Air Passenger Rights: The First Canadian Efforts…An Inauspicious Beginning

A recent Canadian legislative initiative, Bill C-310 ("An Act to Provide Certain Rights to Air Passengers") would provide for compensation and care in the event of flight delays, cancellations or denied boarding. The bill was inspired by EC Regulation No. 261/2004 and by two bills before the U.S. Congress which bear the title, "Airline Passenger Bill of Rights Act of 2009." Although Bill C-310 was tabled in Canada's Parliament in February 2009, there exists the possibility that Bill C-310 or legislative very similar to it will be passed by Canada's current Parliament. This article discusses the flaws of Bill C-310. The author argues that Bill C-310 borrows heavily from the text of the European and U.S. legislation, and thus Bill C-310's fit with existing Canadian legislation is awkward. The Bill's definitions do not harmonize well with existing laws and regulations, and its scope is overly broad and could put it into conflict with current laws. In addition, the passage of Bill C-310 could impose a strict liability regime for modes of transport other than the airlines. The Bill combines potentially incompatible delay provisions inspired from EC261/2004 with tarmac rights inspired by proposed U.S., legislation. Bill C-310 requires air carriers to pay administrative monetary penalties or compensation in 12 situations that other proposed or current laws do not, and sets much higher standards and compensation levels that any comparable legislation in two other provisions. The Bill also contains sections which potentially conflict with an international treaty signed by Canada. It also does not embrace the enforcement powers of the Canada Transportation Act, and does not recognize the Canada Transportation Agency for complaint resolution. The author concludes that the current bill needs to be substantially amended.


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  • Accession Number: 01147902
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 7 2010 9:24PM