Canadian Transportation Agency has issued a decision ordering the payment of compensation to passengers affected by a cancellation caused by a crew shortage

On August 26, 2022, the Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) issued a decision regarding a flight cancellation caused by a crew shortage. In this decision, the Agency found that Air Canada did not provide evidence demonstrating that the cancellation of the applicants' flight was outside its control. The Agency ordered Air Canada to compensate both applicants $1,000 each.


The applicants experienced a flight cancellation the day before their scheduled departure. The applicants experienced subsequent flight disruptions and arrived at their final destination 15 hours and 41 minutes later than originally scheduled.

Air Canada rejected their request for compensation on the basis that the flight was cancelled due to crew constraints resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which it considered a safety-related issue.

The passengers filed a complaint with the Agency. In their complaint, applicants claimed that staffing issues are within Air Canada's control. In their answer, Air Canada took the position that the cancellation was outside its control, because the first officer was unable to complete required training in time due to a number of uncontrollable events affecting its operations.

Agency findings

The Agency made the following findings:

  • Airlines are expected to provide evidence relating to the specific circumstances of a disruption before the Agency, as such circumstances must be considered to determine the airline's obligations under the APPR.
  • Regulatory training requirements are foreseeable and periodic, and airlines must plan their operations accordingly. If an airline schedules flights before securing enough qualified crew, the Agency may find that a resulting disruption was due to the airline's own operational decision, and therefore, within its control.
  • The evidence provided by Air Canada did not explain what happened in the specific circumstances that lead to the flight disruption, nor did it establish that the crew shortage was unavoidable despite proper planning, or that the cancellation was not the result of Air Canada's actions or inactions.
  • The cancellation of the applicants’ flight was therefore within Air Canada's control.

The Agency concluded that the applicants were both entitled to compensation for inconvenience, and ordered Air Canada to compensate them in the amount of $1,000 each.

Agency findings

Types and Categories of Flight Disruption: A Guide

Flight Delays and Cancellations: A Guide

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