A behind closed doors study conducted by the Ottawa government looked into the impact sharing companies (such as Uber and Lyft) would have on various aspects of Canadian economy and industry.
The “in-depth” study was carried out by a team including high-ranking federal bureaucrats, a team comprised of five deputy ministers and a team of analysts. The subsequent report delved into aspects of ridesharing companies like Uber and sought to weigh the positives and negatives on the Canadian economy, and how the service would impact local municipalities, rival industries, and consumers.
The secret study was leaked a year after the final report in February 2015, which arrived mere months after Uber made its debut in the Canadian market. Since then the UberX service has expanded and been adopted by drivers and consumers, but has courted controversy in every city amongst local authorities and taxi driver associations.
The report found that local governments would struggle to find ways to regulate Uber as sharing companies by their nature are hard to govern. It is certainly true of Uber as the company has operated since arriving in Canada as an illegal and unregulated entity. Edmonton became the first city to legalize the UberX service last week, with its laws set to come into action after March 1, 2016.
Another area the report discussed was how companies such as Uber have employees who are not insured. Again, it proved an accurate prediction of the market as Uber’s drivers have so far operated in Canada without sufficient auto insurance. Aviva Canada announced last month that it will launch a ridesharing specific auto insurance policy, although it won’t launch until later in February and is exclusive to the Ontario market, which is home to some 20,000 Uber drivers.
“The fact that the sharing economy will create winners and losers is obvious,” the report reads. “What remains to be determined is what the overall impact will be on Canadian society and the degree to which proactive government responses can positively shape the outcomes of sharing economy.”
“For instance, in most cases, sharing-economy companies do not provide insurance, benefits, or training to their workers,” the report reads. “This shifts the risks onto individual sharing economy workers who remain unprotected and unsure of their rights and responsibilities.”