November 26, 2019

Compensation if your flight is delayed or cancelled

Canadians are now entitled to compensation if their flight is delayed or cancelled.

With Air Passenger Protection Regulations coming into force (also called the Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights), airlines are now required to pay compensation if your flight is cancelled or delayed.

They must also assign children under the age of 14 to seats near their parents.

These new measures went into effect on December 15, 2019, and apply to international flights arriving in or departing from Canada, domestic flights or connecting flights within Canada.

How much could you receive?

In the event of a flight delay or cancellation, the amount of compensation is calculated based on the length of delay in arriving at the intended destination.

Large airlines:

  • Between 3-6 hours: $400
  • Between 6-9 hours: $700
  • More than 9 hours: $1,000

Small airlines:

  • Between 3-6 hours: $125
  • Between 6-9 hours: $250
  • More than 9 hours: $500

Denial of boarding due to overbooking:

  • Between 3-6 hours: $900
  • Between 6-9 hours: $1,800
  • More than 9 hours: $2,400

You are entitled to receive compensation if the delay is caused by the airline, for example, due to a staff shortage or overbooking.

You are not eligible to receive compensation in certain circumstances beyond the airline’s control, including:

  • Meteorological conditions
  • Instructions from air traffic control
  • Airport operation issues
  • Labour disputes within the carrier or airport
  • Mechanical issue discovered on the same day

Minimum standards of treatment

If the delay or cancellation is announced less than 12 hours before departure, the airline is required to offer you free of charge:

  • Food and drink
  • Accommodation
  • Wi-Fi access

If the airline is considered to be a large carrier (more than two million passengers per year over the last two years), they are required to rebook you on another flight or even rebook you on a competing airline.

Small carriers also have to offer a replacement flight, but do not have a specific deadline to do so.

Free seat selection for kids

From now on, there will be no additional charge to assign children to seats that are in close proximity to the adult accompanying them.

Age of child

Seat location

4 years and under

Next to a parent or guardian

5-11 years

Same row, separated by no more than one seat

12-13 years

Separated by no more than one row


And in Europe?

Thanks to EU Flight Delay Compensation Regulation 261/2004, passengers on flights through Europe can be compensated for a delayed, cancelled or overbooked flight, as well as lost baggage.

In this case, compensation is calculated based on flight distance and length of delay.

If you want to claim compensation

Was your flight delayed or cancelled? Contact our partner FlightClaim who will take steps on your behalf.