On November 3, 2016, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, presented to the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal, the Transportation 2030 plan for the future development of the Canadian transportation system. The plan is the result of extensive public consultations on key recommendations of the Canada Transportation Act Review Report, also known as the Emerson Report. The plan is broadly grouped into five themes: the traveller, safer transportation, green and innovative transportation, waterways, coasts and the north, and trade corridors to global markets.
Foreign Investment in Canadian Airlines
Of particular note, the Canadian government will now allow greater foreign investment into Canadian airlines. International companies will be able to own up to 49 per cent of a Canadian airline – up from 25 per cent – but a single foreign investor, or combination of foreign investors, will be capped at a maximum of 25 per cent.
Along with that announcement, the Minister also issued specific exemptions to two companies, Enerjet and Canada Jetlines, to allow them to immediately pursue increased foreign investment, as the legislative amendments necessary to complete the policy change are enacted. Both airlines intend to operate in Canada as ULCCs.
Air Traveller Passenger Rights
Another important policy development will be the introduction of an Air Travellers Passenger Rights Regime in the coming months. The new Rights Regime will set clear minimum requirements in terms of traveller’s rights and how they will be protected if problems arise. The measures may include compensation standards for passengers denied boarding due to factors within an air carrier’s control or in case of lost or damaged baggage. The Minister assures that this will be done in a balanced way so as to not be an undue burden on the airlines.
More details on each of these policies will come in the next few months.