FAQs – Amendments to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (Refunds)

Q1. Why did the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) develop these amendments to the APPR?

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed a gap in Canada's air passenger protection framework: the absence of a requirement for airlines to refund tickets when flights are cancelled, or where there is a lengthy delay, for reasons outside their control and it is not possible for the airline to ensure that the passenger's itinerary is completed within a reasonable time.

On December 21, 2020, the Minister of Transport issued a direction giving the CTA the authority to develop new regulations to close this gap for future travel. In a letter accompanying the direction, the Minister asked that the CTA design the regulations in a manner that is fair and reasonable to passengers and, to the extent possible, not impose an undue financial burden on carriers that could lead to their insolvency.

Q2. How will these amendments affect a previously submitted complaint?

The amendments will not affect refund-related complaints related to flights that were cancelled or delayed before they begin to apply on September 8, 2022. The Regulations will apply to flight cancellations and lengthy delays that occur after that date.

The CTA continues to process previously received complaints as quickly as possible, based on their merit, impartially and in a rigorous manner.

Q3. What consultations were conducted by the CTA?

On December 21, 2020, the CTA launched a consultation process seeking feedback on the specifics of the new requirements. During this consultation, the CTA received a total of 119 submissions – 100 submissions from members of the public, 11 submissions from airlines and other industry representatives, four submissions from consumer advocates and four from travel agencies and insurance industry representatives. The CTA released its What We Heard Report, summarizing the input received.

Once published in Part I of the Canada Gazette, a second round of consultations invited stakeholders and the public to comment on the proposed regulations. These consultations began on July 3, 2021 and ended on October 1, 2021.

The results of both consultations have informed the Regulations.

Q4. What do the amendments require?

Until now, the regulations have required that refunds be provided only for flight disruptions within the control of the airlines.

The amendments:

  • Require airlines to provide a passenger affected by a cancellation or lengthy delay due to a situation outside the airline's control with a confirmed reservation on the next available flight that is operated by them or a partner airline, leaving within 48 hours of the departure time indicated on the passenger's original ticket. If the airline cannot provide a confirmed reservation within this 48-hour period, it will be required to provide, at the passenger's choice, a refund or rebooking.
  • Identify what costs must be refunded (unused portion of the ticket, which includes any unused add-on services paid for);
  • Identify the method to be used for refunds (original payment, i.e. a return on the person's credit card);
  • Require airlines to provide refunds within 30 days.

Q5. From when will these amendments apply?

The amendments will apply on September 8, 2022, 90 days after the date on which they were registered, to give airlines time to adjust operationally.

Q6. What should I do if I am seeking a refund for a flight that was cancelled or delayed before September 8?

If you experienced a cancellation or a delay and believe you are entitled to a refund, you should first contact your airline to attempt to resolve the issue. If you do not receive a response within 30 days, or if you are not satisfied with the airline's response, you can file a complaint with the CTA. The CTA will try to resolve the matter quickly and informally through facilitation or mediation. If facilitation and mediation don't work, the complaint may then go through adjudication, a court-like process where a decision will be issued based on elements of proof submitted.

The CTA processes each complaint as quickly as possible, based on its merit, impartially and in a rigorous manner.

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