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Air passengers losing patience with enforcement agency as backlog of complaints balloons – CBC News

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Canadians whose travel plans have been derailed by flight delays or cancellations say they’re losing patience with the agency responsible for enforcing compensation rules.

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) — a quasi-judicial tribunal and regulator tasked with settling disputes between airlines and customers — has been dealing with a backlog of air passenger complaints since new regulations came into place in 2019 that require an airline to compensate passengers when a flight is delayed or cancelled for a reason that is within the airline’s control.

But that backlog has spiked in the last few months as a hectic summer travel season has resulted in an increasing number of customers claiming airlines are skirting federal compensation rules.

  • Have you had filed an airline complaint with the CTA and haven’t heard back? Tell us about it in an email to ask@cbc.ca.

The CTA said the backlog of complaints has risen to 18,200 after a spike in new grievances filed in recent months. The agency said 7,500 new complaints were filed between April and July this year, more than half of the amount of complaints it received all of last year.

“The CTA continues to process air passenger complaints as quickly as possible, based on their merit, impartially and in a rigorous manner,” the agency said in a statement.

But those who have recently filed new complaints could be in for a long wait to get a response from the agency.

This graphic shows the compensation air travellers could be entitled to depending on the length of their flight delay. (CBC)

Michelle Jacobs waited nearly a year before hearing back from the CTA, and when she did it was only to confirm that she was filing on behalf of her two children. She filed a complaint in August 2021 after Air Canada cancelled the family’s flight from Deer Lake, N.L., to Toronto citing staffing issues.

“It’s frustrating,” she said of the CTA process, “I mean there are laws put in place for this type of stuff and it seems that they’re just really holding you off to see if you’ll just go away.” 

Jacobs said she had considered giving up her CTA complaint, but after she was contacted last week by the agency she now has a sliver of hope that an investigation of the case is proceeding.

Passenger considering going to court instead

Kevin Smith, who has been fighting Flair Airlines for compensation since an initial flight from Vancouver to Ottawa on New Year’s Eve was cancelled and rebooked the next day, says he’s running out of patience with the CTA.

Smith said he filed a complaint with the agency in early February but has not yet received a response.

While he’s frustrated with Flair continuing to deny him what he said would be fair compensation, he said the CTA not responding “makes everything worse.”

“You can’t rely on the enforcement, the laws are basically meaningless and it’s kind of like the wild, wild west,” he said.

The Canadian Transportation Agency has a case tracker to allow passengers to keep tabs on their complaints. Due to a current backlog, the site only indicates that the agency will process a complaint as quickly as possible. (Submitted by Kevin Smith)

Rather than waiting for the CTA to respond, Smith said he is now considering taking Flair to small claims court, something Gabor Lukacs, founder and president of Air Passengers Rights Canada, has started recommending to passengers who contact him.

“A judge may or may not agree with them but they are going to get a fair and impartial hearing which is way more than they can expect from the agency,” Lukacs said.

While the CTA said it has been able to process complaints faster in recent years, it is currently facing a staffing shortage and attempting to hire more facilitators who can help resolve complaints. The government has allocated funding to the CTA in recent years in an effort to address the backlog, including $11 million in April’s budget.

When asked by CBC, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra’s office didn’t say if the government is willing to do more to ensure the CTA can address the backlog and instead said airlines need to comply with regulations.

“Travellers also have rights regarding refunds and these must be respected,” Alghabra’s office said in an emailed statement.

But Conservative transport critic Melissa Lantsman said air passenger protections need to be strengthened because Canadians are currently bearing the brunt of a weak system.

“Whether it’s the CTA, whether it’s the government, whether it’s the airline, there is an abdication completely of responsibility,” Lantsman said.

NDP transport critic Taylor Bachrach agreed that regulations and enforcement need to be bolstered and argued that the fact there are so many complaints in the first place is indicative that airlines feel like they can get away with breaking the rules.

“The biggest problem is the airlines are making a mockery of these air passenger protection regulations,” he said.

Both Lantsman and Barchrach said the government needs to provide the agency with the resources needed to ensure passengers are compensated, but Lukacs said the CTA also needs to step up enforcement by issuing more fines when an airline breaks the rules.

Passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs questions the Canadian Transport Agency’s enforcement practices and says the agency should issue more fines when an airline violates air passenger protection regulations. (CBC)

Under the CTA’s regulations airlines could face up to $25,000 per incident every time they break air passenger protection regulations, something Lukacs said the agency doesn’t use often enough.

“If airlines knew that they are going to be facing hefty fines for each violation, they would not go that far,” he said.

The CTA recently announced new amendments to the regulations that would require airlines to provide a refund or a rebooking even if a delay or cancellations aren’t within their control. Lukacs said these new changes, which come into effect on Sept. 8, could make it harder for passengers to seek compensation from airlines.

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Porsche Is Going Public At €82.50 A Share, Valuing Company At €75 Billion – CarScoops

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Porsche is going public this week and shares will each be available for €82.50 ($79.89), priced at the top of the company’s targeted price range.

The initial public offering (IPO) will see the Volkswagen Group sell 12.5 per cent of the company’s non-voting shares in a move that will raise approximately €9.4 billion ($9.1 billion) and value the automaker at €75.2 billion ($72.8 billion). This will make it Germany’s second-largest listing ever.

No less than 911 million shares will be sold in Porsche and approximately half of the proceeds generated by the listing on Frankfurt’s stock exchange will be distributed to shareholders. The rest of the funds will be used to help fund VW’s transition to all-electric vehicles.

Read More: VW Banking On Porsche IPO To Fund Future Electrification Plans

“In the event of a successful IPO, Volkswagen AG will convene an extraordinary general meeting in December 2022, at which it will propose to its shareholders to distribute in the beginning of 2023 a special dividend of 49 % of the total gross proceeds from the placement of the preferred shares and the sale of the ordinary shares,” the Volkswagen Group described in a statement.

The IPO is going ahead despite the current volatile state of the stock market and widespread economic concerns.

“This [IPO] is a key element for the group, especially because the possible proceeds would give us more flexibility to further accelerate the transformation,” Porsche CFO Arno Antlitz added in a statement earlier this month.

Speaking with the media last week, the head of VW’s works council, Daniela Cavallo, noted that the carmaker could sell more Porsche shares in the future in order to raise additional funds.

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Canada's economy grew by 0.1% in July, bucking expectations it would shrink – CBC News

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Canada’s gross domestic product expanded by 0.1 per cent in July, besting expectations of an imminent decline, as growth in mining, agriculture and the oil and gas sector offset shrinkage in manufacturing.

Statistics Canada reported Thursday that economic output from the oilsands sector increased sharply, by 5.1 per cent during the month. That was a change in direction after two straight months of decline, which brought second-quarter growth to 4.2 per cent thus far. 

The agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector led growth with 3.2 per cent. Unlike the United States and Europe, both of which are facing drought conditions, Canada has had a good year for crop production said Scotiabank economist Derek Holt. 

On the downside, the manufacturing sector shrank by 0.5 per cent, its third decline in four months. Canada’s export market with the United States has softened and global supply chain issues linger, said Holt. The latter are gradually easing, which could create a better picture for the sector in the second half of the quarter. 

Wholesale trade shrank by 0.7 per cent, and the retail sector declined by 1.9 per cent. That’s the smallest output for retail since December. 

“What happened this summer was a big rotation away from goods spending towards services spending,” Holt said. Activities like haircuts, travel or outings to the theatre, made popular with the lifting of pandemic restrictions, leave out retail.

While the economy eked out slight growth in July, the data agency’s early look at August’s numbers shows no growth.

“The economy fared better than anticipated this summer, but the showing still wasn’t much to write home about,” said economist Royce Mendes with Desjardins. “While the data did beat expectations today, the numbers didn’t move the needle enough to see a material market reaction.”

The performance of Canada’s economy throughout the fiscal year — 3.6 per cent growth in Q1 and 4.2 per cent thus far in Q2 — remains one of the best in the world, Holt said. 

Mendes said he expects growth will stay under one per cent this year: half of the Bank of Canada’s two per cent prediction and a third of the growth seen in the first two quarters. 

“We’re definitely slowing, and more of that is coming in a lagged response to higher interest rates and all the challenges of the world economy,” Holt said. “But relative to the rest of the world, for the year as a whole, Canada has been in a sweet spot.”

