Quebec has become the latest Canadian municipality to launch regulations that will allow ride-sharing companies like Uber to operate legally. The city’s vote mirrors closely the ones already drawn up in Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, and Alberta.
Whether Uber will agree to the stipulations is another matter (it’s unlikely at this point), but the company is arguably backing itself into a corner. The US ride-sharing firms reluctantly agreed with Edmonton and Toronto’s regulations, while disagreeing with Calgary’s and leaving. However, the Toronto and Edmonton laws have shown a path for other regulators around the country to follow.
It is clear that Uber is less than pleased with laws like drivers needing commercial auto insurance and Class 4 licenses, regulations which are becoming common.
The floodgates have opened, so to speak, and municipalities are now attempting to adopt ride-sharing after two years of wrangling and debate. However, Uber may end up preferring the old model where it operated around Canada as a rogue company.
To ensure the company does not just go back to doing that, Quebec has made its punishments for Uber and its drivers not abiding by the law suitably harsh. For example, drivers taking payment to transport passengers without proper licensing will be fined between $2,500 to $25,000, a deterrent even at the low end of the scale. Uber will be fined $50,000 for such infractions.
Uber has said it will leave the market if regulations are too hard, but Transport Minister Jacques Daoust’s said that outcome is out of his hands:
“I don’t know if they will walk out of Quebec,” he said about Uber. “It’s their decision. It’s not my decision. They decided to come to Quebec, if they decide to leave Quebec, it’s a private-sector company. It’s their decision.”