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Complaints over denied compensation for flight delays still unresolved following lengthy inquiry – CBC.ca

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Nearly two years after launching an inquiry into thousands of complaints from airline passengers claiming they were wrongly denied compensation for delayed flights, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has issued a decision.

However, affected passengers must still wait for a resolution.

That’s because instead of attempting to resolve the complaints, the CTA has directed airlines to reconsider the passengers’ request for compensation based on new guidance the agency has provided.

The disputes stem from the federal Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) launched in 2019. The regulations mandate that passengers receive up to $1,000 in compensation for flights that are delayed or cancelled for reasons within an airline’s control, such as routine maintenance issues or overbooking.

Soon after the regulations fully took effect on Dec. 15 of that year, the CTA was flooded with more than 3,000 passenger complaints, claiming the reasons the airlines had provided for denying them compensation were either inadequate or unfounded. 

On Feb. 13, 2020, the CTA launched an inquiry that focused on 567 of the complaints, involving all of Canada’s major airlines: Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat, Sunwing and Swoop.

As a result of that inquiry, the CTA has now issued airlines guidance on what situations are considered within an airline’s control, involving matters such as crew shortages, computer outages and maintenance.

The CTA said passengers whose cases remain unresolved despite the new guidance can contact the agency by Feb. 15, 2022, for help in reaching a resolution. 

‘It’s disheartening’

Complainant Michael Kerr is dissatisfied with the results of the inquiry. He filed a complaint with the CTA in February 2020 after Air Canada rejected his compensation claim following an eight-hour delay on a Halifax-to-Toronto flight.

He has yet to get a resolution. 

“It’s disheartening,” said Kerr, who is from Toronto but currently living in Fargo, N.D. “It’d be nice to have some closure with it, as opposed to [the CTA] pushing it off essentially.”

Michael Kerr filed a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency after Air Canada denied him compensation for a delayed flight on Feb. 2, 2020. (Submitted by Michael Kerr)

Passenger rights expert Ian Jack agrees. He said he’s happy that the CTA has provided more clarity on what types of flight delays warrant compensation, however, he’s concerned over the continued delay in providing complainants with a resolution.

“People will be waiting a very long time for a decision and it’s still not resolved — and that’s very disappointing,” said Jack, a spokesperson with Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), a non-profit that serves Canadian travellers.

“At a certain point, justice delayed is justice denied.”

The CTA told CBC News in an email the inquiry was temporarily suspended during the pandemic. The agency also said the inquiry was a “complex and large-scale process” that included taking into consideration feedback from involved parties, including the airlines.

Airlines didn’t mislead passengers: CTA

According to Canada’s APPR, airlines must compensate passengers for flight delays of three hours or more.

However, airlines don’t have to pay compensation for flights that are delayed or cancelled due to uncontrollable factors, such as bad weather or mechanical problems discovered outside of routine maintenance checks. 

Before the new rules took effect, some industry experts expressed concern that airlines might try to fudge the cause of a flight delay to avoid paying compensation.

In its inquiry decision, the CTA said it found no evidence the airlines “intentionally misled passengers” when denying them compensation. However, the agency said much of the information provided to passengers about the reasons for their flight delays “was inadequate, terse and unclear.”

WATCH | Inquiry launched into Air Passenger Rights Regulations: 

Inquiry launched into handling of air passenger rights regulations

2 years ago

The Canadian Transportation Agency has launched an inquiry into how airlines handle new passenger rights regulations after it was flooded with complaints from consumers. 2:05

Kerr said he felt entitled to compensation because during his flight delay, Air Canada crew promised passengers compensation and even passed out compensation-information pamphlets. 

But the airline later rejected Kerr’s claim, stating in an email that the plane was delayed due to a “safety-related issue.”

If Air Canada still refuses to offer him compensation following the CTA inquiry, Kerr said he plans to give up and not pursue his claim further.

“After waiting over a year and a half, I’m just kind of tired of dealing with it,” he said. 

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Ontario passes new rules aimed at work-life balance for employees – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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The Ontario government has passed new laws it says will help employees disconnect from the office and create a better work-life balance.

On Tuesday, the government said it passed the “Working for Workers Act,” which requires Ontario businesses with 25 people or more to have a written policy about employees’ rights when it comes to disconnecting from their job at the end of the day.

These workplace policies could include, for example, expectations about response time for emails and encouraging employees to turn on out-of-office notifications when they aren’t working, the government says.

According to the act, between January 1 and March 1 of each year an employer must ensure it has a written policy in place for all employees with respect to disconnecting from work.

“We are determined to rebalance the scales and put workers in the driver’s seat of Ontario’s economic growth while attracting the best workers to our great province,” Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, said in a statement Tuesday.

