Few flights and high prices burst northern travel bubble for some

From CBC News – link to story

Canadian North is running 50% of the flights it used to, with 10% of the passengers

CBC News · Posted: Jun 23, 2020

Rachel Marin isn’t sure she can travel to her home town of Ranklin Inlet, Nunavut, given the change in flight routes that will make it a costly trip. (submitted by Rachel Marin)

When Rachel Marin heard about the N.W.T.-Nunavut travel bubble, she thought her summer was saved. Though she’s lived in Yellowknife since 2001, she loves returning to her home town, Rankin Inlet. 

“I was like, ‘Wow this is so awesome!'” she said. “It’s pretty neat to have this [COVID-19-]free zone that you can travel in.” 

The mood shifted when she found out that the only airline with scheduled flights between the two territories is still running far fewer flights, at higher costs to customers. 

The airline has cancelled direct flights between Yellowknife to Rankin Inlet to Iqaluit. Passengers from Yellowknife now have to overnight in Cambridge Bay, then take a second flight that goes to Rankin Inlet and on to Iqaluit. A one-night stay in a hotel in Cambridge Bay costs about $250. 

“You know what?” Marin said. “I can’t really do that.” 

Inukshuk Aksalnik, who lives in Nunavut, looked into making the trip from Iqaluit to Yellowknife. She stopped when she found out the cost. 

“I’ll wait for the airline to reintroduce the Iqaluit-Rankin-Yellowknife flight and hope it doesn’t cost $9,000 for a family of three,” Aksalnik said. 

90 per cent drop in business

Andrew Pope, vice-president with Canadian North, said although the travel bubble came as “encouraging and welcoming news for our business,” the company has a long way to go before it’s back to business as usual. 

The airline has seen an 80 to 90 per cent drop in passengers since the onset of the pandemic, he said. It’s now offering about 50 per cent of the flights they had before. 

And even that leaves planes a lot emptier than they used to be, Pope said.

As for prices, Pope said they haven’t raised any, but in some cases, new routing has almost doubled the fare. 

The federal and territorial governments have given the newly merged airline millions of dollars to stay afloat through the crisis. 

In May, Canadian North got over $5 million in federal pandemic relief funds filtered through the N.W.T. government. Nunavut has offered federal pandemic bailout money along with payments to make up for what the government would normally pay for medical and government travel.

Pope said his company has been working closely with the territorial governments to maintain an essential level of service. He said that’s how they arrived at the revised routing of Yellowknife to Cambridge Bay to Iqaluit. 

However, he also said new flights and routes would be considered as demand returns. 

And while the company is grateful for the support it’s receive so far, he said the airline will need even more. 

“Even with some of the gains that we have seen in the last month, it still does look like a very long road to recovery.”

For Marin, who hopes to make her trip in August or September, she plans to wait and see what the options are before she books anything.   

She said a Canadian North travel agent she spoke to said the airline is now making plans “month by month.” 

“At one point we were day by day, week by week, now we’re month by month, which is pretty good,” said Marin. “Maybe soon we’ll be open and go wherever we please.”

Written by Sara Minogue, with files from Kate Kyle

Canadian North updates Schedule

From Canadian North | 29 May 2020

Link to Full Schedule

Update to our Goodwill Policy

We have updated our Goodwill Policy for customers whose travel has been affected by COVID-19, effective May 29, 2020. Please see here for complete details.

Seat assignment pre-selection suspension

The Government of Nunavut has requested that, wherever possible, passengers who have been isolated as part of the its COVID-19 prevention measures are separated from other passengers while travelling. As a result, we have temporarily suspended advance seat selection on all northbound flights from Edmonton and Ottawa, as well as all Nunavut flights departing from Yellowknife and Iqaluit.

If you are booked to travel on one of these affected flights and have already selected your seat, we may need to change it in order to group isolated passengers and separate them from other passengers. You will then be assigned a new seat at check-in or prior to boarding. It will also be important that passengers remain in their assigned seat even if other open seats appear to be available.

If you have any questions about your upcoming travel, please contact us at 1.800.267.1247 or contact@canadiannorth.com. Thank you for your patience and for helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the communities we serve. 

