Proposed Regulatory Amendments for Air Services Price Advertising

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As follow up to the December 2011 announcement by the Government of Canada, the Canadian Transportation Agency drafted proposed amendments to the Air Transportation Regulations and the Designated Provisions Regulations pertaining to the advertisement of the price of air services. The proposed amendments will require any person who advertises the price of an air service to display the total price, inclusive of all taxes, fees and charges. The amendments will apply to the advertising of air travel from and within Canada.

The two key objectives of the proposed amendments are to enable consumers to readily determine the total price of an advertised air service and to promote fair competition between all advertisers in the air travel industry.

To inform the development of the proposed amendments, which are of interest to both consumers and industry, the Agency undertook a broad consultation process in January and February 2012. The aim of the consultation was to obtain input from stakeholders, including air carriers, travel and advertising industry experts, public interest advocacy groups, representatives of provincial and foreign governments, as well as Canadian citizens before drafting the regulations.

The proposed amendments would require the price represented in any advertisement:

  • To be the total price, inclusive of all taxes, fees and charges which a customer must pay in order to obtain and complete the air service. 
  • To include a minimum level of description of the air service offered, including:
    • origin, destination;
    • whether the service is one way or round trip; and
    • limitations with respect to booking or travel availability periods.
  • To provide the customer with access to a breakdown of the taxes, fees and charges which are paid to a third party (i.e. GST/HST, departure taxes, airport fees, security fees).

The proposed amendments will also require that a consumer have access to a listing of any optional services (i.e. checked baggage, preferred seat selection and meals) offered by the service provider for a fee or charge, and that the price of each service be displayed using an all-inclusive price format that includes third party charges.

Pre-publication in Part I of the Canada Gazette, the official newspaper of the Government of Canada published since 1841, gives various interested groups and individuals, as well as Canadians in general, a final opportunity to review and comment on the proposed amendments at the last stages of the regulation-making process, before they are enacted and published in Part II of the Canada Gazette.

Canadians and other interested parties have until September 13, 2012, to review the proposed amendments and to provide their comments and feedback.

To review the proposed amendments and to find out how to comment, visit Part I of the Canada Gazette.

The Agency has prepared a backgrounder and some questions and answers on the proposed amendments which may help you in providing your views. We encourage you to read them.

You can continue to read participants’ contributions to the February 2012 online consultation in the Idea Forum and Formal Written Submissions sections.

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