Taxi drivers said they would seek an injunction against Uber in Toronto, but the city council voted on Wednesday and decided the unions will have to wait. The council says it will not take legal action against Uber at the moment, but will look at the matter again in the summer.
The latest round of government vs. Uber vs. taxi industry vs. government did little to ease tensions that have been building since Uber made its debut in Ontario during 2014. Taxi drivers once again were vocal in their criticism of the government’s ruling, but the council said that its decision sends Uber a clear message, even if legal action will not be sought right now.
“Our professional advice that we received from our lawyers and regulators was to the effect that we were not going to have the best chance at being successful in an injunction brought at this time,” Mayor John Tory said.
Any application for an injunction, which is a course taxi driver unions want to take, will not be heard until the summer, at least. The city says this sends a message to Uber;
“We are sending a clear message to Uber,” Coun. Janet Davis said. “We are quite prepared and we are directing our staff to launch an injunction at the right time.”
Last year the city voted to regulate the controversial UberX service and since then the situation has got worse, not better. Firstly Uber did not comply with a city request to cease operations until regulations are in place (likely the end of 2016), and then taxi drivers protested the decision to regulate the company, bringing Downtown Toronto to a standstill.
Uber has won some major victories in recent weeks, most notably the vote in Edmonton last week that will see the city legalize the UberX service. Taxi associations are furious at that decision, but Uber will be legal in Edmonton from March 1 if it complies with several city demands.
In many ways, the path to a legalized Uber should be easier in Toronto, because the province of Ontario now has something that others in Canada do not. Aviva Canada’s new ridesharing auto insurance policy will make its debut this month, giving Uber drivers their first ever legitimate coverage. The Ontario exclusive policy (Aviva will expand it with time) means taxi drivers have one less objection to the illegal UberX service in place.
However, until the city takes decisive action one way or another, the merry go round will keep going.