How to Get Compensated For Delayed Flights in Canada?

By Arthur Dubois | Published on 01 Aug 2023

a plane flying in the sky

Have you ever experienced the frustration of a delayed flight? You’re not alone. Flight delays can be incredibly inconvenient and can throw a wrench into your carefully planned travel itinerary. But did you know that in Canada, you have rights as a passenger when it comes to flight delays? 

In 2019, Canada implemented the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR), which set forth a legal framework to protect the rights of air passengers in the country. So in this article, we will discuss how you can get compensated for delayed flights in Canada and how to navigate the process smoothly.

Understanding Flight Delays and Your Rights

Flight delays can happen for various reasons. It could be due to weather conditions, technical issues with the aircraft, or even problems with the airline’s scheduling. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to know your rights as a passenger.

What Constitutes a Flight Delay?

In Canada, a flight delay is considered to have occurred when the aircraft departs later than the scheduled departure time. This definition is important because it determines whether you are entitled to certain rights and compensation as a passenger.

Flight delays in Canada can be categorized into three types based on their causes. First, delays within the airline’s control arise from commercial decisions, such as staffing issues or consolidating flights due to low demand. Scheduled maintenance and related work are also considered within the airline’s control.

Secondly, delays within the airline’s control but required for safety occur when airlines must prioritize passenger safety as mandated by the Canadian Aviation Regulations. These situations involve flight disruptions due to safety issues identified during pre- or post-flight checks.

Lastly, delays outside the airline’s control encompass incidents beyond the airline’s influence, such as security issues, medical emergencies, severe weather, or orders from relevant authorities. Passengers are entitled to certain obligations and compensations depending on the type of disruption they experience.

Flight delays can be frustrating and inconvenient, but it’s essential to know your rights as a passenger. The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has outlined specific rights and protections for air passengers in Canada. These rights include compensation for flight delays, cancellations, and denied boarding, among other things.

Your Rights as a Passenger in Canada

As a passenger in Canada, you have certain rights and protections that are enforced by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA). These rights are designed to ensure that you are treated fairly and compensated appropriately in case of flight delays or other disruptions.

One of the key rights you have as a passenger is the right to compensation for flight delays. If your flight is delayed for a significant amount of time, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The amount of compensation you receive will depend on how late you arrived at your final destination and whether the airline you are flying with is considered a large or small airline.

Large airlines, within the meaning of the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, are those that have carried more than two million passengers in each of the two preceding years. All other airlines are considered small. Since the classification is based on the number of passengers carried, some airlines that were previously classified as large are currently considered small due to the reduced number of passengers carried in 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic.

Compensation LevelsDelay TimeLarge AirlineSmall Airline
3 to 6 hours$400$125
6 to 9 hours$700$250
9 hours or more$1000$500

Air Canada and WestJet are considered large airlines, while Sunwing Airlines, Air Transat, Porter, Swoop and Flair Airlines are currently considered small airlines. If you choose to be refunded instead of rebooked, large airlines must still pay you $400, while small airlines must still pay you $125.

In addition to compensation for flight delays, you also have the right to be provided with meals, refreshments, and accommodation if necessary. This is particularly important if your flight is delayed overnight or for an extended period of time. The airline is responsible for ensuring that your basic needs are met during the delay.

It’s important to note that these rights and protections apply to all passengers, regardless of whether you are flying domestically or internationally. The CTA’s regulations are in place to ensure that passengers are treated fairly and that their rights are upheld.

It is also good to know that the travel insurance benefits provided by your credit card can significantly enhance your travel experience. It can provide peace of mind, knowing that you have a safety net to rely on if you encounter unexpected delays during your journey. So, before embarking on your next adventure, take the time to understand the travel insurance policy of your Canadian credit card and make the most of the benefits it offers for flight delays.

Your Rights as a Passenger on European Flights

Canadian travelers flying to Europe also have European passenger rights if their flight is delayed. However, if you’re departing from a non-EU country to your final destination in an EU country, only flights operated by EU airlines are considered for compensation in case of a significant delay upon arrival at your destination.

