Six consumer associations join forces to demand travel refunds

Six consumer associations and members of civil society have joined forces to call on the Canadian government to intervene so that consumers can obtain, if they wish, refunds for travel cancelled due to the pandemic. The letter has been sent to the Prime Minister and all Liberal MPs.


Mr. Prime Minister and Members of Parliament,

We are six consumer associations and members of civil society representing Canadians from coast to coast. We are asking you today for the Government of Canada to intervene immediately with the airlines to force them to offer refunds to consumers, many of whom are experiencing severe financial hardship as a result of the current crisis.

A large number of consumers are more than ever in need of access to the cash owed to them by these companies, due to reduced income or loss of employment as a result of the pandemic. Some of them have been waiting more than two months for their money. It's a question of fairness.

Canadians have made it clear that they want to be reimbursed for their travel rather than credited, just like Americans and Europeans.

As you may know, Option consommateurs has launched a petition in the House of Commons calling on the government to force airlines and other carriers under federal jurisdiction to reimburse consumers whose travel was cancelled due to the pandemic. Over 30,000 signatures were collected in just over a week. The Air Passenger Rights petition, meanwhile, garnered more than 61,000 signatures in the space of two months on the website.

It is unacceptable that flights cancelled by carriers are not fully refunded to consumers. Indeed, as currently proposed, travel credits unilaterally imposed by airlines in lieu of refunds contravene federal and provincial laws on the restitution of benefits, including in cases of force majeure.

It is surprising, to say the least, that the federal government does not intervene to impose fairer conditions of service.

We are also deeply surprised that, in unsigned statements, the Canadian Transportation Agency considers travel credits to be an acceptable solution, while this same organization has in the past ruled that passengers should be reimbursed for flights cancelled for a variety of reasons, including those beyond the carrier's control.

For many, life will never be the same again, and their economic situation or health problems may simply not allow them to travel in the next few years. It's not up to consumers to support airlines financially.

Your government has a duty to intervene clearly and demand full reimbursement of all sums paid to all consumers who so wish.

We are confident that you will give this situation the attention it deserves, and that your government will make the best decisions in the interests of Canadian consumers.

Best regards,

Dr. Gábor Lukács, Chairman
Air Passenger Rights / Droit des voyageurs


Frédéric Boudreault, Vice-President

Coalition des associations de consommateurs du Québec


Bruce Cran, President

Consumers' Association of Canada


Christian Corbeil, General Manager

Option consommateurs


John Lawford, General Manager

Public Interest Advocacy Centre


France Latreille, Director

Consumers' Union


Version française