Canadian Association of Airline Passengers (CAAP Airline Passenger Bill of Rights
General Principle: Airline passengers flying in or out of Canadian airports or on flights operated by air carriers based in Canada are entitled to a safe flight, with a high quality of service at affordable, predictable prices on a year round basis.
1) Public Participation.
The current operation of Canadian airports, air carriers, and the air navigation system requires increased public oversight and fair, enforceable rules to protect passenger rights. There are numerous outstanding issues relating to safety, pricing and service quality which must be resolved in the public’s interest.
- There should be a public process for the development of safety policies and regulations.
- For public processes, intervenor funding must be provided to facilitate organizations which represent the 18 million passengers in Canada.
- Public interests should be given status on the Boards of major and regional airports, carriers and the air navigation system in Canada.
- Priority of Public Safety in Decision Making.
The safety of passengers will have priority in all areas of air carrier, airport, air navigation system and aviation regulatory decision making.
- Normal and Emergency Levels of Service.
All parties making up the Canadian aviation system must comply with all applicable regulations. A review by federal authorities, with reporting to Parliament, should be conducted annually.
- A Culture of Safety.
All airline companies and senior managers to publicly commit, and be accountable to an open and fair culture of safety
- Additional Risks Arising From Mergers, Restructuring.
A public review and verification of safety procedures should be required for any merging or restructuring air carriers.
- Access to Public Safety Information.
Passengers are entitled to complete and timely disclosure of all information dealing with safety standards and compliance with safety regulations.
In the event of an accident, passengers are entitled to rescue and fire-fighting services that are equal to, or better than, international standards, as well as shelter, first aid and other assistance, including compensation.
3. Service Quality.
- Full Passenger Information Disclosure.
Passengers are entitled to complete, timely and full disclosure of all information that is material to their flight.
- Onboard Quality.
Passengers are entitled to comfortable seating, adequate space for emergency evacuation, and hygienic and humane conditions, including breathing fresh air, fresh drinking water, and clean and accessible toilet facilities.
- General Service Standards.
General service standards include: courteous service; explanation of safety regulations; timely information on flight delays/problems; careful handling of baggage; protection by abuse/harassment by other passengers; no discrimination based on disability; prompt service by company representatives; consumer complaint representatives and process.
- Fair Pricing Rules.
Passengers are entitled to protection against unwarranted and/or sudden price increases in regular fares, as well as price fixing and anti-competitive collusion. Regulation should be used to set prices in markets where market dominance or monopoly conditions exist.
- Affordable and Reasonable Fares in Rural and Remote Regions.
Fares in these areas should be established as a percentage of average rates in urban Canada. Fare increases should not be greater than the country-wide average. Rates should be set through a public process. Under monopoly conditions, a contribution regime should be established to ensure that service is not degraded and pricing remains affordable.
- The Canadian Transportation Agency should mandate through new regulations the passenger rights, oversight procedures and redress mechanisms listed in this Consumer Protection Bill of Rights. Public participation must be a part of the CTA’s monitoring, review and regulatory activities.
A new regulatory framework should:
- Establish a Consumer Protection Bill of Rights;
- Require an annual, comprehensive evaluation of services related to public safety, with full reporting to Parliament on an annual basis;
- Require public ‘culture of safety’ reporting by carriers;
- Require special reviews and verification of safety procedures for mergers or other industry restructuring, including measures to address unresolved safety issues;
- Require assistance, support and compensation for passengers in emergencies;
- Provide for public accountability for post-accident recommendations and follow-up.
- Assess monetary penalties for failure to meet service quality and general service standards;
- Establish an Ombudsperson to mediate passenger and carrier disputes;
- Institute pricing and service regulation for those markets where required, e.g., rural and remote markets;
- Require a public interest statement from carriers, and a public process, to address how passenger’s interests may be affected in structural changes in the industry;
- Be applied by the CTA or Transport Canada.