Toronto has struggled to properly deal with Uber, first failing to have the service banned and since failing to adopt the UberX service into the cities regulatory bylaws. Taxi drivers are not giving up the fight to have Uber removed from the city, even though legalization of the ride-sharing provider is now more likely.
One cabbie, Sukhvir Singh Tehethi, is on a personal crusade to bring Uber to its knees in Toronto, and he is now seeking a court injunction that would ban Uber drivers from operating in the city. It is not the first such attempt in Toronto or Canada, and for the most part Uber has just kept on operating, driver apparently willing to take the risk and disobey an injunction.
Another problem for any injunction movement is that Toronto mayor John Tory has already admitted that the company does not have the resources or manpower to allow police to go after Uber drivers. Tehethi’s lawyer, Jay Strosberg is adamant that the bylaw passed in 2015 means there is more chance of an injunction being place.
“It’s an entirely different legal landscape,” he said Monday. “What we’re looking for now is we’re asking the court to make an order effectively prohibiting all UberX drivers.”
In October, the city council voted to draw up regulations for Uber, which will likely be completed later this year. In the meantime the council asked the ride-sharing giant to cease operations in Toronto until the regulations were in place. The company has no complied and is still providing the UberX service in the city, something Strosberg thinks is cause for an injunction.
“I don’t understand how the enforcement of laws in this city and in our province should be a matter of politics,” Strosberg said. “Particularly when the law has been so recently amended.”
Regarding the future regulation of Uber, Mayor Tory has said there is movement and the city is working towards an announcement before the summer.
“(What) we instead have focused our energies on is something you’ll be seeing very shortly, there will in fact be a draft policy brought forward next month,” Tory said.
“By then, I hope that we’ll be well advanced on the debating and or passage of a new bylaw that will provide fairness for taxi drivers, fairness for others involved in the ground transportation industry, and choice for consumers.”
Uber Canada spokesman Susie Heath added:
“An Ontario Supreme Court ruling, (municipal licensing and standards), Mayor Tory and Toronto city council have all recognized that Uber and ridesharing is a unique business in need of a new regulatory framework — we believe the best path forward for riders, drivers and our city is to continue that work to update regulations which will benefit both ridesharing and taxi alike.”