Attention: News/Business editors
June 14, 2007
For Immediate Release
No consumer protection from misleading airline ads in C-11: PIAC
(OTTAWA)—The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) slammed the House of
Commons passage of Bill C-11 today which contain Senate amendments that
effectively stripped the original bill, (passed by the House of Commons in
February of this year) of consumer protection provisions with respect to
misleading airline advertising and railway noise. The Liberals joined
Conservative members in approving the altered Bill. The Bloc and the NDP
opposed the Senate amendments.
“This represents an absolute sell out of the interests of travel agents and
airline customers across Canada,² said Michael Janigan, Executive Director
and General Counsel of PIAC.
PIAC, together with other consumer organizations such as Option
Consommateurs and representative organizations in the travel industry such
as the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) and the Association of
Canadian Travel Agents (ACTA) formed the Travel Protection Initiative (TPI)
over two years ago to work for better protection of passengers in the
airline industry.
In December 2006, in the House of Commons Transportation Committee, on the
motion of the
Liberal members, TPI was successful in obtaining a provision that would
have forced Transport Canada to prevent Airlines from advertising one low
fare then charging a much higher one after all the charges and fees are
added. Laws in Ontario and Quebec prevent travel agents from engaging in
such a practice, while statutes in other provinces have similar language
restricting such practice. The airlines, however are regulated by the
federal government and no such restriction applies.
In the Senate a furious lobby by Air Canada and Westjet to be allowed to
continue with the suspect advertising practices succeeded in winning the
support of the Liberal Senators. An amendment preventing the advertising
provisions from going into effect until; “consultation” takes place was
passed and sent back to the House. In the House, the Liberals led by Joe
Volpe, today deserted their own party’s legislative provisions and passed
the amended Bill.
“The Liberal flip-flop is an insult both to the members like David
McGuinty, who worked hard to put the original advertising protections in
place, and shows who really calls the shots when it comes to the public
interest in Canada” Janigan noted that it was unlikely that Transport
Canada would ever put in place airline advertising restrictions given the
airline opposition.
Michael Janigan
Executive Director and General Counsel
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
(613) 562-4002 ext 22