Quebec takes control of Uber debate

Quebec takes control of Uber debate

The tussle between the Quebec government and Uber continues as the provinces transport minister said he would talk with the ride-sharing company, but only if it complies with stipulations of recent regulation changes.
Quebec has said it will adopt Uber and other ride-sharing companies with a set of regulations that would put the company on an equal footing with taxi drivers. This move was welcomed by the traditional taxi industry but largely dismissed by Uber which said it would leave the market entirely if a solution cannot be found.

The US based company sees itself as a technology company merely providing the tech foundation (a smartphone app) that lets customers connect with freelance drivers. As such it believes is should not be regulated like a taxi company and came back to the Quebec government with its own counter-proposal.

Minister Jacques Daoust said he is willing to meet with Uber representatives sometime this week, but negotiations will only be opened if the company agrees to its drivers having Class 4 licenses and taxi permit. In other words, Daoust rejected out of hand Uber’s own proposals and said the company could back with new recommendations this week.

The province drew Bill 100 to accommodate Uber-like companies and the bill is centered on the fact drivers must have Class 4 licenses. Without this stipulation the bill falls apart, so the government is unlikely to back down, forcing Uber to either comply or leave the market.

“Being a technology company, to develop what they have developed, they probably have a lot of imagination, so use your imagination, use your technology, adapt,” Daoust said in a fairly unforgiving assessment.

It is clear that after two years of seeing the company operate freely and without regulation in Quebec the government is enjoying having the upper hand over Uber.

“We will request a meeting with Minister Daoust in order to better understand the government’s intentions and their views on how to establish a pilot project for ride-sharing,” said Uber Canada spokesperson Jean-Christophe de Le Rue.

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