Chairperson's Update: January - CCD Has Another Date with the Supreme Court of Canada - International Air Transport Association, et al. V. Canadian Transportation Agency, et al.

Intervention Granted

On January 25, 2024, the Supreme Court of Canada gave CCD, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the National Pensioners Federation jointly permission to intervene in an important transportation case. The case was initiated by several international airlines which are challenging the legitimacy of passenger regulations proclaimed by the Attorney General of Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency. As an intervener, CCD will act as a friend of the court and will provide information and arguments which will hopefully assist the court to come to a fair and just decision.

The Issue

The airlines are challenging the Canadian government’s authority to make regulations that requires them to compensate passengers for various delays, losses and inconveniences while using international air travel. The airlines claim that the regulations are invalid because they conflict with international agreements such as the Montreal Convention.
This case was first heard by the Federal Court of Appeal which said that there is no conflict between the Canadian regulations and international agreements. It found the two legal schemes to be complementary.

Why Does This Case Matter?

Under the Montreal Convention, passengers are entitled to compensation when travel does not go as planned. However, passengers must first prove that they experienced loss or harm before compensation is granted. Under the Canadian regulations, compensation is standardized and automatic with no need to prove loss or harm. CCD and its coalition partners will argue that automatic compensation when travel plans are disrupted are particularly important for air passengers who regularly experience barriers and discrimination because of a disability or because of age. We will further argue that the regulations bring together the need for consumer protection and the need to respect the Charter value of equality.

Next Steps

CCD and its coalition partners are represented by the Public Interest Law Centre. The hearing will take place on March 25, 2024. We have been granted the opportunity to submit a 10 page written argument and 5 minutes to make oral argument.