Federal ministry under fire for fragmented tendering process

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The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has been ordered to issue confidential emails between airline lobbyists and CTA CEO Scott Streiner after flights canceled by COVID-19 failed been reimbursed, said The Blacklock Reporter.

Streiner has been blamed by consumer advocates for failing to require airlines to provide passengers with cash refunds to the tune of $ 8.5 billion for flights canceled at the start of the pandemic.

“There have been communications between third parties and the Agency,” wrote Federal Court Judge Mary Gleason, citing evidence suggesting that executives “were involved in the discussion” to override the regulations at the expense of the officials. passengers.

The court ruling came on a request by Air Passenger Rights of Halifax to order the publication of all emails, memos and minutes of meetings from March 9 to March 25, 2020, between the CTA and the airlines.

CTA issued a consumer advisory on March 25, 2020, stating that the agency would not require airlines to reimburse travelers for prepaid tickets held by around 3.87 million travelers.

“Generally speaking, an appropriate approach in the current context might be for airlines to provide vouchers to affected passengers,” the opinion said.

Streiner, in a confidential letter to an airline lobbyist in August 2020, said passenger complaints take “time” and proposed to “minimize the number of complaints” to the agency.

“I recognize how difficult and unprecedented this time is,” Streiner wrote in an August 7, 2020 letter to the National Airlines Council.

“It’s a matter of legal interpretation,” Streiner said in December before the Commons transport committee, denying that airlines have a legal obligation to reimburse passengers’ money.

Bloc Québécois MP Xavier Barsalou-Duval contested the claim by invoking Article 122 of the Air Transport Regulations which requires “the reimbursement of services purchased but not used, in whole or in part, either because of the refusal or of the inability of the customer to continue, or the inability of the air carrier to provide the service for any reason.

“You put the citizens in a situation where they are essentially unwilling or unwilling creditors of these huge corporations,” said NDP MP Taylor Bachrach, adding, “I wonder how you can interpret this as a fair situation.

Air Passenger Rights chairman Dr Gábor Lukács, testifying in 2018 before the Senate Transport Committee, said he considered CTA so pro-industry that “I would not trust them with a cup of water “.

CTA “does not act in the public interest, it acts in the private interest of the airlines,” Lukács said.


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