Amendments to the Canada Transportation Act have provided the governor in council, effectively the federal Cabinet, with the flexibility to increase the foreign ownership limit on Canadian carriers from the existing level of 25% to a maximum level of 49%. It is suggested that the impetus for these amendments was specific recommendations made by the Competition Policy Review Panel in connection with the air transport sector.
The protection of consumers and air passenger rights continue to be hotly debated in Canada. This update provides a summary of proposed federal legislation, which is contained in Bill C-310 - An Act to Provide Certain Rights to Air Passengers. If passed, the law would apply to air carriers that operate a domestic service or an international service, including international charters.
A motion calling for a bill of rights modelled on the EU Air Passenger Bill of Rights recently received unanimous support in the House of Commons. Advocates for the Canadian Air Passenger Bill of Rights contend that legislation and regulations should be implemented to enhance consumer protection and force air carriers to compensate passengers when the services that they provide are not up to standard.
Disability discrimination legislation specifically applying to the air transport sector has been introduced in many countries. Canada’s legislation was recently tested and resulted in a landmark decision that requires certain Canadian air carriers to adopt a ‘one person, one fare’ policy for persons with a disability.
Recent amendments have been made to Canada’s insolvency laws to deal with the insolvency-related remedies provided for in the Cape Town Convention and the Aircraft Protocol. This update identifies certain technical issues with these amendments and considers how the recent legislation amending Canada’s insolvency laws attempts to address some of these issues.
On the first anniversary of Canada’s Blue Sky policy, the federal government announced the first round of negotiations for an Open Skies-type air transport agreement between Canada and the European Union. A comprehensive Open Skies-type agreement with the European Union is essential if there is to be a levelling of the competitive playing field in transatlantic air services.
Concerns have been expressed that the rapidly increasing demand for air travel makes aviation's growing carbon footprint a target for political intervention. Against this background, the Canadian government's recent announcement of the long-term Regulatory Framework for Air Emissions is of particular interest.
A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has shed more light on the complex legal relationship between Canada's airport and air navigation authorities on the one hand and lessors of aircraft to bankrupt air carriers on the other. The decision builds on a 2006 ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada, which looked at the authorities' and lessors' competing rights to detain and repossess aircraft.
The government has announced a new international air policy known as Blue Sky. The new policy will apply to Canada's approach to bilateral air transportation negotiations for scheduled passenger and all-cargo services. According to the Blue Sky policy, Canada will proactively pursue opportunities to negotiate more liberalized agreements for international air transportation.
Privatized Canadian airports and NAV Canada (the privatized civil air navigation service) are obliged by statute to provide service even to financially troubled airline operators. Therefore, when an operator collapses leaving unpaid bills for airport charges and air navigation services, the question arises of who bears the financial loss.
The recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Connaught Laboratories Limited v British Airways has determined, at least under the laws of the province of Ontario and perhaps across Canada, that the test for whether the act or omission of an air carrier rises to the level of known, reckless infliction of damages is a subjective one.
A new Open Skies Agreement has been successfully negotiated between Canada and the United States. The new air transport agreement will extend the freedoms of Canadian and US passenger and cargo carriers by providing greater access and increased pricing flexibility. Despite this positive step, however, Canada is yet to achieve true access to the North American air transport market.