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The federal government’s sweeping Transportation Modernization Act became law on May 23, 2018, lifting the long-standing cap on foreign ownership of Canadian airlines and setting the stage for the creation of a passenger bill of rights at a time when complaints have soared
Introduced in May 2017 as Bill C-49 by Transport Minister Marc Garneau, the multi-modal package has been a political football for the government, having been kicked back and forth between the House of Commons and the Senate, mainly because of non-aviation differences.
Garneau told reporters outside the Commons shortly after C-49 had received Royal Assent that the change on airline ownership limits is designed “to increase competition so that we can bring down prices for those who buy tickets by having more choices.”
He also said, without going into detail, that the change also should mean “greater possibilities of joint ventures, which is also good for air passengers.”
As for passenger rights, he expects the Canadian Transportation Agency to begin consulting carriers, the public and other stakeholders with a view to presenting rules “in simple-to-understand language what their rights are so that when they’re not respected and it’s within the airline’s control, they will be compensated.”
To be published “towards the end of this year,” the rules are expected to increase significant financial penalties.