The act also bans the use of non-compete clauses, which prevent people from exploring other work opportunities and higher salaries at other jobs.

According to the government, Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada, and one of the first in North America, to ban non-compete agreements in employment.

McNaughton says the new laws not only protects workers’ rights, but also will help to attract top talent and investments to the province.

The act also removes “unfair” work experience requirements for foreign-trained immigrants trying to work in their professions. 

It also introduces a mandatory licencing framework for temporary help agencies and recruiters to help prevent labour trafficking.

“This legislation is another step towards building back a better province and cementing Ontario’s position as a global leader, for others to follow, as the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family,” McNaughton said.

A government spokesperson told CTV News Toronto that while the act has not yet received royal assent, it is expected to later this week.

Timelines for when each law under the Working For Workers Act will come into effect have not been announced yet and the government said it there will be a initial grace period for businesses.

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Asian factories shake off supply headaches but Omicron presents new risks

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Asian factory activity grew in November as crippling supply bottlenecks eased, but rising input costs and renewed weakness in China dampened the region’s prospects for an early, sustained recovery from pandemic paralysis.

The newly detected Omicron coronavirus variant has also emerged as a fresh worry for the region’s policymakers, who are already grappling with the challenge of steering their economies out of the doldrums while trying to tame inflation amid rising commodity costs and parts shortages.

China’s factory activity fell back into contraction in November, the private Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed on Wednesday, as soft demand and elevated prices hurt manufacturers.

The findings from the private-sector survey, which focuses more on small firms in coastal regions, stood in contrast with those in China’s official PMI on Tuesday that showed manufacturing activity unexpectedly rose in November, albeit at a very modest pace.

“Relaxing constraints on the supply side, especially the easing of the power crunch, quickened the pace of production recovery,” said Wang Zhe, senior economist at Caixin Insight Group, in a statement accompanying the data release.

“But demand was relatively weak, suppressed by the COVID-19 epidemic and rising product prices.”

Beyond China, however, factory activity seemed to be on the mend with PMIs showing expansion in countries ranging from Japan, South Korea, India, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Japan’s PMI rose to 54.5 in November, up from 53.2 in October, the fastest pace of expansion in nearly four years.

South Korea’s PMI edged up to 50.9 from 50.2 in October, holding above the 50-mark threshold that indicates expansion in activity for a 14th straight month.

But output shrank in South Korea for a second straight month as Asia’s fourth-largest economy struggles to fully regain momentum in the face of persistent supply chain disruptions.

“Overall, with new export orders flooding back to countries previously hamstrung by Delta outbreaks and the disruption further down the supply chain still working through, there is plenty of scope for a continued rebound in regional industry,” said Alex Holmes, emerging Asia economist at Capital Economics.

India’s manufacturing activity grew at the fastest pace in 10 months in November, buoyed by a strong pick-up in demand.

Vietnam’s PMI rose to 52.2 in November from 52.1 in October, while that of the Philippines increased to 51.7 from 51.0.

Taiwan’s manufacturing activity continued to expand in November but at a slower pace, with the index hitting 54.9 compared with 55.2 in October. The picture was similar for Indonesia, which saw PMI ease to 53.9 from 57.2 in October.

The November surveys likely did not reflect the spread of the Omicron variant that could add further pressure on pandemic-disrupted supply chains, with many countries imposing fresh border controls to seal themselves off.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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ANZ faces class action for “unfair” interest charged from credit card customers

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Australia and New Zealand Banking Group has been sued by a law firm for charging interest on some purchases by credit card holders which were repaid on time for nearly a decade, the parties said on Wednesday.

The law firm, Phi Finney McDonald, filed a class-action suit in the federal court against Australia’s No. 4 lender for charging interest between July 2010 and January 2019 on purchases that should have been interest-free.

“The terms of ANZ’s contract made it impossible for a typical consumer to understand that they would be charged retrospective interest, even on purchases which they repaid on time,” the law firm said in a statement.

Australia outlawed charging retrospective interest in January 2019.

The lawsuit alleged “unfair contract terms and unconscionable conduct” by the bank, but did not specify the damages it was seeking against ANZ in the federal court.

ANZ said in a statement it would review the claim that its contract contravened the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act.

The lawsuit is the latest in a string of legal actions faced by Australia‘s top banks, ranging from breach of consumer protection credit laws to charging financial advice fees to dead customers.

Scrutiny of Australian lenders and financial institutions has ramped up significantly since a Royal Commission inquiry in 2018 found widespread shortcomings in the sector, forcing companies and regulators to take swift action.

 

(Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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