Air travel complaints resolution process

The CTA's simplified complaint process will be easy to access, more efficient and use new systems and technology to deliver faster outcomes to air passengers who submit complaints to the CTA. The process applies to all air travel complaints, including active complaints that have already been submitted.

Make a complaint

If you have already submitted a complaint:

  • you do not have to submit a new complaint
  • the new process does not impact the compensation or other entitlements that you may be owed.

How the process works

Step 1:
Passenger form submitted and goes
into the queue

Step 2:
Complaint resolution Start Notice issued
Day 0

Step 3:
Airline answer and passenger reply

Step 4:
Eligibility review 

Step 5 optional:
Informal resolution (mediation)
starts by day 30

Step 6:
Final decision
completed by
day 90

Step 1: Passenger complaint form submitted

You submit your complaint using the online complaint form. The form collects the information and documents you will need to support your case.

Note: Due to a high volume of complaints, there will be a delay between when a complaint is submitted and waits in the queue and when the complaint process will start.

Step 2: Complaint resolution process starts

The CTA issues a "Start Notice" to you and the airline that starts the resolution process.

Step 3: Airline answer and passenger reply

The airline will be given a maximum of 14 calendar days to review your complaint and provide information and/or documents to support its answer to your complaint. They can also indicate if they want to try mediation.

Once the airline provides its answer, you will be notified. You can review the information submitted. You have the option of submitting a reply within 4 calendar days of the airline's reply. You can also indicate if you want to try mediation.

Important: The airline has the option to try to settle the complaint directly with you at any point during the process, without involving the CTA.

Step 4: Eligibility review

A CTA Complaints Resolution Officer will determine if your complaint meets the following criteria:

  1. Your complaint has to involve a flight incident that the CTA can address, such as a flight delay. Please visit our website for a list of things that the CTA cannot address such as airport security screening or airline customer service.
  2. You, or the people you are submitting the complaint for, actually experienced the flight incident raised in your complaint. For example, you cannot submit a complaint about something that you heard about on the news.
  3. You are looking for compensation, a refund, or reimbursement for expenses from the airline related to the flight incident raised in your complaint. The CTA cannot award compensation for pain and suffering, or loss of income.
  4. You have already sent your complaint to the airline in writing before submitting the complaint to the CTA, waited 30 days for the airline's answer, and your complaint remains unresolved.
  5. Your complaint cannot be vexatious or made in bad faith.

If your complaint does not meet all of these criteria, it may be found ineligible and you will be notified. 

You should note, if it is clear from the information provided in your complaint, that the airline has fulfilled its obligations under the tariff (the legal document that contains the terms, conditions and other rules that apply to your airline ticket), the complaint may be ineligible. For example, if the airline has already provided you with the compensation you were owed, your complaint would not move forward.

Step 5: Informal resolution (mediation) Optional

If your complaint has moved forward, the next step in the process is mediation, where you and the airline have the opportunity to try to resolve your complaint informally. Mediation must start within 30 days of receiving the Start Notice.

If you and/or the airline do not agree to mediation:

Your complaint will move forward to step 6 for a final decision.

If you and the airline agree to mediation:

The Complaints Resolution Officer prepares a package for you and the airline. It will include information and documents provided by you and the airline, as well as the applicable regulations and terms and conditions of your airline ticket.

If the informal resolution IS successful, and you and the airline come to an agreement, you would withdraw your complaint and the complaint process would end. If the informal resolution IS NOT successful, and you and the airline do not come to an agreement, then the Complaints Resolution Officer will move forward for a final decision.

Step 6: Final decision

The Complaints Resolution Officer will analyze and evaluate the positions and evidence provided by you and the airline. Within 90 days of the Start Notice, they will issue a confidential and binding decision that will determine whether the airline met its obligations and if a remedy (compensation, refund, or reimbursement) should be ordered. This ends the complaint process.

Read the Guideline on the Canadian Transportation Agency's Complaint Resolution Office air travel complaints process.

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