Canada Is Getting New Rules For Flight Refunds & Here's What It Means For Flight Delays

Airlines will be required to refund or rebook your flight even if the delay or cancellation is out of their control.

Travellers at Pearson Airport walking in front of a flight board showing delays and cancellations.
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Travellers at Pearson Airport walking in front of a flight board showing delays and cancellations.

Canada is getting new flight refund rules to protect travellers when there are "lengthy" flight delays and when trips are cancelled altogether.

The Canadian Transportation Agency announced on June 22, 2022, that it has put out an amendment to the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, which will provide new refund requirements.

Before this, the Air Passenger Protection Regulations only required that refunds be provided for disruptions that were within an airline's control.

The new requirements mean airlines will have to provide passengers with a refund or rebooking — whichever the passenger chooses — even when there is a flight cancellation or a delay that's the result of a situation outside the airline's control.

The new refund rules will apply on all flights to, from and within Canada, including connecting flights that take place after the regulations come into effect on September 8, 2022.

If there is a cancellation or "lengthy delay" outside of their control, airlines must give passengers a confirmed reservation on the next flight available, operated by them or a partner airline, that leaves within 48 hours of the original departure time.

If airlines can't provide a confirmed reservation within 48 hours, they will be required to provide a refund or rebook the flight at the passenger's choice.

Also, airlines have to identify what costs must be refunded and how refunds will be given, then return the money within 30 days.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a statement that the new regulations "apply to future flights that are cancelled for reasons outside an air carrier's control, including major weather events, a pandemic, as well as situations where it is not possible for the carrier to complete the passenger's itinerary within a reasonable timeframe."

Alghabra also said this means travellers will be protected in "unexpected situations" when air travel doesn't go according to plan.

Recently, people have been facing delays at airports in Canada, including Toronto Pearson International Airport and Vancouver International Airport.

The federal government has put measures into place to ease delays, and Alghabra said progress is being made, but work still needs to be done to improve the situation.

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Lisa Belmonte
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Lisa Belmonte is a Senior Creator for Narcity Media focused on jobs and careers and is based in Ontario.