Transport Minister Marc Garneau has announced a new “world-leading” air passenger bill of rights.

The new regulations, which apply to all airlines flying to and from Canada, require carriers to provide a certain standard of treatment or compensation to passengers without the customer first complaining to the Canadian Transportation Agency.

Under the new rules, airlines must provide up to $2,400 compensation to passengers bumped from an overbooked flight and up to $2,100 for lost or damaged luggage.

Airlines that do not comply with the rules will be subject to fines of up to $25,000 per incident, the government said.

“We think we’ve come up with something that’s fair to both the airlines and the passengers,” Garneau told CTV’s Power Play on Friday.

The new rules related to luggage, communication, tarmac delays and denial of boarding start on July 15.

During tarmac delays passengers must be allowed to leave the airplane if the delay lasts more than three hours, unless takeoff is imminent.

“We looked at this very carefully,” Garneau said. “If you look at the U.S., they have a three hour limit ... the Europeans don’t even have a maximum time. We think three hours is a reasonable delay.”

The new rules related to luggage, communication, tarmac delays and denial of boarding start on July 15.

During tarmac delays passengers must be allowed to leave the airplane if the delay lasts more than three hours, unless takeoff is imminent.

The new rules in the government's long-promised bill of rights will also require airlines to provide regular status updates, washrooms, ventilated cabins, food and water if they are delayed while sitting on the tarmac -- a response to a 2017 incident at Ottawa's airport in which two jets sat on a runway for six and five hours, respectively, in sweltering summer heat.

In cases of denied boarding, the airline must provide compensation to the passenger within 48 hours.

Requirements around flight delays and cancellations come into force December 15, to give airlines time to comply with the new rules.

Airlines must provide compensation of up to $1,000 for flight delays and cancellations that are within an airline's control but not safety-related.

Delayed passengers must be rebooked or refunded and in some cases may be entitled to use a competing airline to get to their destination if the delay is more than nine hours.

The Canadian Transportation Agency, along with Transport Canada, developed the regulations based on a consultation with the public and airline industry.

“I think it’s great that Canada now has a unified set of air passenger rights, instead of a setup where it was airline by airline and you had to read the certificate of every airline to understand your rights,” Christian Nielsen, chief legal officer at compensation website AirHelp, told CTV News Channel from Berlin, Germany.

“But it seems that the Canadian Transportation Agency has listened a bit too much to the airlines. Almost everything seems to be without (outside) the airlines’ control, meaning that the passenger will have lesser rights in those circumstances, including two major things that are considered within the airlines control in Europe.”

Technical problems discovered pre-flight, the cause of around 40 per cent of all long delays and cancellations according to Nielsen, are considered outside the airlines’ control under the new rules, as are airline strikes.

“Those two together are more or less 50 per cent of all long delays and cancellations,” Nielsen said.

“Combined with the rest of the list, bad weather, air traffic control restrictions, more or less everything is outside the airlines’ control.”

Nielsen said the compensation packages seem “fair and reasonable.”

“However I doubt you will ever see those compensation amounts because they only apply in cases within the airlines control,” he said.

In an email to CTV News, Air Canada said they "welcome the new additional clarity of the new regulations " and will be "reviewing them in greater detail.”

“Customer service within a cost competitive framework is core to our business and we will continue to assess the impact of the regulations in this context."

Montreal-based airline Air Transat also welcomed the new rules, saying they take a “balanced approach.”

“Transat is satisfied with a balanced approach that sets clear rules for air passengers’ protection, while giving airlines the necessary time to adapt,” the airline said in a statement to CTV News.

“We specifically welcome the decision not to impose prescriptive compensation requirements on airlines when they undertake measures to ensure the safe operation at all times of their flights.”

Transport Minister Marc Garneau unveiled the details Friday at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

“Since I announced a draft version of these regulations in December, we have created a set of protections based on feedback from across the country,” Garneau said.

“We heard from every day Canadians that they were concerned about tarmac delays above and beyond the regular stresses of travel.

“We heard that they were concerned about not being able to board due to overbooking, or that they weren’t being fairly compensated for long delays.”

Travellers will also have to wait until just before Christmas for rules requiring airlines to seat parents beside or near their children at no extra cost.

Airlines will also have to follow new rules for allowing musical instruments on planes, either as checked baggage or carry-ons from July 15.

Passengers will be able to take the cash payments only after filing claims. Airlines could also offer vouchers or rebates, but the value will have to be higher than the cash payment and can never expire.

Either way, passengers get to decide which they want.

Large airlines will also be on the hook for $400 along with a complete refund if a delay or cancellation scuttles more extensive travel plans.

For more information, visit


With files from The Canadian Press