Okanagan MP concerned about inflated airfares for Canadians returning from abroad | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan MP concerned about inflated airfares for Canadians returning from abroad

Penticton MP Richard Cannings is urging Air Canada to reconsider its fare prices to Canadians abroad having to rebook flights to Canada due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Skyrocketing airfares for Canadians attempting to return to Canada from abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic has come to the attention of South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings.

Cannings says his office has received several concerns from constituents overseas who face significant cost and communication barriers as they try to head the federal governments request that they come home. Prime Minister Trudeau urged Canadians abroad to return while still possible to do so.

"In a time when we are all stepping up to do what we can to protect and care for our communities, I hope that Air Canada does everything it can to ensure Canadians can come home quickly and without extraordinary financial burden,” Cannings says in a press release issued today, March 18.

He shared that he has been contacted by Canadians abroad who were asked to pay as much as $14,000 in fare cost differentials to move up their return flights from Australia.

“I am happy to see the government provide a new emergency $5,000 loan program for Canadians abroad but incurring substantial debt for fare changes is not just,” Cannings said.

Cannings' office has shared correspondence directed to Air Canada operations and Federal Transport Minister Mark Garneau, urging the airline to review its pricing. He also asked the federal transport minister to take swift action.

The COVID-19 emergency loan program for Canadians abroad provides the option of applying for an emergency repayable loan of up to $5,000 to help pay for plane tickets or temporarily cover life-sustaining needs as they make their way back to Canada. Applications can be made to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre at Global Affairs Canada.

Canadians in need of emergency consular assistance in returning to Canada can contact the nearest Government of Canada office or Global Affairs Canada's 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 1-613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted where available), or they can email sos@international.gc.ca.

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