Airports This was unacceptable and changes are needed

Airports: This was unacceptable and changes are needed

The transport sector is part of our lives. Essential for visiting relatives and relatives, for holidays… When we talk about transport, it’s not just about metal or concrete: it’s the people who are at the center.

It is undeniable that our transport systems have been put to the test in recent years. This is especially true for our aviation industry, which was almost non-existent at the height of the pandemic and has experienced a meteoric rise in just a few months.

Quebecers and all Canadians understand that inclement weather can disrupt air travel. However, they expect and deserve to be kept informed of alternative plans and compensated when their rights are violated. Unfortunately, the circumstances faced by many travelers this holiday season were totally unacceptable.

Also by train

Quebecers are stuck in a foreign country, not knowing when they can return home, and have almost no communication from Sunwing. The same applies to passengers who have traveled with VIA Rail and are sometimes stuck on a train for 19 hours with little news. Canadians deserve better.

It is clear that changes are necessary. We took action and many of the problems that caused, for example, the long lines at security and customs last summer have not arisen during the holiday season. But it is clear that there is still much to be done.

Travelers Charter

The Government of Canada has a role to play in regulating the industry and protecting Canadians. In 2019, we were the first government to introduce a charter of rights for travelers. But the pandemic has exposed shortcomings. That’s why we strengthened it in September with a number of important measures. For example, we’ve made sure situations like pandemics and snowstorms are covered for refunds.

But we knew that this 2.0 charter needed to be further strengthened, especially given the avalanche of complaints the Canadian Transportation Agency (OTC) was experiencing after certain airlines refused to provide compensation and refunds to travelers who were nonetheless eligible.

Our government is therefore working on a 3.0 charter with significant changes that should put the burden of proof on the shoulders of the airlines and not on the travellers. We hope to roll out these changes in the coming months.

We’re also running a full review of what happened to VIA Rail over the holidays. The results will guide the next steps to be taken to ensure this never happens again. We are also moving forward with the high-frequency train project between Quebec City and Toronto, which will allow tracks to be dedicated to this train rather than using CN or CP rails as is currently the case.


As Secretary of Transportation, I know my responsibility to Canadians to strengthen our transportation sector. In a country as big as ours, a lot still needs to be done to have a competitive, affordable, resilient and efficient sector. And our government is ready to continue this work.

Omar Algabra, Minister of Transport of Canada