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Feds, advocate square off in court over air passenger refunds – Winnipeg Free Press

OTTAWA – The federal government and a consumer rights advocate are squaring off in court over whether regulators misled passengers by encouraging travel credit rather than refunds at the onset of the pandemic.

In the early months of COVID-19’s spread, airlines cancelled hundreds of thousands of flights and offered company vouchers to customers instead of refunds.

The Canadian Transportation Agency issued a statement on vouchers in March 2020 that suggested reimbursement was mandatory only if the contract between customer and airline provided for it in certain cases.


People line up and check in for an international flight at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. The federal government and a consumer rights advocate are squaring off in court over whether regulators misled passengers by encouraging travel credit rather than refunds at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
People line up and check in for an international flight at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. The federal government and a consumer rights advocate are squaring off in court over whether regulators misled passengers by encouraging travel credit rather than refunds at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Gabor Lukacs, president of the Air Passenger Rights advocacy group, argues that the regulator showed bias by misinforming travellers about their legal right to a refund for services not rendered.

The group wants the Federal Court of Appeal to order a retraction of the voucher statement, along with a correction.