June 22, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EDMONTON – During a House of Commons Health Committee appearance by the Department of Transport and three major airlines, Member of Parliament Matt Jeneroux pushed the government to either encourage a subsidy for Canadians who have lost money on their travel bookings or force the airlines to return that money directly to passengers.
Since March, thousands of Canadians have had planned travel cancelled due to COVID-19. Instead of issuing refunds, Canada’s major airlines have offered two-year travel vouchers.
“It’s unfathomable to me that if someone paid for a service but didn’t use that service, that they would still be charged for that service,” said Jeneroux, who serves as the Official Opposition Shadow Minister for Health and represents the riding of Edmonton Riverbend.
“The response from the Liberal government that these airlines didn’t expect this extra expense is ridiculous and offensive to all passengers who are also out of money.”
Conservative Members of Parliament have continually pushed the government to compel the airlines to issue refunds to passengers, but the government has stated that doing so could bankrupt the airlines.
At the same time, Canada’s largest airlines have received government wage subsidies, which means they haven’t had to pay full costs for their employees.
“I’ve heard from several people just in my community who booked travel and weren’t able to go through no fault of their own. Given the current economic situation, many could really use the money a refund would provide,” said Jeneroux.
“The airlines should not be let off the hook. They need to be accountable to their customers.”