather than legislation, this Minister, and any future Minister, can change the regulations at their own will. A change in government could see the abolishment of these rights if the Minister of Transport deems them unnecessary. It’s high time for this Liberal government to step up, immediately bring in legislation to protect Canadians and enshrine these rights for the future of Canadian consumers.