Three years after new rules came into force, the regulator overseeing Canadian airlines has not issued any fines related to passenger compensation claims for flight delays and cancellations.
Air passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs says that reveals a reluctance by the Canadian Transportation Agency to exercise its authority on consumers' behalf.
The lack of fines so far comes despite a flood of complaints made by travellers both formally and through social media who say their claims for compensation were rejected after airlines cancelled or held up their trips amid the airport chaos of the past few months.
The country's passenger rights charter mandates airlines to pay up to $1,000 for cancellations or significant delays that stem from reasons within the carrier's control when the notification comes 14 days or less before departure.
But carriers including Air Canada and WestJet have denied payments on the basis of crew shortages, deeming the reason a safety issue exempt from compensation, despite the agency's stance that lack of staff typically falls within the airline's control and therefore should result in compensation.
The Canada Transportation Act grants the agency the power to probe companies and individuals that it believes have breached the legislation, allowing it to demand documents, search premises and issue fines of up to $25,000.