5 airlines in the N.W.T. will share in federal $8.7M announced previously

News from CBC News – link to story

Territorial government to release federal dollars to five airlines offering schedule-based passenger service

CBC News · Posted: May 08, 2020

The Kingair 350 used by Yellowknife’s Air Tindi to fly medevacs. Air Tindi is one of five airlines that will have a share in $8.7 million federal aviation funding. (Kevin Wang/Submitted by Joel Strong-Covello)

Five airlines offering scheduled passenger service in the N.W.T. during the COVID-19 pandemic will share in $8.7 million in federal funding.

Part of almost $130 million in federal COVID-19 support money announced for the North on April 14 was meant to buttress air service in Nunavut, the N.W.T. and Yukon. As previously announced, of that $17.3 million, the N.W.T. will receive the lion’s share at $8.7 million, while Nunavut will receive $5 million and Yukon will receive $3.6 million.

In the Northwest Territories the money will be distributed between five airlines:

  • Canadian North — $5,372,000.
  • Air Tindi — $1,565,000.
  • Northwestern Air Lease — $793,00.
  • North-Wright Airways — $589,000.
  • Aklak Air — $381,000.

In a press release Friday, the territorial government stated the money was meant to “ensure those companies can continue to fly essential supplies into remote communities.”

When the money for airlines was first announced, some airline operators said the help was welcome but would not go far enough.

But Friday’s press release states that this funding is only the first of two instalments. The next phase, according to the N.W.T. government, will “be aimed at providing longer term certainty for the industry, as well as include other sectors of the airline industry, like charter services and rotary wing.”

The press release did not go into any further details on what that funding would look like.

The N.W.T. government had already announced waived fees at all N.W.T. airports for airlines and any businesses operating at those airports. In Friday’s press release, they say that is expected to represent approximately $2 million in support for the industry.

Canadian North Schedule Update

From Canadian North

Effective: 24 April 2020 – Link to full Schedule

FromToWeekly Frequency
Rankin InletWinnipeg6
WinnipegRankin Inlet6
KuujjuaqMontreal (Dorval)4
Montreal (Dorval)Kuujjuaq4
Arctic BayIqaluit3
Arctic BayResolute3
IqaluitArctic Bay3
OttawaArctic Bay3
ResoluteArctic Bay3
Arctic BayOttawa2
Cambridge BayEdmonton2
Cambridge BayGjoa Haven2
Cambridge BayKugaaruk2
Cambridge BayTaloyoak2
Cambridge BayYellowknife2
EdmontonCambridge Bay2
EdmontonFort Simpson2
EdmontonGjoa Haven2
EdmontonNorman Wells2
Fort SimpsonFort Simpson2
Fort SimpsonHay River2
Grise FiordResolute2
Hay RiverEdmonton2
Hay RiverYellowknife2

Link to Canadian North Update including:

New location for Canadian North Montréal cargo pick-ups and drop-offs effective Tuesday, April 28, 2020

From Canadian North ~ April 22, 2020

Effective Tuesday, April 28, 2020, Canadian North Cargo will be handled in Montréal by Air Inuit, from their new warehouse location at 800 Blvd. Stuart-Graham, Suite #110 (map – https://goo.gl/maps/Mv9nGy14aj8Gctou9)

This means that beginning on that date, all Canadian North cargo pick-ups and drop-offs will be made from this location.

Customer service hours:
Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

Truck Receiving Hours:
Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday 8:00 am to 2:00 pm

We look forward to serving you from this new location, with support from our cargo partners at Air Inuit.

Canadian North Update

From Canadian North

An update on our response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

At Canadian North, the safety and well-being of our passengers, customers and employees is always our number one priority.

With this in mind, we would like to provide an update on the ongoing global response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the proactive actions our team is taking to safeguard everyone within our care.

Last updated – Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Temporary  travel restrictions

Temporary changes to our passenger schedule, beginning Thursday, April 2, 2020

In response to decreased passenger demand due to the current travel restrictions put in place by the Government of Nunavut, Government of the Northwest Territories and the Kativik Regional Government, we have temporarily adjusted our passenger schedule.

