Canada: Federal Court of Appeal decides on exclusivity of Montreal Convention liabiliy rules

Pursusant to the Official Languages Act, Canadians have the right to communicate with federal institutions in either of the two official languages English and French. Air Canada is subject to this act and therefore must provide services in both official languages.Mr and Mrs Thibodeau – passengers on round-trip flights leaving from Canada and travelling out of the country – alledged that Air Canada had breached its obligations under the Official Languages Act by failing to provide services in French onboard those flights. They sought various remedies provided for by the act. While the Federal Court at first instance granted compensation to the Thibodeaus for violations of their language rights, the Federal Court of Appeal reversed the judgement and dismissed the claims as it held that passengers have no remedies outside the Montreal Convention while in the course of international air travel. It cited the US Supreme Court decision in El Al Israel Airlines v Tseng and noted that a passenger remedy “if not allowed under the Convention, is not available at all”.Case details: Thibodeau v Air Canada 2012 FCA 246; full text of judgement avialable here>>.

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