After two more incidents of travelers being removed from their paid seats, and told to catch another flight, Canada's Minister Of Transport has had enough. On Tuesday, the Honorable Marc Garneau announced proposed changes to the Canadian Air Transport Regulations that would give a strong incentive to passenger airlines to resolve these issues amiably, or else!

The Minister of Transport has already written letters to all the Canadian airlines, instructing them that an incident such as the one that happened in Chicago, on a United Airlines flight, had better not happen in his jurisdiction.

He went on to say that the new legislation spells it out clearly; a paid passenger is not to be denied their seat nor removed from an airplane, other than voluntarily. Minimum levels of compensation will be set for passengers who volunteer to release their seats. However, the airlines had better be ready to up the ante if no one volunteers.

New regulations will spell out the rules

Some airlines currently charge parents for seats next to their small children. Under the new legislation, this practice will cease and the airlines will also have to set new policies for musical instruments. Garneau went on to advise that there may be more penalties levied for other areas of passenger concern, as well.

"There are rules at the moment but they're rather opaque to the average flyer," said Garneau.

All talk, no action

Not everybody believes that writing new legislation will make a difference. The Ministry of Transport has received over 500 complaints, per year during the past few years, but settled very few of them. In fact, their responses dropped from 230 in 2013 to only 64 in 2015.

Gabor Lukacs, an advocate for air passenger rights, suggests that if the Ministry of Transport is responding to only 25% of complaints now, what is the purpose of new legislation? Lukacs compared the new legislation to "entrusting the fox to guard the hen house." He believes passengers will find faster relief by taking the cases to small claims court, rather than the Ministry of Transport.

Garneau defended his Ministry as being over-worked with complaints that precipitated the new legislation. The agency is also increasing their staff to deal with the high level of complaints and the implementation of the new guidelines.

Other areas of the legislation will increase the amount of foreign investment allowed into Canadian airlines from 25% to 49%. Air Canada welcomed the new legislation and responded that the protection of passengers' rights, combined with the increased ownership allowance, will stimulate investment into Canadian airlines.