You can find our most recent schedule here.

As noted:

  • We have decreased our frequency of passenger service on our Montreal-Kuujjuaq and Mackenzie Valley routes.
  • We have temporarily suspended our Trans-Arctic route
  • We have added a new connecting flights between Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit
  • We have adjusted our operating days and flight times on our Ottawa-Iqaluit route and all other Nunavut routes

These changes will not affect our cargo operations.  We have taken steps to ensure the continued flow of food, medical supplies and other essential goods to all communities we serve and will carefully monitor our capacity.

Changes will be gradually rolled out beginning on Thursday, April 2, with the new schedule fully in place by Sunday, April 5. If you have any questions about your upcoming travel, please contact us at 1.800.267.1247 or contact@canadiannorth.com.

Air Canada suspends flights between Yellowknife and Calgary, Vancouver

Provided by CBC News – Link to full story and updates

Flights between Yellowknife and Edmonton do not appear to be affected

Sidney Cohen · CBC News · Posted: Mar 19, 2020

An Air Canada plane arrives at the Whitehorse airport in winter. The airline plans to suspend flights between Yellowknife and Calgary and Yellowknife and Vancouver as part of major service reductions due to COVID-19. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

Air Canada will soon suspend flights between Yellowknife and Calgary, and Yellowknife and Vancouver as part of major cuts to service in response to the novel coronavirus.

The Calgary-Yellowknife route will be suspended from March 23 to April 30, and the Vancouver-Yellowknife route will be put on hold between April 1 and April 30.

Flights between Yellowknife and Edmonton do not appear to be affected.

Susan Rintoul and her family are hoping to get back to Yellowknife on one of Air Canada’s Calgary-Yellowknife flights this weekend, right before the suspension goes into effect.

We just want to get back home.- Susan Rintoul

The family is in Deep River, Ont., near Ottawa, for a funeral. Yesterday they learned their return flight home with Air North was cancelled, but they were able to secure seats with Air Canada.

In the current climate, however, nothing is certain.

“We’ve been following Facebook all the time and we’ve been watching flights closing down, everybody declaring an emergency state in the provinces,” said Rintoul.

After their Air North flight was cancelled, Susan, Briar and Dan Rintoul are booked to fly back to Yellowknife on one of Air Canada’s last Calgary-Yellowknife flights. (Submitted by Susan Rintoul)

Rintoul is nervous about travelling through large airports in Ottawa and Calgary, but says the family is taking precautions: washing their hands and carrying Lysol wipes. They say they’ll self-monitor for symptoms when they get back to Yellowknife. 

“We just want to get back home back to our dog and our cat and our life.”

The Calgary and Vancouver routes are among 42 domestic routes the airline plans to suspend during the COVID-19 pandemic. Air Canada has slashed its domestic network from 62 airports to 40 for the month of April. It could cut more airports if passenger demand drops further, or upon direction from the federal government.

Still, the airline says it intends to keep serving all provinces and territories. 

“Our immediate focus is on ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees, customers and communities,” said Calin Rovinescu, president and chief executive of Air Canada, in a statement on the airline’s website.

We are working around the clock to deal with the impact for our customers.- Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada president

“At the same time, we are exploring with the government of Canada possibilities to maintain essential operations,” Rovinescu said.

“We are working around the clock to deal with the impact for our customers and our business of the various travel restrictions that are being made by governments at unprecedented speed without advance warning.” 

As of 1 p.m. Thursday, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Northwest Territories.

WestJet to cut domestic service by about 50 per cent

WestJet has not posted any changes to Yellowknife flights on its website, but a spokesperson confirmed Thursday that the airline plans to cut its domestic service by about 50 per cent. It hasn’t yet revealed which routes will be affected.

The airline is suspending all commercial international flights for a 30 day period after Sunday.

“After that, we will be operating rescue and repatriation flights with our partners,” reads a statement from Ed Sims, WestJet president and CEO, on its website.

Air Canada plans to suspend the majority of its international flights by March 31, including flights to the U.S.

