First, there was the implementation of the Travellers Charter on December 15, 2019.
Since the time when the Air Passenger Protection Regulations came into full force - that's the Charter's real name - and then with the pandemic starting three months later, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has received more than 11,200 complaints.
By way of comparison, 826 complaints were filed in 2015. This is a 23-fold increase in volume in five years!
10,000+ COVID-related complaints
But this unprecedented avalanche of complaints was not over since the major disruption to air transport that occurred in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the filing of 10,000 additional complaints .
Of these, about 4,300 are aimed at obtaining a refund, underlines the CTA.
An unprecedented reality
The agency argues that such large increases in the number of complaints over the past eight months are unparalleled for most quasi-judicial tribunals.
The challenge is all the greater since, since mid-March, some 300 CTA officials have been working from home.
“Despite the sudden and sustained shift to remote work, CTA was able to maintain productivity at a level comparable to last year. We have handled more than 5,000 complaints since the start of the pandemic," says the CTA.
The office specifies that it is maintaining its services thanks to the professionalism and hard work of its team.
“In general, we deal with complaints in the order they are received, and we have resolved a record number of complaints," says the CTA.
The CTA reports that the vast majority of complaints are successfully resolved through informal facilitation and mediation processes . Less than 2 per cent of complaints therefore have to go through a more formal decision-making process, similar to that of a court of law.
“We will deal with each complaint as quickly as possible, depending on its merits, in an impartial and rigorous manner,” the CTA concludes.