Winnipeg passengers will soon get the chance to have their say on air passenger protection.

On Thursday, the Canadian Transportation Agency launched in-person consultations in Toronto, with a session planned for June 25 in Winnipeg.


Bill C-49, also known as the Transportation Modernization Act, was passed in May, mandating the agency develop regulations to protect air passengers.

Speaking with CTV Winnipeg by phone from Toronto, Canadian Transportation Agency CEO Scott Streiner said the agency is seeking input from Canadians across the country through an online questionnaire, as well as the in-person sessions happening in eight cities.

“This is the first time that we’re going to have binding, standard regulations that apply to every airline that flies within Canada, to Canada or from Canada,” said Streiner.

The regulations will determine airlines’ obligations regarding issues like flight delays and cancellations, denied boarding or bumping, tarmac delays and damaged or lost baggage.

“We want to hear from the travelling public, we want to hear from consumer protection associations and we want to hear from the industry and other experts,” said Streiner.

“The objective here at the end of the day is to have regulations that are fair, that are reasonable, that strengthen passenger rights, but also take into account the operating realities of airlines.”

But one consumer advocate is concerned about whether passengers’ voices will actually be heard.

Gábor Lukács is the founder of Air Passenger Rights, a nonprofit volunteer organization.

Addressing concerns over Bill C-49 including how long Canadians can be forced to wait on the tarmac, Lukács said he worries the process will be more about furthering the agenda of airlines.

“This consultation serves only one purpose,” said Lukács.

“To legitimize in the eyes of the public, the clawing back of existing rights of passengers.”

Lukács is calling on travelers to inform themselves and attend the sessions.

Winnipeg’s session will take place on June 25 at the Delta Hotel.

The cross country consultations wrap up at the end of August.

After regulations are drafted, the rules will need to be approved by both the Canadian Transportation Agency and the federal cabinet.