Canadian North focusing on freight

Canadian North says it’s taking a hit with fewer people travelling in light of COVID-19. As a result, it’s prioritizing freight transportation. 

The airline says it will maintain “minimum passenger service levels” for every community in its network.

“We are confident that the steps we are taking will ensure the viability of our business, for the benefit of everyone who depends on us,” said Canadian North President and CEO Chris Avery, in a statement on its website.

Canadian North -An update on our response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Provided by Canadian North

At Canadian North, the safety and well-being of our passengers, customers and employees is always our number one priority.

With this in mind, we would like to provide an update on the ongoing global response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the proactive actions our team is taking to safeguard everyone within our care.

While the Public Health Agency of Canada continues to classify the risk to Canadians from this virus as ‘low’ and we are maintaining normal operations, we are fully aware that we provide essential services to the people, communities and organizations that depend on us so we must remain particularly vigilant to this situation.

Last updated – Tuesday, March 17, 2020

An important message from Chris Avery, President and CEO of Canadian North

I would like to update you on Canadian North’s ongoing response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We fully understand that our customers depend on us in all aspects of their lives and we are dedicating all of our time and resources to maintaining the uninterrupted flow of people and goods throughout our entire network. The safety and well-being of our passengers, employees and the communities we serve is and will always be our number one priority, without exception.

This situation is constantly evolving, so we have a task force and structure in place to implement all necessary precautions and respond quickly to any challenges that arise while maintaining safe operations at all times. Many of the actions we have already taken were communicated last week and are listed on this webpage. We will continue to provide updates here and on our social media channels.

Our current situation

Canadian North and all other airlines are experiencing a sudden and significant decrease in passenger demand. This represents a severe reduction in the revenue that we rely on to operate our business. This is largely due to the following factors and the accompanying unprecedented economic downturn that has emerged over the past several days:

  • Federal, provincial and territorial governments have suspended all non-essential duty travel.
  • Public health authorities are recommending for the public to also avoid all non-essential travel and maintain social distancing practices such as staying home and avoiding large groups.
  • Numerous meetings, conferences and large events such as the Arctic Winter Games and the Nunavut Mining Symposium have been cancelled, with the expectation of more to follow.
  • Some Northern communities (Iqaluit, Cambridge Bay, Coral Harbour and Igloolik) have requested that non-essential travel to their communities be halted because they have fewer healthcare resources available to them and are at higher risk due to lack of infrastructure and overcrowding in many households.

While there is no clear end in sight to these challenges, Canadian North will continue to provide essential passenger and cargo services to the people, communities and organizations we serve, regardless of these circumstances.

We are engaging with Federal and Territorial governments to ensure that they are aware of the severity of this situation and prepared to provide us with the flexibility and support we urgently require. We are confident that they share our concern and that we will be able to depend on their partnership and support.

We are using our essential resources wisely

In order to ensure that we are using our people, aircraft and infrastructure as effectively as possible to serve our customers while supporting the ongoing efforts of public health agencies to contain this outbreak, we will implement temporary schedule changes. This schedule change will be effective as of Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

These changes have been carefully considered and will enable us to maintain the flow of people and essential goods to all communities we serve.

  • In light of the reduced passenger demand, we will shift our priority to freight transportation to maintain current levels of capacity on all routes with the flexibility to increase if required. We will also prepare to prioritize freight service to communities without road connections if necessary.
  • We will maintain minimum passenger service levels for every community within our network (an up-to-date version of our schedule is bookable online at canadiannorth.com):
    • For our trunk routes which include Ottawa-Iqaluit, Edmonton-Yellowknife-Inuvik and Montreal-Kuujjuaq, this means reducing passenger service to one flight per day and removing passenger service on one to three days each week.
    • For smaller community routes, this typically means reducing passenger service from daily to every-other day, except where demand is sufficient to warrant additional capacity.
    • For our trans-territorial route between Yellowknife, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit, this means reducing passenger service from four times weekly to two times weekly.
  • Our team will engage with all levels of government, Inuit stakeholders and our customers to ensure that we understand their needs and priorities.
  • This schedule change will be in effect for the next seven days; however, we expect to extend this timeline in the near future.
  • Because this is an evolving situation, we expect that we will need to remain extremely flexible over the coming weeks and be prepared to make additional changes. We will continue to monitor our passenger and cargo loads and will make further adjustments as required, just as we normally do, albeit with heightened urgency.

