B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has ordered Air Canada to pay a B.C. couple $1,400 for flight delays the airline said were a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inayat Singh and Suk Young Yoon told tribunal vice-chair Shelley Lopez that Air Canada owed them compensation under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations for a delay in their arrival at their final destination.
Singh and Yoon were booked on flight AC190, scheduled to depart Victoria on Aug. 22, 2021 at 12:30 a.m. It was set to arrive in Toronto at 7:56 a.m.
The flight was cancelled a few hours before the flight. The company rebooked the pair on a flight arriving by 3:30 p.m.
Air Canada said it was due to “crew constraints resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operations," outside of its control. It said flight issues had to be looked in the context of the whole pandemic and not in isolation.
Air Canada said Singh and Yoon had to prove otherwise and had not done so. As such, the airline said it owed the pair nothing, stated the May 25 decision.
The tribunal ruled it was "insufficient" for Air Canada to simply assert that it was outside its control or due to safety concerns, because of the pandemic.
“Second, I also am not prepared to accept the vague and unsupported assertion that I must consider the aviation ecosystem as a whole and find that the applicants’ particular flight delay was outside Air Canada’s control or done for safety reasons,” said Lopez.
The tribunal said Air Canada had not provided sufficient evidence on that issue. Only Air Canada had the ability to prove the delay was outside its control or due to pandemic-related safety constraints, she added.
“In the absence of evidence to the contrary here, I agree,” Lopez said. “I find the delay was within Air Canada’s control and was not for safety purposes.”