Home Page Election 2019 News Opinion Foreign Policy Politics Policy Legislation Lobbying Hill Life & People Hill Climbers Heard On The Hill Calendar Archives Classifieds
Hill Times Events Inside Ottawa Directory Hill Times Store Hill Times Careers The Wire Report The Lobby Monitor Parliament Now
Subscribe Free Trial Reuse & Permissions Advertising
Log In
Opinion

Wheels up: on our way to new protections for air passengers

By Scott Streiner       

As Canada's longest-standing independent regulator and tribunal, the CTA builds on strong foundations of experience and expertise, while bringing a commitment to engagement and agility to the delivery of its responsibilities in a rapidly-changing world.

We've also recognized that because aviation, by its nature, crosses borders, efforts are needed to strengthen accessibility principles and practices for air travel at the international as well as domestic level, writes Scott Streiner. Photograph courtesy of Pixabay
Share a story
The story link will be added automatically.

Canadians will soon have new protections when they fly.

In May 2016, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) launched the Regulatory Modernization Initiative (RMI), a complete review of all the regulations it administers to ensure that they keep pace with emerging business models, customer expectations, and best practices in the regulatory field. In May 2018, Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act, came into force, amending the Canada Transportation Act to, among other things, give the CTA authority to make regulations establishing minimum airline obligations towards passengers in a number of areas. And in September, Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act, passed second reading in the House and was referred to committee.

A few days after Bill C-49 received royal assent, the CTA started public and stakeholder consultations on new air passenger protection regulations. Because we knew air travel issues are important to Canadians and they wanted to have their say on the new regulations—and because we also realized there was a desire to see the rules in place as soon as possible—we provided multiple channels for public and stakeholder input and set a consultation timeline of three months. The response was remarkable. There were some 31,000 visits to our dedicated consultation website; almost 5,000 online questionnaires were completed; about 500 people uploaded comments; 900 randomly-selected travellers were surveyed at 11 airports; 200 people attended in-person consultation sessions in eight cities across the country and a call-in session; 39 in-depth consultation meetings were held with stakeholders and experts; and 104 formal written submissions were sent in.

That feedback, and a summary of the What We Heard report, have been posted on our main website (www.otc-cta.gc.ca). We’re now developing the regulations, carefully considering all the information and suggestions provided by individual Canadians, consumer rights groups, and the airline industry, as well as best practices and lessons learned in other jurisdictions. Working within the framework established by Parliament, we’ll ensure that the regulations provide passengers with fair, clear, consistent rights if, for example, their flights are delayed or their bags are lost, while taking account of airlines’ operating realities. It’s expected that the air passenger protection regulations—together with updated air transport regulations that will simplify approval processes for things like code shares and charter permits, as well as update airline insurance requirements—will be published for comment in the Canada Gazette before the end of the year.

At the same time, the CTA is working on new accessible transportation regulations. Accessible transportation is a human right whose realization is essential to achieving equality, inclusion, and dignity for Canadians with disabilities. Protecting and advancing this right is one of the CTA’s three core mandates. Our goal is nothing less than to make Canada’s national transportation system the most accessible in the world.

The new accessible transportation regulations will integrate two existing regulations and six voluntary codes into a single, robust, binding instrument. Accessible transportation was the focus of the first phase of RMI consultations, and a What We Heard report is available on our website. We’re aiming to have the regulations ready for publication in the Canada Gazette in early 2019, and if Bill C-81 is passed, we’ll have new tools to monitor and enforce compliance with them.

We’ve also recognized that because aviation, by its nature, crosses borders, efforts are needed to strengthen accessibility principles and practices for air travel at the international as well as domestic level. Doing so will benefit both Canadians with disabilities—by reducing the risk that they’ll face a sudden drop in accessibility standards when they land in another country—and airlines—by reducing the complexities of compliance with multiple regimes. That’s why the CTA, in partnership with other federal organizations like Global Affairs Canada and Transport Canada, has been spearheading efforts to give accessibility a more prominent place on the agenda of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO’s triennial General Assembly, which takes place next September in Montreal, will offer an opportunity to accelerate progress towards more consistent accessibility standards for air travel around the globe.

As Canada’s longest-standing independent regulator and tribunal, the CTA builds on strong foundations of experience and expertise, while bringing a commitment to engagement and agility to the delivery of its responsibilities in a rapidly-changing world. Those foundations and that commitment will be reflected in the new air passenger protection, air transport, and accessible transportation regulations. Their finalization will establish a clear, modern, predictable set of requirements for airlines and make the air travel experience better for all Canadians.

Scott Streiner is chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency. 

The Hill Times 

Explore, analyze, understand
2018 Guide to Lobbyist Gifting Rules
The 2018 Guide to Lobbyist Gifting Rules is the essential resource for your work on federal issues.

Get the book
Related Policy Briefings
Environment
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing
Energy: Carbon Pricing Policy Briefing
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing
Aviation Policy Briefing
Short and informative analyses on policy challenges that bring background and recommendations to policymakers, journalists and the general public.

Read policy briefing

Politics This Morning

Get the latest news from The Hill Times

Politics This Morning


Your email has been added. An email has been sent to your address, please click the link inside of it to confirm your subscription.

Election 2019 campaign one of the most ‘uninspiring, disheartening, and dirtiest’ in 40 years, says Savoie

News|By Abbas Rana
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says she has never seen an election where mudslinging overwhelmingly dominated the campaign, leaving little or no time for policy discussion.

Strategic voting to determine if Liberals will form government, say political players

News|By Abbas Rana
As many as nine per cent of progressive voters could vote strategically in this close election potentially affecting the outcome in more than 100 ridings, says Innovative Research president Greg Lyle.

Turkish offensive should pressure feds to act on repatriation of Canadian citizens in Kurdish-controlled ISIS detention camps, says expert

News|By Neil Moss
The issue of repatriation will be less politically fraught after the election, says expert.

Business tops experience among 2019 candidates, one-third have run for office before

Here’s an analysis of the record 1,700-plus candidates running for the six major parties this election.

Pod save us all: the growing role of political podcasts in election 2019

News|By Mike Lapointe
The Hill Times spoke with some podcast hosts taking a deeper dive into the political nitty-gritty, within a medium that only continues to grow in popularity.

No-shows from Conservative candidate could hurt party’s chances in tight Kanata-Carleton race, say politicos

News|By Palak Mangat
The Conservative's candidate, Justin McCaffrey, has skipped two events, including a debate on the environment, intended to feature all candidates.

For whom will the bell toll in Peterborough-Kawartha?

In a riding where voters are deeply engaged in the political process, candidates avoid the low-hanging fruit and stay out of the mud as they grapple with who to send to the House of Commons.

Singh’s strong campaign an internal win, whatever the outcome, New Democrats say

Jagmeet Singh’s impressive campaign has ‘rescued’ and ‘refocused’ the NDP after the failed 2015 effort, Ed Broadbent says.

The astrophysicist whose polling aggregator is projecting the election

News|By Neil Moss
The mastermind behind 338Canada, poll aggregator Philippe Fournier, is aiming to correctly call 90 per cent of the seats in the Oct. 21 race.
Your group subscription includes premium access to Politics This Morning briefing.