CONSUMER PROTECTIONS FOR AIRLINE PASSENGERS

Prepared by: Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC)

March 31, 2015

ABSTRACT:

This study outlines current consumer protections and recourse options available to airline passengers in Canada, as provided for under sections 65-67, and 85 of the Canada Transportation Act, and administered by the Canadian Transportation Agency; it also reviews the consumer protections for airline passengers in Australia, the European Union and the United States of America, as well as the federally-regulated consumer protections for banking and telecommunications consumers in Canada; lastly, it proposes a new model to strengthen consumer protection in the airline industry. The study review available literature to inform its assessment of the models in place in comparable federally-regulated sectors within Canada and internal jurisdictions. The authors find that the existing Canadian model provides inconsistent and inadequate protections. They recommend a model based on Canada’s Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services, an industry dispute resolution model that customers appear to be very satisfied with, that operates at low cost to the public/users, and that has made extensive efforts to be transparent regarding the structure of organization, senior staff, its complaint process, complaints statistics, as well as the identification of systemic industry issues.

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