On April 10 2015 the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) issued an order that will significantly change the way in which scheduled international cargo carriers file their tariffs in Canada.(1) Tariffs may now be submitted through the Air Cargo Tariff manual (TACT manual) of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Tariff filing regulations

As the Air Transportation Regulations (SOR/88-58) currently stand (subject to any provisions to the contrary contained in bilaterals), international cargo carriers operating to or from Canada must:

  • file a terms and conditions tariff and a rates tariff with the CTA;(2)
  • where a tariff is in paper form, file it together with a filing advice in duplicate;
  • prepare the tariffs in a prescribed form;
  • file the tariffs at least 45 days before they are to take effect; and
  • ensure that the tariffs are maintained in a uniform and consistent manner, numbered with the prefix "CTA(A)".

Historically, scheduled international tariff filings for cargo operations have occurred via either:

  • the Airline Tariff Publishing Company (ATPCo); or
  • manual filings submitted by each carrier.

Effective December 31 2012, ATPCo discontinued its filing service for cargo operators in Canada, leaving as the only method for cargo tariff filings the cumbersome manual method. Many carriers have continued to rely on the filings that they made before ATPCo's discontinuance of the filing service.

TACT manual

Recognising an opportunity to be of assistance to the industry, IATA applied to the CTA for an exemption to the tariff filing rules. IATA sought CTA approval of reliance, by cargo operators, on the TACT manual, which IATA has been publishing for over 40 years.

The TACT manual (which does not conform to the CTA's prescribed form for tariff filings) is updated quarterly. It reflects the industry's rates and rules for cargo operations by air carriers. The TACT manual includes, for example:

  • industry, country and carrier rules;
  • IATA rules on the acceptance of goods and air waybill completion; and
  • country rules, regulations and charges on import, transit and export prefixes.(3)

In addition, the TACT manual provides specific information on:

  • industry and carrier-specific rates;
  • 4.5 million rates for 350,000 city pairs;
  • industry, country and carrier specific charges for charges collect, class rates and dangerous goods; and
  • calculation of charges and cargo claims.

In proposing this solution, IATA clarified that the TACT manual is simply a means of reflecting the appropriate rates and rules for the movement of cargo and that IATA does not create its content – rather, carriers do this on their own. Further, IATA indicated that if any ruling by the CTA required a change to a particular carrier's rules in the TACT manual, IATA could commit only to using its best reasonable efforts to make the required modifications – but that these efforts would be subject to "logistical and time constraints".

CTA decision

In considering IATA's application, the CTA began its analysis by citing Section 80(1)(c) of the Canada Transportation Act (SC 1996 c 10), which allows the CTA to exempt an air carrier from certain provisions of the Air Transportation Regulations where the agency is of the opinion that compliance is "unnecessary, undesirable or impractical".

When considering the various exemptions requested by IATA, and given the paucity of efficient alternatives available to cargo carriers for nearly two and a half years after ATPCo stopped offering a cargo tariff filing service in Canada, the CTA granted the requested relief, noting that the exemptions apply only to the paper version of the TACT manual.(4)

The agency also noted that, if the format of the TACT manual were to change or if the medium were to differ (eg, if there was an intention to rely on an electronic TACT manual), the IATA may be required to apply for a further exemption.

The agency ordered IATA to place the following notice at the beginning of the TACT manual before the exemptions can take effect:

"The aeronautical authority for Canada, the Canadian Transportation Agency, pursuant to Order No. 2015-A-60, granted exemptions to the International Air Transport Association. The exemptions allow for the filing of TACT paper manuals to meet the filing requirements of the [Air Transportation Regulations]."

The agency ordered that any carrier currently relying on cargo tariffs which had been filed by ATPCo must, in lieu of these tariffs, advise the agency of:

  • its intent to participate in the newly recognised TACT manual which will be filed with the agency by virtue of the carrier making arrangements with the IATA (by way of powers of attorney and general concurrence filed with the CTA) for it to act as filing agent on its behalf;
  • its intent to file an in-house cargo tariff directly with the agency; or,
  • the fact that it does not offer cargo services to or from Canada.

Carriers are required to comply with this order by July 13 2015, failing which the CTA has indicated that it may take further action.

For further information on this topic please contact Carlos P Martins at Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn LLP by telephone (+1 416 982 3800) or email (cmartins@lexcanada.com). The Bersenas Jacobsen Chouest Thomson Blackburn website can be accessed at www.lexcanada.com.


(1) Order 2015-A-60.

(2) It is important to understand that, even as relates to jurisdictions with open skies arrangements with Canada, carriers with cargo operations to or from Canada must file a terms and conditions tariff, even it they are not required to file rates tariffs. This is the case, for example, with carriers based in the United States.

(3) Details on the IATA TACT manual can be found online at www.iata.org/publications/pages/air-cargo-tariff.aspx

(4) In particular, exemptions were requested for Sections 110(1), 114(5), 114(6), 115(1) and 120(2) of the Air Transportation Regulations.

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