The traditional taxi industry has scored a major win in Quebec, where a Superior Court judge has greenlit a class-action lawsuit that could mean companies and drivers reclaiming hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Marc-Antoine Cloutier, the taxi-industry lawyer, says that the industry wants to reclaim money it has lost since Uber launched in Quebec in 2014. The US-based rideshare company operated in the province illegally and without regulation for nearly two years. The company is now legal, but the taxi industry believes it should be paid for the time Uber was illegal.
“This is the first big victory for the taxi industry against Uber,” Cloutier told CBC’s French language station, Radio-Canada.
“We’re talking about 15,000 to 20,000 taxi drivers and fairly important numbers — a loss of value for their taxi permits, loss of revenue.”
The class-action suit is being led by taxi owner Wilson Jean-Paul, who is also a spokesman for the unions of 4,000 cabbies in Quebec. This action would see all those taxi and limousine companies and drivers compensated for the loss of earnings. Uber is currently during a one-year pilot program in agreement with the Quebec government. This deal will end October 2017.
Uber Canada spokesperson Jean-Christophe de Le Rue decided not to say how the company will deal with this lawsuit.
“We are going to concentrate our energies on offering a quality service to Quebecers with the pilot project,” he stated in an email.