Federal Court Rejects Motion To Amend CTA’s Position On Vouchers

Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw

On 22MAY, Canada's Federal Court of Appeal deferred a consumer group's lawsuit demanding that the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) amend its Statement on Vouchers, which purports that airlines issuing future travel credits for travel cancelled due to COVID-19 is an acceptable measure. 

The court decision in its entirety can be found here.

As Open Jaw has received numerous questions since reporting on the lawsuit, the details are clarified in this article.  

The Notice of Application on behalf of the consumer group, Air Passenger Rights of Halifax (APR), which can be viewed on the Air Passenger Rights website here, reads: 

"The present Application challenges the illegality of the Canadian Transportation Agency's Statement, which purports to provide an unsolicited advance ruling in favour or air carriers without having heard the perspective of passengers beforehand.”

It further states that the CTA, "as a quasi-judicial tribunal, must at all times act with impartiality. That impartiality, unfortunately, has clearly been lost.”

Among APR's requests was that the CTA issue a public declaration clarifying that its statement is not a binding decision and does not have the force of law. 

On 25MAR, the CTA posted a statement on its website that airlines “should not be expected to take steps that could threaten their economic viability”, and that "an appropriate approach in the current context could be for airlines to provide affected passengers with vouchers or credits for future travel, as long as these vouchers or credits do not expire in an unreasonably short period of time (24 months would be considered reasonable in most cases)."

On 24APR, Canada’s aviation regulator clarified its earlier statement, saying airlines' right to issue travel credits instead of a refund for cancelled trips is "not a binding decision” but would not say that refunds were encouraged. 

"These public statements, individually or collectively, purport to provide an unsolicited advance ruling on how the Agency will treat and rule upon complaints of passengers about refunds from air carriers relating to the COVID-19 pandemic," reads the Notice of Application.

In her 22MAY ruling, Justice J.A. Mactavish dismissed APR's request for a judicial review of the CTA's public statements, indicating that the agency's statements “simply suggest” that vouchers are an appropriate way of dealing with the current extraordinary circumstances. 

Anna Kroupina

Anna Kroupina Journalist

Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.


Sharon young - May 29, 2020 @ 03:24
It's a great lesson for travellers to not book flights with these airlines anymore, also those travel agents that book t re acel for people CV without offering them insurance needs to start refund peoples money, they did it out of greed for the commission, They will never get my credit card again to book another flight and where ever buses and trains travel then I will use that services,

inna - May 28, 2020 @ 14:46

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