Canadian Air Travellers Get New Rights And Protections

Canadian airline passengers have new rights and protections starting July 15.

New rules from the federal Canada Transportation Agency under the "Air Passenger Protection Regulations" require that airlines meet certain obligations, including clear communications to passengers about their rights and timely updates of flight delays or cancellations. Passengers will also be compensated up to $2,400 if they're bumped from a flight.

In addition, passengers are now entitled to a certain standard of treatment when stuck on the tarmac. People will be allowed to leave the plane in certain situations if the delays exceed three hours — though that's twice the time the Senate committee that studied the issue recommended.

Lost baggage procedures have also been updated to allow for compensation of up to $2,100. There are also clearer policies for transporting musical instruments. The new regulations 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 past two years, will have a slightly different regulatory regime than smaller airlines in some cases. Smaller airlines, for example, will have to pay less compensation for delays or cancellations that are within the airline's control but are not related to safety issues.

The International Air Transport Association and several airlines are arguing the new rules violate international agreements and the federal government in Ottawa is overstepping its authority. It's asking a federal court to invalidate the regulations. The case goes to court later this year.