If you arrive at your final destination more than 3 hours late, you have the right to compensation, unless the delay was caused by extraordinary circumstances. The amount of compensation you receive depends on the distance you have flown, as compared to the duration of your delay.

European Compensation LevelsAmount in EURDistance
2501500 km or less
4001500 to 3500 km
600More than 3500 km

Obviously, one should claim the Canadian compensation if that one is larger than the European compensation. However, in some circumstances, passengers may receive more from the European compensation, and the European airline must comply with your request.

Understanding your rights as a passenger is essential, especially when it comes to flight delays. By being aware of what you are entitled to, you can make informed decisions and take the necessary steps to protect your interests.

The Canadian Air Passenger Protection Regulations

In an effort to protect the rights of air passengers, the Canadian government introduced the Air Passenger Protection Regulations. These regulations lay out the rules and requirements that airlines must follow when it comes to compensating passengers for delayed flights.

Air travel has become an essential mode of transportation, connecting people from different parts of the world. However, it is not always smooth sailing in the skies, and flight delays are an unfortunate reality that passengers often face. Recognizing the need to safeguard the interests of air travelers, the Canadian government took a proactive approach by implementing the Air Passenger Protection Regulations.

Overview of the Air Passenger Protection Regulations

The Air Passenger Protection Regulations require airlines to provide compensation to passengers for delays, depending on the length of the delay and the size of the airline. This ensures that passengers are not left stranded, inconvenienced, or financially burdened due to circumstances beyond their control.

Under these regulations, airlines are obligated to inform passengers of their rights and the compensation they are entitled to receive. This transparency empowers passengers, enabling them to make informed decisions and seek appropriate remedies when necessary.

Additionally, the regulations outline the responsibilities of airlines in cases of flight delays. Airlines are required to provide timely updates to passengers regarding the status of their flights, ensuring that they are kept informed and can plan accordingly. This level of communication fosters trust and transparency between airlines and passengers, promoting a more positive travel experience.

How These Regulations Protect You

These regulations ensure that airlines are held accountable for delays and provide passengers with fair compensation. They acknowledge the inconvenience and frustration that can arise from flight delays and seek to mitigate the impact on passengers.

Furthermore, the Air Passenger Protection Regulations establish standards for passenger treatment during delays. Airlines are obliged to provide essential amenities, such as food, drinks, and accommodations, when necessary. This ensures that passengers’ basic needs are met, offering them comfort and support during unexpected delays.

Moreover, the regulations require airlines to have clear and accessible policies for handling complaints and providing assistance to passengers. This creates a framework for resolving disputes and addressing concerns in a fair and efficient manner.

By implementing these regulations, the Canadian government aims to promote a culture of accountability within the aviation industry. Passengers can now travel with the confidence that their rights are protected and that they will be fairly compensated in the event of a flight delay.

Steps to Claim Compensation for Delayed Flights

If your flight is delayed and you believe you are entitled to compensation, follow these steps to ensure a smooth process.

Documenting Your Flight Delay

Start by documenting the details of your flight delay. Take note of the departure time, the scheduled departure time, and the reason given for the delay. It’s also a good idea to keep any relevant documents, such as boarding passes or receipts for expenses incurred as a result of the delay.

When documenting your flight delay, it’s important to include any additional information that may strengthen your case. For example, if there were any announcements made at the airport regarding the delay, make a note of those as well. This will help provide a comprehensive picture of the situation and support your claim for compensation.

In addition to documenting the delay, you may also want to gather evidence of any inconvenience or financial loss you experienced as a result. This could include receipts for meals or accommodation, transportation costs, or any missed connections. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case will be.

Contacting the Airline

Next, contact the airline to inform them of your delayed flight and your intention to file a compensation claim. Be sure to keep a record of your correspondence with the airline, including dates, times, and the names of the customer service representatives you speak with.

When contacting the airline, it’s important to remain calm and polite. Explain the situation clearly and provide all the necessary details, including your flight information and the reason for your claim. It’s also a good idea to mention any additional evidence you have gathered, such as receipts or documentation of the delay.

