Ensuring Compliance with the All-Inclusive Air Price Advertising Requirements of the New Regulations
OTTAWA — May 21, 2013 — Based on findings from Agency monitoring and enforcement actions to date, advertisers of air services in Canada are now complying with the all-inclusive air price advertising requirement of new regulations approved in December 2012. Today, the Agency issued a notice to industry stating that it will apply a stricter approach to the enforcement of the all-inclusive price requirement and expects advertisers to maintain compliance on an on-going basis, regardless of the media used.
The regulations that enable consumers to easily determine the total advertised air price and promote fair competition between all advertisers in the air travel industry came into force on December 18, 2012. The Agency has since been using a proactive and collaborative educational approach to ensure that advertisers are aware of their responsibility to comply. The Agency also reached out to national and provincial associations representing the air travel industry to help them understand the obligations of their members and provide guidance on all aspects of the new regulatory requirements.
During the first five months from the coming into force of the new regulations, the Agency worked with advertisers to assist them in understanding what they needed to do to become compliant. The Agency also issued a number of formal warnings and gave a reasonable time period to those who were not compliant to amend their website, on-line reservation systems and other applications. All advertisers that have been assessed by the Agency are now compliant with the fundamental requirement that they display the all-inclusive price.
In addition, the Agency issued monetary penalties to itravel2000.com and FlightNetwork for not advertising the total all-inclusive price on their on-line booking systems. Itravel2000.com did not comply with the all-inclusive price requirement even after multiple contacts and a formal warning from the Agency advising it to amend its on-line booking system. Its lack of cooperation and failure to comply within the deadline established in the warning resulted in a monetary penalty of $40,000. FlightNetwork complied with its on-line website but failed to comply on its mobile website and was issued an $8,000 penalty. The travel agencies are now fully compliant with the all-inclusive price requirement.
"Monitoring air price advertising will be an on-going effort that will help us reach our goal of price transparency," said Geoff Hare, Chair and CEO of the Agency. "This will ensure consumers can easily determine the total price of advertised air services, and will promote fair competition in air price advertising".
Compliance with the Canada Transportation Act and related regulations is ensured through the Agency's enforcement division. The division conducts inspections and investigations, and can issue warnings and fines. As with all Agency enforcement actions, the determination of what corrective measures and/or penalties are required in the case of contraventions is based on a number of different factors, including the frequency and nature of the offence. For more information about Agency penalties, consult Appendix V - Designated Provisions Levels of its Interpretation Note.
In support of on-going monitoring, in instances where non-compliant advertisements are suspected, consumers can fill out the on-line feedback form for Agency follow-up.
For more information, consult the Agency's all-inclusive air price advertising repository. The repository features educational materials including an interpretation note, questions and answers, as well as examples of advertisements. A webinar fully explaining the new requirements is also available.
About the Canadian Transportation Agency
The Canadian Transportation Agency is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal and economic regulator of the Government of Canada. It makes decisions and determinations on a wide range of matters involving air, rail and marine modes of transportation under the authority of Parliament, as set out in the Canada Transportation Act and other legislation.
The Agency's mandate includes:
- Economic regulation, to provide approvals, issue licences, permits and certificates of fitness, and make decisions on a wide range of matters involving federal air, rail and marine transportation.
- Dispute resolution, to resolve complaints about federal transportation services, rates, fees and charges.
- Accessibility, to ensure Canada's national transportation system is accessible to all persons, particularly those with disabilities.
For more information on the new all-inclusive air price requirements, consult the regulations.
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