Passengers on Canadian airlines have been slapped with fines or warning letters by Transport Canada in recent months for refusing to wear a mask on board a flight, with more incidents involving Alberta airports than any other province.
A review of Transport Canada data by CBC News reveals that WestJet passengers have been the hardest hit — with 50 of the 72 incidents, or nearly 70 per cent, involving passengers on the Calgary-based airline.
WestJet passengers were issued eight of the nine fines, known as administrative monetary penalties, meted out since June. The ninth fine was to a passenger who flew from Vancouver to Whitehorse on Air North in August.
Transport Canada has issued 12 warning letters to passengers on Air Canada flights, two to Jazz passengers and two to people on Air Transat flights, while Air North, Calm Air, Flair, KLM and Swoop each had one passenger who received a warning letter.
While Transport Canada provided information in September on the amounts of the first two fines levied — one in June for $1,000 and another in July for the same amount — it would only provide ranges for the amounts of most of the fines.
Overall, two people were fined between $100 and $500, five received fines ranging from $501 to $1,000, one passenger was handed a fine that ranged from $1,001 to $1,500 and another was hit with a fine of between $1,501 and $2,000.
Another 63 passengers have received warning letters. While the warning letters don’t lead directly to fines, Transport Canada spokesperson Sau Sau Liu said they can result in higher fines for a second offence.