Keep in mind that airlines may have specific procedures for handling compensation claims, so be sure to follow their instructions and provide any requested information promptly. This will help ensure a smooth process and increase your chances of receiving the compensation you are entitled to.

Filing a Compensation Claim

Most airlines have an online process for filing compensation claims. Fill out the necessary forms and provide any supporting documentation requested. Be thorough and provide as much detail as possible to strengthen your claim.

When filling out the compensation claim form, be sure to include all relevant information, such as your flight details, the reason for the delay, and any supporting evidence you have gathered. It’s important to be accurate and provide as much detail as possible to give the airline a clear understanding of your situation.

In addition to the online form, some airlines may require you to submit additional documentation by mail or email. Make sure to follow their instructions and provide any requested information promptly. This will help expedite the processing of your claim and increase your chances of a successful outcome.

Once you have submitted your compensation claim, it’s important to keep track of any communication from the airline. They may request additional information or provide updates on the status of your claim. Stay organized and respond promptly to any requests to ensure a smooth and efficient process.

Using Third-Party Agencies to Represent Your Claim

Dealing with a flight delay compensation claim can be overwhelming, especially when you’re already trying to resolve a problematic situation. Fortunately, there are agencies available to assist you in processing your compensation claim. In the following sections, we will introduce three such agencies that can provide the help you need in case your flight was delayed.

Flight Claim

Flight Claim is a valuable resource for Canadians facing flight delays. If your flight is delayed, canceled, or overbooked, you can file a claim on their website free of charge. Their efficient team will promptly assess your claim and inform you if you qualify for compensation.

Should you meet the criteria for compensation, Flight Claim’s advisors will handle your case, requesting essential supporting documents from your flight. They will be available to address your inquiries and keep you updated on the progress of your claim, with the primary goal of securing the best possible compensation for you.

Once your claim is approved, you only pay Flight Claim 25% of your compensation if they succeed in obtaining compensation for you. They operate on a “no-win, no-fee” basis, meaning if they don’t succeed, you owe them nothing regardless of the reason for the outcome. This ensures you have nothing to lose by seeking their assistance.


AirHelp is a renowned flight compensation company, providing crucial assistance to Canadian travelers facing flight delays. With their vast experience, they help passengers comprehend their rights and secure compensation for delayed, canceled flights, or denied boarding incidents.

To date, AirHelp has successfully assisted over 16 million passengers, enabling them to claim up to $700 in compensation. The company understands the complexities of dealing with airlines that may initially deny or ignore claims. AirHelp’s dedicated team adeptly handles bureaucratic hurdles, ensuring that passengers get the compensation they rightly deserve.

AirHelp offers two distinct plans. The basic plan involves a fee of 35% of the compensation, which increases to 45% if legal action becomes necessary. In cases where no compensation is obtained, no fee is charged. Alternatively, the AirHelp Plus plan, with an annual fee of €24.99 ($36.39 CAD), proves invaluable for frequent travelers from Canada. Under this plan, AirHelp refrains from collecting any percentage of the airline compensation, allowing travelers to make unlimited claims and offering peace of mind when encountering delays.


FlightRight is the ultimate ally for Canadians experiencing flight delays. Many airlines are unresponsive to passenger claims, but FlightRight’s commitment stands strong: they won’t give up until your claim is enforced. Navigating the complex paperwork becomes effortless with their expertise; they know what it takes to succeed.

With over 13 years of experience and €430 million already paid out, FlightRight boasts an impressive 99% success rate. Entrusting them with your case means avoiding mistakes and increasing your chances of compensation.

Once they have your details, FlightRight handles everything, ensuring a stress-free process. Their success fee of 20-30% (+VAT) only applies if they secure your rightful compensation. Trust the leading air passenger rights portal in Europe to fight for what you’re owed, and remember, it’s a no-win, no-fee service – upfront costs are nonexistent.

