Inquiry into complaints regarding reasons for flight delays or cancellations

Background

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has opened an inquiry into complaints from air passengers alleging that airlines are not accurately communicating the reasons for flight delays or cancellations.

The inquiry focuses on 567 complaints involving flights operated by Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, Air Transat, Swoop and United Airlines.

Looking into these allegations through a single process is the most efficient way of dealing with the issues they raise, and ensuring that the requirements of the Air Passenger Protection Regulations are clear for both passengers and airlines.

The CTA's Chief Compliance Officer has been appointed as an inquiry officer for this process. In this role, he will collect and analyze evidence on the delays and cancellations that are the subject of the complaints. Decisions on next steps will be made once the inquiry officer's report is submitted.

Reference materials

Reports, decisions and determinations

2020-07-06
Decision NO. LET-C-A-44-2020
2020-02-24
Decision NO. LET-C-A-12-2020 (PDF)

News

2020-02-13
CTA opens inquiry into complaints regarding reasons for flight delays or cancellations

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why did the CTA open this inquiry?

The CTA received 3,037 complaints regarding flights operated between December 15, 2019 – the date on which the full Air Passengers Protection Regulations (APPR) came into force – and February 13, 2020 – the date on which the CTA opened its inquiry – alleging that airlines failed to accurately communicate the reasons for delays or cancellations.

The inquiry focuses on 567 complaints involving flights operated by Air Canada, WestJet, Sunwing, Air Transat, Swoop and United Airlines.

Looking into these allegations through a single process is the most efficient way to deal with the issues they raise, and to ensure that the requirements of the regulations are clear for both passengers and airlines.

Q2. How will I know if my complaint is part of this inquiry?

Should your complaint be part of this inquiry, you would have received an email from the CTA indicating that your complaint has been joined to this inquiry.

Q3. I filed a complaint with the CTA on this matter, but I have not been contacted. Why is my complaint not part of this inquiry?

The CTA conducted a review of all applications filed between December 15, 2019, and February 13, 2020, alleging that air carriers failed to accurately communicate the reasons for flight delays or cancellations that occurred on or after December 15, 2019, as required by the APPR. This review revealed that the CTA received 3,037 such applications during this period.

The CTA concluded that this is too large a number of complaints to be examined in a single proceeding, with the CTA’s existing resources. The CTA opened the inquiry on February 13, 2020, based on 11 complaints. The CTA then chose to join an additional 556 complaints, for a total of 567. The applications were selected based on criteria such as the issues raised and the number of complaints per airline.

The inquiry will allow the CTA to provide interpretive guidance to passengers and airlines regarding the requirements of the APPR, which may facilitate a quicker and more efficient resolution of remaining complaints regarding communication issues.

All complaints received by the CTA will continue to be resolved as efficiently as possible.

Q4. Is the CTA still accepting complaints that raise issues related to this inquiry?

Yes. The CTA will continue to accept complaints, including those that raise issues related to the inquiry.

Q5. What are the next steps of this inquiry?

The CTA’s Chief Compliance Officer has been appointed as the Inquiry Officer for this process. In this role, he will collect and analyze evidence on the delays and cancellations that are the subject of the 567 complaints. Decisions on next steps will be made once the inquiry officer’s report is submitted to the Panel assigned to adjudicate the case.

Q6. Will the Inquiry Officer’s report and statements from parties be made public?

The Inquiry Officer’s report will be posted on the CTA’s website once it is submitted to the Panel assigned to adjudicate this case and will be available in both official languages.

The CTA is required to make any submissions or documents filed during an adjudication available on the public record, unless a request for confidentiality has been made to and accepted by the CTA. Before submitting documents to the CTA, parties should remove any irrelevant personal information, such as credit card or passport numbers, that should not be included on the public record.

If personal or confidential information has already been submitted and a party does not want it made public, a request for confidentiality must be filed immediately.

If you have any questions regarding how to make a request for confidentiality, or any other procedural matter, contact the CTA’s secretariat at secretariat@otc-cta.gc.ca.

Q7. What could be the end result of the inquiry?

Once the Inquiry Officer’s report is submitted, the CTA Panel will determine the next steps of the process. A final CTA decision could include interpretative guidance on certain APPR obligations and remedies, including compensation for passengers where delays and cancellations are found to have been within the air carrier’s control and not required for safety.

Date modified: