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Cancelled Flight Compensation in Canada: Understanding Your Air Passenger Rights

Cancelled Flight Compensation in Canada: Understanding Your Air Passenger Rights

Joanna Teljeur
Written By Joanna Teljeur
Last Updated: May 13, 2024

Passengers could get up to $1,000 CAD for cancelled flights in Canada

Cancelled flights are undeniably one of biggest pitfalls for air travellers resulting in derailed vacations, missed meetings, and immeasurable stress.

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But if your travel involves flights in Canada, you’ll be relieved to know that you will be protected by the country’s air passenger rights. So, if your flight is cancelled, you may be entitled to compensation. In this guide, we’ll give you all the details about rights, what you can expect if your flight is cancelled, and what to do to get compensated by the airline.

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Key Points

  1. Passengers travelling to, from, or within Canada, could get up to $1,000 CAD in compensation for cancelled flights. 
  2. The amount of compensation you’re entitled to depends on the distance of your flight and the size of the airline.
  3. In addition to monetary compensation, you may also be entitled to food, drink, and hotel accommodation.

Your Air Passenger Rights in Canada

When you’re flying in Canada or with a Canadian carrier, your air passenger rights are protected by the Canadian Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR). So, whether you’re a Canadian citizen or just visiting from another country, your rights as an air passenger are protected. 

  • Any flight arriving or departing from Canada
  • Flights with a Canadian air carrier like Air Canada or WestJet
  • Flights within Canada on any airline
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Similarly, if you are flying to the UK or EU, your rights are protected by the air passenger protections of those regions. More specifically, EU 261 and UK 261 which mirror one another.

  • Any flight departing from the EU (or UK)
  • Flights arriving in the EU on EU airlines (or UK flights arriving on UK airlines)
  • Flights within the EU (or UK) on any airline 

The United States doesn’t have any air passenger protections in place that compare to Canada’s or the EU and UK’s air passenger rights. But, passengers can still be protected by Canadian laws if their flight meets one of the following criteria:

  • The flight was with a Canadian carrier
  • The flight was departing from Canada or
  • The flight was arriving in Canada on any airline

Your Air Passenger Rights in Canada

What You Can Expect from the Airline

If your flight was delayed or cancelled, or if you were denied boarding because of overbooking, the airline is required to help you continue on your journey and provide you with care in some circumstances. They must also give you information about your rights. More specifically, if your flight is cancelled, then the airline must give you an alternate flight or a full ticket refund. This is true in Canada as well as in the EU and UK

If you choose to accept an alternate flight, and you have to wait at the airport for more than 2 hours past your original scheduled departure time, then the airline is required to provide complimentary food and drink, hotel accommodation and transportation to and from the hotel if your alternate flight is the following morning, and complimentary Wifi, phone calls, and emails.

In addition to the refund and alternate flight, you may also be entitled to cash compensation from the airline if the following conditions are met:

  1. The cancellation was within the airline’s control. 
  2. The airline gave you less than 14 days notice of the cancellation
  3. If you arrived at your final destination 3 hours later than your originally scheduled flight. 

When you're not eligible for compensation

If your flight was cancelled, and the airline gave you more than 14 days notice, then you can still expect either a rebooking or a refund, but you won’t be entitled to compensation.

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Also, you won’t be eligible for airline compensation if the flight was cancelled because of something outside the airline’s control. 

Situations outside the airline’s control can include:

  • Dangerous weather 
  • Issues with the airport or with air traffic control
  • Medical emergencies 
  • Political unrest
  • Natural disasters
  • If the cancellation was requested by costumes, or security
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Find out if your flight qualifies for compensation quickly by using our compensation checker tool.

Compensation for Cancelled Flights in Canada

In Canada, the amount of cancelled flight compensation you could receive depends on how long you’re delayed past your originally scheduled arrival time. The size of the airline also affects the amount of compensation you could receive. If you’re not sure if your airline is considered large or small, you can find out by looking at the Terms and Conditions section of your ticket.

Large Airlines

Small Airlines

Air Canada

Lynx

Air Canada Jazz

Canadian Jetlines

Air Canada Rouge

Canadian North

WestJet

Swoop

Sunwing Airlines

North-Wright Airways

Air Transat

Rise Air

Flair Airlines

Bearskin Airlines

Compensation amounts for large airlines

Length of Delay

Amount of Compensation

Between 3-6 hours past originally scheduled arrival time

$400 CAD

Between 6-9 hours past originally scheduled arrival time

$700 CAD

9 or more hours past originally scheduled arrival time

$1000 CAD

Example scenario

You had a flight with WestJet from Montreal to Vancouver that was scheduled to arrive at 6:00pm. This flight was cancelled because of a scheduling conflict 4 hours before departure. Because of this, WestJet gave you an alternate flight that ended up arriving in Vancouver at 10:00pm. Because your actual arrival time in Vancouver was 4 hours later than your scheduled arrival time, you could claim $400 in compensation.

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Similarly, if you had the same situation but decided not to travel and get a refund instead, then you would still be entitled to $400 in compensation in addition to your ticket refund.

Compensation for Cancelled Flights in Canada

Compensation amounts for small airlines

Length of Delay

Amount of Compensation

Between 3-6 hours past originally scheduled arrival time

$125 CAD

Between 6-9 hours past originally scheduled arrival time

$250 CAD

9 or more hours past originally scheduled arrival time

$500 CAD

Filing a Cancelled Flight Compensation Claim 

If your cancelled flight has met all the requirements, then you can begin your compensation claim. It’s best to submit your claim sooner than later as you have 1 year to lodge a written complaint to the airline. If you miss this deadline, you could forfeit your right to compensation.

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PRO TIP: It’s important to understand however, that you cannot file a complaint in two places. If you had a flight with Air Canada from London to Toronto that was cancelled, you cannot lodge a complaint in both Canada and the UK.

How to file a compensation claim

Your claim has to be sent to the airline in writing and must include information about why you’re requesting compensation along with all the relevant information to support your claim like your flight number and dates. You’ll also need to attach supporting documentation like booking confirmation, evidence about your cancelled flight like photos of the information board at the airport or screen shots of the airline app stating that your flight was cancelled. 

Once you’ve submitted your claim, the airline must send you a response within 30 days about their decision. If you’re awarded compensation, it can be offered as a bank deposit, cash, or cheque. You might also be offered a voucher. In most cases, we recommend avoiding vouchers, but in Canada, the law states that the voucher must have greater value than the cash compensation amount and have no expiry date. 

Getting Help for Cancelled Flight Compensation Claims

Getting Help for Cancelled Flight Compensation Claims

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. The compensation claim processes can be complicated to say the least. Let our team of legal professionals handle the entire claims process for you! At AirAdvisor, we’ve been protecting passenger rights for people all around the world since 2017, and to date, more than 250,000 people have trusted us to get them the compensation they deserve. 

We’re happy to take the stress and worry out of the equation. Just send us your contact info and flight details, and we’ll handle the rest. Best of all, you can do this risk free because we only get paid when you do. Check to see how much compensation you could receive by entering your details below!

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People Also Asked

How much cancelled flight compensation can you get in the EU?

Depending on the distance of your flight and the length of your delay, you could get as much as €600 in compensation for a cancelled flight.

Can you get compensation if you cancel your flight?

No, you can only be compensated for flights cancelled by the airline.

What happens to your baggage when your flight is cancelled at the airport?

If your baggage was checked in and then your flight was cancelled, you can retrieve it from the baggage reclaim area in the airport. Otherwise, if you’ve chosen an alternate flight, it will be forwarded to your final destination.

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