The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) is an independent regulator and quasi-judicial tribunal with the powers of a superior court. It operates within the context of the very large and complex Canadian transportation system.
The Canada Transportation Act includes the National Transportation Policy, which guides the CTA. It states that competition and market forces are the prime agents in providing viable and effective transportation services and that regulation may be required to meet public policy objectives that cannot be achieved by competition and market forces alone.
The CTA has specific powers assigned to it under this legislation:
- It is an economic regulator of modes of transportation under federal jurisdiction, and develops and applies ground rules that establish the rights and responsibilities of transportation service providers and users and that level the playing field among competitors. These rules can be binding regulations, guidelines, or codes of practice.
- It is a tribunal that hears and resolves disputes like a court. It resolves disputes between transportation service providers and their clients or neighbours, using various tools from facilitation and mediation to arbitration and adjudication.
The CTA's responsibilities are:
- To help ensure that the national transportation system runs efficiently and smoothly in the interests of all Canadians: those who work and invest in it; the producers, shippers, travellers, and businesses who rely on it; and the communities where it operates.
- To provide consumer protection for air passengers.
- To protect the human right of persons with disabilities to an accessible transportation network.
The CTA is comprised of up to five permanent and three temporary Members who act like administrative judges, and are appointed by the Governor‐in‐Council, as well as about 330 employees.