June 16, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Air Transat, Air Canada and WestJet: The request for a class action was authorized after three years

Air Transat, Air Canada and WestJet: The request for a class action was authorized after three years

A class action request filed against air carriers that did not offer refunds for flights canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions can finally move forward, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday, saying it should not have been rejected three years ago.

” [Le juge de première instance a erré] By establishing voluntary reimbursement programs, [compagnies] eliminated any principal cause of action for the members, as well as all ancillary causes of action,” the panel of judges Guy Gagnon, Michel Beaupre and Christine Baudouin asserted in their less than twenty-page ruling.

That's because, in 2021, Superior Court Judge Bernard Tremblay did not authorize appeals against Air Transat, Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing on the grounds that they did not meet the necessary standards, especially since many companies have set up voluntary reimbursements. programs.

“no details”

However, the traveler plaintiff in this case disagreed with his conclusions and appealed the case.

The province's highest court agreed with them, saying “the judge's analysis was based on error.”

“The judge did not have any details on the programs [de remboursement des transporteurs aériens] Enables all members to be assertive […] These programs have made them less interested in appealing or actually going to be reimbursed,” the panel of judges underlined.

Despite these programs, the question of plaintiffs' rights to interest as a result of delays in reimbursement and losses suffered is still up in the air.

“Filtering” of Protectable Causes

This is because, at the stage of authorizing collective action, it is “not an opportunity to conduct an inquiry on the merits”, but “to perform a filtering role and reject it as soon as this first stage is frivolous or clearly ill. – Established appeals.

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“If the petitioner presents an arguable case, the appeal should be authorized even if the petition is ultimately denied on the merits of the case,” the appeals court wrote.

And according to the justices, many of the plaintiff's questions deserve more in-depth study.

“It is very possible that voluntary reimbursement programs will meet the demands of travelers. […] However, if we look at the rules of these programs, there is an answer to this question,” he clarified.

So four years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a judge must soon be appointed to finally deal with this appeal.

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