Kathryn McGoldrick

Ontario Court of Appeal confirms that US General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 does not apply to claims filed in Canadian courts

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently released its decision in Thorne v. Hudson Estate, 2017 ONCA 208, which arose out of the crash of a twin-engine Beech aircraft in New York State. The plane, carrying two pilots and one passenger, went down after experiencing a loss of power to one of its engines. The estates of the pilots brought claims in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against the companies that inspected and maintained the engine (“ATC” and “CAR”), as well as its manufacturer, Continental Motors Inc. ATC and CAR brought third party claims against Continental, alleging negligent manufacture of the engine, misleading repair instructions, and the failure to warn them about certain engine failures.

Continental applied to have …

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Passenger claims in international air travel: How far does the Montreal Convention reach?

In the 2014 decision of Thibodeau v. Air Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that the Montreal Convention, an international treaty incorporated into Canadian law, exclusively governs passenger claims for damages in relation to international air travel that fall within its scope. Consequently, if an action in respect of such a claim is not specifically provided for in the Convention, it is not available at all, regardless of local law.  This statement of the law is consistent with the interpretation of courts in most other signatory countries.

The Montreal Convention provides that personal injury claims may only be brought if the passenger has suffered “bodily injury” as a result of an “accident” that occurs during an international flight …

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New drone regulations expected from Transport Canada in 2016

In May 2015, Transport Canada sought comments from aviation stakeholders across Canada regarding a Notice of Proposed Amendment on Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones.  For some time, Transport Canada has intended to implement new regulations for certain types of UAVs and their operations. These will replace the current “exemption” scheme, which was intended to be a temporary solution while Transport Canada introduced more rigorous safety requirements and created greater awareness of UAV operators’ legal obligations.

Presently, the Canadian Aviation Regulations (“CARs”) require that a UAV operator obtain a Special Flight Operations Certificate (“SFOC”) from Transport Canada. However, there are certain exemptions to these requirements, the applicability of which depends on two main factors: the weight of the …

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Supreme Court of Canada dismisses appeal of pilot in discrimination action against Bombardier

Last year, we posted an update about the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to hear an appeal involving Mr. Latif, a Canadian pilot of Pakistani descent.  He alleged that he was a victim of discrimination when Bombardier refused him entry into a pilot training program.  Our blog post (which includes a summary of the case) can be found here.

In short, Mr. Latif, who had 25 years’ experience as a pilot, applied for Bombardier’s training program in respect of a particular aircraft.  Based on a prior decision of the U.S. Department of Justice (under its Alien Flight Student Program (“AFSP”)) to refuse him entry into Bombardier’s training centre in Dallas, Texas on the basis that he was a threat …

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Expanded “no-fly” list coming as part of Bill C-51

On January 30, 2015, the Federal Government introduced Bill C-51, also known as the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015.  In addition to amending several existing statutes, including the Criminal Code and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, the bill, assuming it is passed, will enact two new pieces of legislation, one of which is entitled the Secure Air Travel Act.  The Bill received its second reading February 2015, and is currently before a House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

The Secure Air Travel Act provides for the creation of a “no fly” list, which will include the name, any known alias, date of birth, and gender of any person who the Minister of Public …

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Court grants injunction against airport protests

In January 2014, we reported on a decision of the Alberta Provincial Court acquitting on criminal charges of trespass eight members of an anti-abortion organization engaged in demonstrations in the Calgary Airport in 2011.  The protesters had reasonably believed they were permitted to demonstrate on Airport premises given a 1991 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada (Committee for the Commonwealth of Canada v. Canada) which concluded that prohibiting the distribution of political pamphlets at an airport violated freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It had been argued that the circumstances were distinguishable from the Committee case, as major Canadian airports at the time were run by the federal government, while they …

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Canadian Transportation Agency rules that passengers cannot take advantage of mistake fares

In our increasingly electronic age, more air travellers are purchasing flights online, on the basis of posted fare prices.  But what happens in the case of “mistake fares”, when the wrong fare price is mistakenly posted online?  Is the airline still required to transport the passenger at the posted price, even if that price is significantly lower than the fare it intended to charge?

In the United States, Department of Transportation (DoT) regulations prohibit airlines from increasing the price of a fare after the ticket has been purchased.  While the precise impact of this regulation in relation to “mistake fares” has been the subject of some debate in the U.S., the DoT has taken the position that it applies to …

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Supreme Court to Hear Appeal regarding Alleged Discrimination by Bombardier against Pakistani-Canadian Pilot

In May 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed to hear an appeal from the decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal in Bombardier Inc. v. Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, 2013 QCCA 1650.  In its decision, the Court of Appeal had overturned a decision of the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal finding that Bombardier discriminated against a pilot of Pakistani descent in refusing him entry into a pilot training program.

In 2003, Javed Latif, a Canadian pilot with 25 years’ experience and in possession of both Canadian and US pilot’s licenses, applied to a pilot training program at the Bombardier Aerospace Training Center in Dallas, Texas.  As a non-US citizen, he was …

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Do protesters have the right to demonstrate in Canadian airports?

In October 2011, eight members of an anti-abortion organization engaged in demonstrations in the Calgary Airport terminal building. The protesters were carrying signs and distributing pamphlets. After they refused to leave the premises, the Airport Authority called police, who attended and charged the protesters under Alberta trespass legislation. The Provincial Court of Alberta recently released its judgment in this case (R. v. Booyink), and addressed the issue of whether the Calgary Airport Authority is subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the context of protests on airport premises.

 

In 1991, the Supreme Court of Canada decided a similar case, which involved individuals distributing political pamphlets at the Dorval Airport (Committee for the Commonwealth

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Conflicting Court Decisions on Airline Baggage Loss Claims

In late 2012, the European Court of Justice released its ruling in the matter of Sanchez v. Iberia Airlines, in which it had been asked to decide whether an airline was liable for loss of baggage to multiple passengers who had packed items in the same bag, or whether compensation was only available to the passenger who had checked the bag.

The Court was called on to interpret Article 22(2) of the Montreal Convention, which is an international convention that governs the liability of air carriers engaged in international carriage. This Article states that in the case of destruction, loss, damage or delay of baggage, an airline’s liability will be limited to 1,131 Special Drawing Rights (approximately $1,750 CAD) …

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