Dealing with Denied Claims

It’s important to note that not all compensation claims are approved on the first try. If your claim is denied, don’t give up. Understand why your claim might have been denied and take the necessary steps to appeal the decision.

Why Was My Claim Denied?

While it can be frustrating to have your claim denied, it’s crucial to remember that there are often valid reasons behind the decision. By understanding these reasons, you can address any issues and strengthen your case.

One common reason for claim denial is insufficient documentation. When submitting a compensation claim, it’s essential to provide all the necessary paperwork to support your case. This includes things like receipts, boarding passes, and any other relevant documents. If any of these documents are missing or incomplete, it can result in your claim being denied. Therefore, it’s crucial to double-check all your paperwork before submitting your claim.

In some cases, the airline may dispute the validity of your claim. This could be due to various factors, such as conflicting information or their interpretation of the compensation regulations. If your claim is denied on these grounds, it’s crucial to gather additional evidence to support your case. This could include things like witness statements, photographs, or any other relevant documentation that can help prove your claim’s validity.

How to Appeal a Denied Claim

If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. It’s important not to get discouraged and give up at this stage. Instead, take the necessary steps to appeal the decision and fight for the compensation you deserve.

The first step in appealing a denied claim is to gather any additional evidence or documentation that supports your case. This could include any information that was missing from your initial claim or any new evidence that has come to light. By providing this additional evidence, you can strengthen your case and increase your chances of a successful appeal.

Once you have gathered all the necessary evidence, it’s time to resubmit your claim to the airline. Make sure to include a cover letter explaining why you believe your claim should be reconsidered. Clearly outline the additional evidence you have provided and how it supports your case. By presenting a well-structured and persuasive argument, you can increase your chances of having your claim approved.

If, after appealing to the airline, your claim is still denied, you have the option to escalate your case to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) for further review. The CTA is an independent government agency that oversees transportation-related disputes and can provide a final decision on your claim.

When escalating your case to the CTA, make sure to provide all the relevant documentation and evidence you have gathered. Clearly explain your case and why you believe the airline’s decision was unjust. The CTA will review your case and provide a final decision, which is legally binding for both you and the airline.

Tips to Prevent Flight Delays and Disruptions

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of flight delays, there are steps you can take to minimize the likelihood of disruptions during your travels.

Avoid Peak Travel Times

Peak travel periods, such as holidays or weekends, are more prone to delays due to high passenger volumes. If possible, try to schedule your flights during off-peak times to reduce the chances of encountering delays.

Planning for Potential Delays

Finally, be prepared for the possibility of flight delays. Pack essential items like snacks, entertainment, and extra clothing in your carry-on bag. Having these items readily available will help you stay comfortable and occupied during any unexpected delays. Furthermore, being able to access an airport lounge can be of great value during hours of waiting.

Book Non-Stop Flights

To minimize the chances of flight delays, it’s advisable to opt for nonstop flights whenever available. The reasoning is straightforward: by booking a single flight, you only expose yourself to the possibility of one delay. However, if you choose an itinerary with two flights to reach your destination, either your first or second flight could encounter delays, increasing the overall risk of disruption.

Book Flights With Punctual Airlines

To minimize the risk of flight delays, it’s essential to choose an airline with a strong history of punctuality. However, Canadian airlines, like Air Canada, are currently not performing well in this aspect. According to the OAG Punctuality League 2023 report, Air Canada has an on-time ratio of only 52%, so if you are flying abroad, consider choosing a different airline that scores higher on the list.

The Bottom Line

Flight delays can cause significant inconvenience, but being aware of your passenger rights and knowing how to claim compensation can simplify the process. This article outlines the steps to follow and encourages proactive measures to prevent delays. Equipping yourself with one of the best travel credit cards in Canada is also essential, as they often provide comprehensive insurance packages that cover flight delays. This way, you’ll be well-prepared to handle any disruptions during your travels.

Arthur Dubois is a personal finance writer at Hardbacon. Since relocating to Canada, he has successfully built his credit score from scratch and begun investing in the stock market. In addition to his work at Hardbacon, Arthur has contributed to Metro newspaper and several other publications