The federal government of Canada has announced its air passenger protection regulations, which set out what compensation airlines must pay for failing to provide adequate services to passengers.

The new regulations will be launched in two phases, with some regulations coming into force on July 15th and others taking effect on December 15th.

“Our goal was to provide a world-leading approach to air passenger rights that would be predictable and fair for passengers while ensuring our air carriers remain strong and competitive,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement. “After a long and thorough consultation process, I am proud to say these new regulations achieve that balance and will give air travellers the rights and treatment they pay for and deserve,” he added.

The new regulations, which apply to all airlines flying to and from Canada, require carriers to provide a certain standard of treatment or compensation to passengers without the customer first complaining to the Canadian Transportation Agency.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • These will apply to all flights to, from and within Canada, including connecting flights.
  • Large airlines, those that have serviced two million passengers or more in the last two years, will have a slightly different regulatory regime than smaller airlines in some cases.
  • Smaller airline will have to pay less compensation for delays or cancellations.
  • Airlines that don’t adhere to the new standards can be fined up to $25,000 per incident by the Canadian Transport Agency.

Phase 1: July 15th

Delays on the tarmac

  • All the toilets on the plane must be working.
  • Ensure the aircraft is properly ventilated and kept either cool or warm depending on the time of year.
  • Provide passengers with food and drink and the ability to communicate with people outside of the plane free of charge, if possible.
  • Planes that spend three hours on the tarmac will be required to return to the gate so people can get off. The only exception is when a departure is likely within the first 45 minutes after the three-hour time. In that case, the plane can remain where it is.


  • People who are prevented from boarding an aircraft because of overbooking will be compensated financially depending on the length of time they are delayed from reaching their final destination.
  • Overbooking delays of less 6 hours will require a minimum $900 payment.
  • Delays between 6-9 hours mean a minimum $1,800 payment.
  • Delays longer than 9 hours minimum of $2,400.

Lost Luggage

  • Airline will be liable for up to $2,100 for the lost bag & refund baggage fees.

Musical Instruments

  • Must include terms and conditions for transportation of musical instruments whether they are taken as a carry on or are checked into the cargo hold.

Phase 2: December 15th

Compensation for Cancellations & Delays

Airlines must give compensation to passengers for delayed or cancelled flights depending on the size of the airline.

  • Delayed arrival at a final destination of between three to six hours will cost large airlines $400 and small airlines $125.
  • Delays of between six to nine hour will cost large airlines $700 and small airlines $250.
  • Delays greater than nine hours will cost large airlines $1,000 and smaller airlines half that amount.
  • Ensure that the passenger gets to their final destination in the same class of service.
  • If an airline cannot rebook a passenger on their own airline and the delay is longer than nine hours, the airline has to book the passenger on a competing airline.
  • If the passenger decides the delay has rendered the trip useless they will get a refund and the required financial compensation.

Children Traveling

  • Children under the age of five are seated next to their parent or guardian.
  • Children aged five to 11 are in the same row and no more than one seat away from their parent or guardian.
  • Children aged 12 or 13 are no more than one row away.

Definitions for Delays

  • Within Airline Control (Overbooking, scheduled maintenance)
    • Compensation be paid, standards of treatment be upheld and the passenger’s itinerary be completed.
  • Within Airline Control (Safety and mechanical problems)
    • Must maintain a standard of treatment and complete a passenger’s itinerary.
  • Outside of Airline control (weather, natural disasters, security threats)
    • Will only require the airline to ensure the passenger’s itinerary is completed.

Airlines that don’t adhere to the new standards can be fined up to $25,000 per incident by the Canadian Transport Agency.

How do you feel about these new regulations?

One Comment

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s about time, as air travel has been deteriorating for 25 years, little by little. The customer has no choice but to fly.

What Do You Think?

Reasons to turn on your OOO

Claire's latest travel tips & deals, arriving directly into your inbox.

We respect your privacy.