A person holding their passport and documents at the airport

What you should know about the Air Passenger Bill of Rights

The Air Passenger Protection Regulations (better known as the Air Passenger Bill of Rights) was brought in by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) in two phases in 2019. Airlines are now required to adhere to a set of regulations that provide better protection for air passengers when they face things like delays and flight cancellations.

Let’s take a look at the provisions of that Bill of Rights and see why travel insurance remains essential for anyone who ventures outside their home province.

What does the Bill of Rights cover?

The Air Passenger Bill of Rights was put in place to establish airlines’ obligations toward their passengers. It includes minimum standards for how passengers are treated (keeping them informed of flight delays, children’s seating assignments, tarmac delays, and so forth) and entitles passengers to compensation if certain things happen.

The requirements apply to all flights to, from, and within Canada, including connecting flights. Passengers are only entitled to compensation under the charter if the problem they experience is the result of something under the airline’s control and is not required for safety purposes.

How much compensation does the Bill of Rights provide for?

  • If your flight is cancelled or delayed, you may be entitled to compensation of $1,000 or more at the upper end of the scale.
  • If your baggage is lost or damaged on a flight to, from, or within Canada, including on a connecting flight, you may receive compensation of up to $2,100.
  • If you can’t board because your flight is overbooked (there’s no room despite the airline having sold you a ticket), you may be entitled to compensation of $2,400 or more at the upper end of the scale.
  • If your flight is delayed two hours or more, you must be provided with food and drink at no charge. If you have to wait overnight, you’re entitled to free accommodations and transportation there and back.

Claims for compensation must be filed with the airline responsible for what happened.

Why is travel insurance still a good idea?

  • So you’re covered if you have to cancel your trip or go home early.
    Blue Cross® Trip Cancellation or Interruption Insurance covers all your insured, nonrefundable expenses (flight, accommodations, activities, etc.) in the event that you have to cancel or break off your trip because of something outside your control.
  • So you’re better protected if your baggage gets lost or stolen.
    Blue Cross Baggage Insurance covers loss, theft, and damage to your stuff while you’re on your trip, wherever the incident takes place.
  • So you get Flight Delay Service™ if your flight is delayed.
    Flight Delay Service comes free with every Blue Cross travel insurance policy and kicks in immediately to compensate you directly if your flight is delayed three hours or more.
  • So you can get medical care in an emergency.
    The Air Passenger Bill of Rights doesn’t cover medical care on your trip either. That’s why travel insurance remains essential—because you never know when you’re going to have an accident or get sick, even on vacation.

Good news: Any compensation you’re entitled to under the Air Passenger Bill of Rights is in addition to your travel insurance coverage. That means that no matter how much you get from your airline, your travel insurance coverage still pays its full value.

Taking out travel insurance is the ideal solution for travelling with peace of mind. Have Ontario Blue Cross® by your side every step of the way, with various coverage options to match all your needs and plans. Learn more about our travel insurance solutions.

Mélanie Dimmock

Project manager, Customer Relations Centre 


For more information, see the Canadian Transportation Agency FAQs or the full regulations.