Passengers who are booked to fly with us and are affected by this change have been automatically rebooked onto the next available flight and will be notified by email, phone or through their travel agent. 

Customers who need to travel on a different date should contact us at 1.800.267.1247 or contact@canadiannorth.com so that we can update their reservation. We will waive change fees for people who are not able to travel on the new dates and must travel on a different date.

If you have any questions about your upcoming travel or cargo shipment, please contact us at 1.800.267.1247 or contact@canadiannorth.com. We expect that there will be an increased level of public enquiries to our Customer Contact Centre. We will do our best to address this increase and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

We will all get through this together and emerge stronger and more resilient

We are confident that the steps we are taking will ensure the viability of our business, for the benefit of everyone who depends on us.

We will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.

Thank you as always for booking, flying and shipping with us. We are incredibly proud to serve you and are truly stronger because of your friendship and support.

Chris Avery
President and CEO | Canadian North

Previous Updates

Temporary Change, Refund and Cancellation Policies in Response to COVID-19

If your travel occurs before April 30th 2020 you may modify or cancel your reservation without a fee, regardless of fare type. For non-refundable fares, the refund will be issued as a travel credit voucher that will be valid for one year from date of issue.

To make modifications to your booking, you may contact us at 1-800-267-1247 or via email at contact@canadiannorth.com 

We expect to receive an extremely high call volume during this period of rapid change and thank you for your patience with longer than normal response times. 

Our Proactive Safety Management Processes

As part of our comprehensive safety management program, we have a cross-functional team in place with representation from all parts of our operations to ensure that we are taking all necessary precautions. This includes:

  • Daily monitoring of updates from the World Health Organization, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Revisions to our inflight procedures, which includes the suspension of blanket, pillow and hot towel services, the thorough wiping down of all galley surfaces with antiseptic wipes before and after each meal service and the use of sanitary gloves by Flight Attendants when handling garbage and other used items.
  • The implementation of enhanced aircraft cabin grooming processes, which includes the regular disinfection of commonly-touched surfaces such as tray tables, seat armrests and headrests, seatbelt buckles, overhead lighting and ventilation controls, overhead luggage bin door latches and lavatory door handles and fixtures. We are using Oxivir Wipes on all of our aircraft, an approved disinfectant product that is effective against this virus strain and other pathogens. It contains common ingredients that are safe for humans to handle and be around, and because it is a hydrogen peroxide-based product, it breaks down to water and oxygen after use, limiting its environmental impact.
  • Remove all non-essential material from the seat-back pockets of our aircraft; (updated March 13)
  • Eliminate the exchange of money on board our aircraft; in particular this means that we will be limiting our alcohol service only unpaid items (wine service, special coffee etc); (updated March 13)

Our Facilities and base management teams are taking similar steps to ensure that our customer-facing facilities and offices are thoroughly cleaned with disinfecting solutions each day and our locations are stocked with soap, paper towels and cleaning materials.

  • Providing clear direction to our team members on how to safeguard the health of themselves and others. For example:
    • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Avoiding the touching of eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the tissues in the trash. If a tissue is unavailable, coughs or sneezes should be directed the person’s sleeve or elbow.
    • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
    • Avoiding direct contact with others who are ill.
    • If ill, staying home from work to rest, avoiding direct contact with others and seeking medical attention if necessary.

To learn more about COVID-19 and ways that you can minimize exposure to yourself and those around you, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website.

Managing Onboard Instances

In the event that a passenger becomes ill while onboard our aircraft, our flight crews are trained to quickly assess the situation and provide the appropriate assistance while minimizing exposure to other passengers, just like they would during any other circumstances. Crew members have access to real-time medical support and can request for first responders to meet the aircraft upon arrival while ensuring that public health authorities are immediately informed of the situation.

