Agency launches new tool to help air carriers
June 3, 2011, Ottawa - In its ongoing efforts to encourage air carriers to clarify their contractual commitments to passengers, the Canadian Transportation Agency has created a “Sample Tariff” to help air carriers provide the clearest possible language in their tariffs. A tariff is the contract of carriage between an air carrier and its passengers.
The Sample Tariff serves as a concrete example that a clear, simplified and understandable tariff is achievable. It contains simplified language and an orderly structure covering provisions before, during and after travel. The sample provisions cover carriage on domestic and international scheduled passenger flights and cover 28 topics, ranging from fares and fees to flight delays, carriage of children, baggage handling, and service for persons with disabilities.
By law, all air carriers are required to have tariffs and make them available to the public. The Agency enforces the application of tariffs and may hear complaints from passengers that a tariff provision is not being applied or is unreasonable or unjust.
Agency staff developed the Sample Tariff as a means to assist carriers meet their obligations and in a way that will assist Canadian and international air travellers understand their rights as passengers. Through the course of its development, the Agency consulted industry stakeholders and has already received positive feedback from Canada’s air carriers.
Air carriers can voluntarily adopt this useful tool in whole or in part when establishing or updating their tariff.
"We applaud the Agency for this practical initiative,” said John McKenna, president and CEO of ATAC, the Air Transport Association of Canada. “The sample tariff will be a valuable resource for both new and existing air carriers. It provides a comprehensive reference document for creating, updating or adding tariffs."
The Agency is alerting more than 700 licensed air carriers operating scheduled services to, from and within Canada on the availability of this Sample Tariff.
“The aim is to ensure that tariffs are more readable and understandable,” the Agency says in a letter to carriers. “This is an important goal, given that carriers are now obligated to make their tariffs available to air travellers at their business offices and on their web sites used for selling air transportation.”
The Sample Tariff reflects current practices by carriers and the latest regulatory requirements. It will be updated regularly to reflect Agency decisions and evolving industry practices.
If an air carrier chooses to adopt the Sample Tariff as its own, in whole or in part, it can still be subject to Agency review and complaints filed pursuant to the Canada Transportation Act or the Air Transportation Regulations, including matters related to the reasonableness of a provision.