New refund regulations are now in effect for flights that are cancelled or have long delays due to a situation outside the airline’s control. The new regulations apply to flights taken on or after September 8, 2022.

If the situation is within the airline's control

Airlines' obligations to you include:

  • compensation;
  • standards of treatment; and
  • completion of your itinerary or a refund.

Often, these situations stem from commercial decisions the airline makes. They can also stem from decisions the airline makes in its day-to-day operations, such as how it manages aircraft maintenance and staffing schedules.

If the situation is within the airline's control, but required for safety purposes

Airlines' obligations to you include:

  • standards of treatment; and
  • completion of your itinerary or a refund.

These situations are generally unforeseen events where the flight disruption is legally required to reduce risk to passengers' safety.

If the situation is outside the airline's control

The airline’s obligation to you is to complete your itinerary or provide a refund.

These situations are caused by events over which the carrier does not have control, which include:

  • weather conditions or natural disasters that make the safe operation of the flight impossible;
  • instructions from air traffic control;
  • airport operation issues;
  • medical emergency;
  • security threat;
  • collision with wildlife;
  • war or political instability;
  • illegal acts or sabotage;
  • Notice to Airmen (as defined in the Canadian Aviation Regulations);
  • labour disputes within the carrier or an essential service provider such as an airport or an air navigation service provider;
  • a manufacturing defect in an aircraft that reduces the safety of passengers and that was identified by the manufacturer or a competent authority; or
  • request from a police, security or customs official.

Government-issued travel bans

If flights are cancelled for reasons outside airlines' control, for example, when the Government of Canada and\or other governments issue travel bans, airlines must follow the requirements of the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) or the terms and conditions set out in the airlines' tariffs, whichever obligations are more advantageous for the passenger. The APPR require airlines to provide alternate travel arrangements including, if necessary, to book passengers travel on other airlines. Other passenger entitlements would arise from the tariffs of the airlines in question. Airlines are not required to pay compensation for any inconvenience arising from a flight cancellation due to situations outside their control.

Any passenger who believes an airline did not respect their obligations can file a complaint with the Agency. All complaints are dealt with on their merits.