Maintaining Safe and Reliable Operations

We have taken this opportunity to proactively review our Business Continuity Plan so that we are prepared for any possible developments that would require us to adjust our operations while continuing to maintain the essential flow of passengers and materials to all of our locations. This includes identifying key operational personnel and the coverage that would be required if they were temporarily unavailable, making sure that our administrative team members have the resources required for them to work from home if necessary and ensuring we have contingency plans in place to temporarily adjust our schedule while minimizing the impact on those we serve.

Where can I find more information?

The following websites are reliable sources of updated information:

Public Health Agency of Canada

Government of Canada Travel Advice and Advisories

Government of Canada Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

The World Health Organization

International Air Transport Association (IATA)

Questions? We’re always here to listen and to help.

We will continue to follow the direction of public health authorities and will provide additional updates here and on our Facebook and Twitter channels if further developments occur. In the meantime, we are always here to listen and to help. If you have any questions about your upcoming travel or shipping, please contact us at 1.800.267.1247 or contact@canadiannorth.com.  

Thank you as always for booking, flying and shipping with us.

Canadian North will no longer publish lowest return airfare, key for tax filing in North

News provided by CBC News – link to full story and updates

Lowest return airfare required to claim northern travel benefits

John Last · CBC News · Posted: Mar 03, 2020

A Canadian North plane at the airport in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut in October 2019. After its merger with First Air, the airline said it will no longer make its lowest return airfare to northern communities available to the public for tax purposes. (CambridgeBayWeather/Wikimedia [CC BY-SA 4.0])


Claiming northern travel benefits just got a bit harder, thanks to a merger between two of the North’s biggest airlines last summer.

The lowest return airfare — an obscure number essential to claiming the benefits — is a dollar amount calculated by airlines based on the cost of a last-minute ticket from a northern community to the nearest city. It’s used when filing taxes to claim a tax deduction for travel benefits paid by employers to many northern workers.

In the past, Canadian North made their lowest return airfare for all of its northern routes available to the public online. For northern residents from Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut to Inuvik, N.W.T., it made filing taxes a little less painful.

But no longer.

“We received the schedule from Canadian North last week,” said Andy Wong, a tax consultant in Yellowknife, but “we were informed right off the bat that we couldn’t release the schedule to the public or on social media.”

Canadian North says the change is due to last summer’s merger with First Air. While residents of communities serviced by Canadian North could find their lowest return airfare easily online, people who lived in communities serviced by First Air had to contact their airline directly.

Canadian North’s expanded route map. The merged airline flies to the most communities of any airline servicing the North. (Canadian North)

“There is therefore no change to how we are approaching this for those used to this process,” said a spokesperson for the merged airline.

The airline now says residents must email refunds@canadiannorth.com and wait 48 “business hours” — or six business days — for a response.

“This process ensures that we provide accurate information based on specific flight route,” says the statement.

“We’ve stated 48 business hours as our target, this is something we’ve been able to accomplish in the past. We will continue to assess, if there is an increase on the volume we will look to do what we can to stay on target as possible.”

Without airlines, lowest return airfare is not always obvious

Northerners are entitled to deduct the cost of their travel expenses from their taxes. It’s a benefit meant to mitigate the high cost of travel in the North.

Residents are allowed to deduct the lowest of three amounts: the total travel benefit issued by their employer, their total cost of travel, or the lowest return airfare. Usually, it’s the third.

But determining the value of that airfare is not always easy. Tickets purchased last-minute, at the time of travel, are far more expensive than those found through a standard search.

Technically, residents should be asking airlines for the last-minute price on their date of travel. But if that route is full, an airline may not be able to provide a price — and in any case, it’s not likely to match up with the airline’s internally calculated number.

“In practice … you’re not going to get that number from anywhere,” said Wong. “So now you’re relying on the airline to calculate that number after the fact.”

Some airlines — like Yukon’s Air North and Nunavut’s Calm Air — told Wong they’ll still make the number public. But Canada’s biggest carriers — Air Canada and WestJet — have never embraced the practice.

“They are really gracious,” said Wong. “I understand that they’re creating a lot of difficulties for everybody, themselves included, but nonetheless I am appreciative that they do … calculate these numbers.”