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Employers and Your Ego Are Constantly at Odds Over Your Value

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When considering the value of an item from a holistic perspective and through the philosophical lenses of existentialism, you realize an item has no value until someone is willing to pay for it, whether it’s a Porsche 911 GT3, a 26th-floor condo in Vancouver, a cup of Starbucks coffee or pair of Levi’s jeans.

Have you ever bought an item, a leather jacket, for example, for $400 and then a month later, it was on sale for $250? The retailer reduced the price of the leather jacket because the number of customers willing to pay $400 had dwindled to the point where it wasn’t selling. Taking this analogy further, the jackets that ended up not selling had no value.

Value doesn’t simply exist. Value is assigned by supply and demand—demand being the keyword. The value of your skills and experience on the job market is determined by how much employers are willing to pay for them, which constantly fluctuates.

It’s no secret most employees feel underpaid. The perception is mostly personal, based on:

  • Your assessment of your worth, which is highly subjective, and
  • The amount of money you need for the lifestyle you created.

 

Neither is relevant.

In general, compensation isn’t arbitrary. A job’s value is determined by:

  • Job-specific educational requirements
  • Skillset required
  • Experience level
  • Responsibilities
  • Location

 

Additionally, those who criticize what employers are offering them never think about the scenario that the employer may have ten employees currently earning $65,000, whereas you want $75,000. It would cause turmoil to hire you at your asking salary.

“Getting paid what you’re worth!” has become a popular sentiment. In reality, though, the value you place on yourself and the value employers in your region are willing to pay you are two entirely different perspectives.

Recently, someone asked me if I felt underpaid. “Nope,” I replied, “I’m getting paid the amount I agreed to when I joined my employer.” I have never understood nor empathized with people who accept jobs and then complain about the pay.

Your ego and sense of entitlement may have convinced you that you deserve $75,000, but you may find that employers disagree with your value assessment. Anyone with a slight sense of business acumen understands an employee’s compensation needs to correlate with the value they bring to their employer.

Hiring involves taking a candidate’s words at face value, especially regarding their work ethic, past results, and ability to work well with others. Gut feel plays a significant role during interviews. Skills and aptitude can be tested, but only to a certain extent.

A hiring manager can only do so much due diligence (multiple interviews, testing, reference checks). Work ethic, ability to achieve results, having the skills they claimed, and being a team player are only proven or disproven after a new hire starts. Most of the tension between job seekers and employers results from job seekers expecting employers to pay them “their value” for abilities that they haven’t actually proven. In contrast, an employer’s best interest is to mitigate hiring risks by starting new hires at the low end of their budgeted salary range.

There’re 2 types of candidates:

  1. Unemployed
  2. Employed

 

Those employed should not accept a starting salary less than 20% higher than their current salary. Unless your motivation is other than money, it’s not worth the stress of starting a new job and reproving yourself for your current salary.

On the other hand, if you’re jobless, your income is $0. Unless the compensation offered is insultingly low, I don’t suggest you try and negotiate for the starting salary (WARNING: Brutal truth ahead.) you made up based on what you think of yourself. Financially and emotionally, having no job and, therefore, no income is a worst-case scenario for many.

I know you’re now asking, “But Nick, how will I get the compensation I feel I deserve if I accept what I’m offered?” Whether employed or not, you need to prove your worth, which requires the following:

 

  1. Getting the job (Proving your worth is impossible without a job.), and
  2. Negotiate and get in writing that upon achieving specific metrics, milestones, revenue targets, or whatever else you can think of, within your first six months, you’ll get a 15% salary increase or whatever percentage you feel appropriate.

 

IMPORTANT: I can’t stress enough to be sure your employment offer letter includes everything you and the hiring manager discussed and agreed to.

 

Number two makes it much easier for an employer to say “Yes” to you since they aren’t taking all the risks of hiring you at a salary you want and then finding out you can’t deliver. Offering this option demonstrates you’re confident in your skills and abilities and aren’t afraid to prove them.

 

Who would you choose if you had two more-or-less equally qualified candidates to choose from and one of the candidates offered you the option of proving their worth before getting the salary they feel they deserve?

______________________________________________________________

 

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send Nick your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

 

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