Liberal transport plan loosens rules on foreign ownership of airlines, promises passenger rights regime

The federal transport minister is promising legislation that would allow international companies to own up to 49 per cent of an airline in Canada, a jump from the current cap of 25 per cent.

Marc Garneau made the commitment today while speaking in Montreal, where he laid out the government’s transportation plans for the coming decades.

Garneau says the government wants to help drive down the cost of air travel by loosening Canada’s strict foreign investment rules for airlines to help create more competition from low-cost carriers.

In the meantime, Garneau says he is granting exemptions that will allow aspiring discount airlines Canada Jetlines and Enerjet to land more international investors, giving the companies what they have long requested.

Garneau nearly doubles foreign ownership stake in airlines1:46

Passenger rights regime

He says the government will also introduce an air passenger rights regime in the coming months that will establish clear, minimum requirements so Canadians know when they are eligible for compensation in cases of oversold flights or lost luggage.

He says the plan would pull ideas from dozens of other countries that have similar regimes, including the United States and members of the European Union.

It would craft into Canadian law something that had been pushed by the NDP and picked up on by the previous Conservative government, but never turned into reality.

The government has been looking at making major changes to how goods and people are moved by road, rail and air after a sweeping review of the Transportation Act was released earlier this year.

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