Wong said, after the tax deadline madness dies down, he’ll push for more transparency from Canadian North — and simpler rules from the Canadian Revenue Agency.

But for now, he says, it’s the taxpayer’s responsibility to find out the lowest return airfare — “no matter the complexity.”

Canadian North announces upcoming changes to pricing structure, including launch of new, lower-priced economy fare & updated beneficiary fare program

Canadian North Press Release

December 12, 2019 – Canadian North is pleased to announce upcoming changes to its passenger and cargo fare structure, for travel and shipping that will occur after Wednesday, January 1, 2020. These changes will be implemented in conjunction with the start of Canadian North’s new Medical and Duty Travel contract with the Government of Nunavut. Canadian North is now in the process of filing its new pricing, which will be completed gradually over the coming days.


Canadian North will now offer a new ‘Economy’ fare class that will be publicly available for travel to, from and within Nunavut and priced lower than its current lowest available fares. While Economy fares will be available for advance purchase on all Nunavut routes year-round, they will not be available on every flight or date. Instead, more seats for Economy fares will typically be available on less busy flights and travel dates.

Economy fares will be offered in conjunction with Canadian North’s existing ‘everyday’ Saver, Flex and Super-Flex fare classes, which will provide additional features such as enhanced checked baggage allowances, reduced or complimentary change fees, refundability and the ability to earn additional Aurora Rewards points and Aeroplan Miles. These fares will be restructured to provide an overall average lower price.

Canadian North will also continue to offer periodic seat sales, provide specialized fares for tourism operators and groups and lend its support to important events and initiatives throughout its network.


Beginning Wednesday, January 1, 2020, Canadian North will expand its popular Ilak Fares program to include enrolled Beneficiaries of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA). As a result, IFA Beneficiaries will now enjoy access to the same lower-priced fares that Beneficiaries of other Inuit Land Claims Agreements currently enjoy. Because Ilak Fares are priced lower than Canadian North’s existing Pivut Fares program, it will discontinue the Pivut program in favour of the newly expanded Ilak program, retaining the Pivut name for the Western Arctic.

• For IFA Beneficiaries, it will be known as the Pivut program (with identical attributes to the Ilak program).

• For Beneficiaries of other Inuit Land Claims Agreements, it will continue to be known as Ilak program.

At the same time, we will significantly increase the number of Ilak/Pivut seats on our Montréal-Kuujjuaq and Mackenzie Valley flights for Beneficiaries travelling on those routes, with seats also available on all other flights within our network.


Canadian North’s corporate clients will also have access to the new Economy passenger fares, subject to the same rules and restrictions. At the same time that Canadian North is implementing this new structure, it will also implement an inflationary increase to its high-end pricing that is typically offered for last-seat availability and last-minute bookings. The base portion of these fares will be increased by 5% for the Iqaluit-Ottawa market and by 2% for all other Nunavut markets. Canadian North’s legacy corporate fares which are structured as a discount off these fares or are in the same category will also receive this inflationary increase.

During the first half of 2020, Canadian North will introduce a corporate discount structure that provides a new discount off of its new publicly-available pricing. Discounts provided will be based on travel volumes and will be reviewed regularly.


As part of the Government of Nunavut contract, Canadian North will update its publicly-available General and Envelope rates for all Nunavut markets. It will also update its Priority Cargo rate, which will be priced 30% above its new General rate.


Legacy corporate cargo agreements will continue to apply for the time being; however, Canadian North does expect to implement an inflationary rate increase in early 2020, similar to the increase implemented for corporate passenger fares. Later in 2020, it expects to transition to a new volume-based corporate cargo program.


As part of the above changes, the applicable fuel surcharge will be bundled into the overall price rather than shown separately. Canadian North will review fuel surcharges quarterly and adjust them as required.

“The launch of our new, lower-priced Economy fares within Nunavut and updates to our popular Ilak and Pivut fares programs on Nunavik and Mackenzie Valley routes represent important steps within our ongoing integration journey,” said Chris Avery, President and CEO of Canadian North. “We will continue to listen closely to feedback from our customers and stakeholders to ensure that we are offering the right product mix to meet the essential needs of everyone we serve.”