Quebec has achieved something rather unique in Canada, it drew up a bill of regulations for ride-sharing companies that the taxi industry actually agrees with. Other provinces and municipalities have agreed to regulate Uber and other similar companies but have faced opposition from taxi unions believing new laws to be unfair.
Bill 100 in Quebec has definitely got the taxi industry on board, and it has achieved that in a very simple way. The local authorities have done what taxi drivers have been asking for all along, and that is for regulations to treat Uber and taxi companies alike.
However, Uber has rejected the proposal and is seeking amendments that would be more in line with other municipalities, a move the will irk taxi unions. Considering other cities and provinces have changed mooted regulations to accommodate Uber’s needs in the past, taxi representatives are treading cautiously. They know that while Bill 100 is good on paper, it means nothing until it is passed.
Taxi drivers have started a protest near the site of the Montreal Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit in support of Bill 100, but also as a reminder to the provincial government that the legislation is expected to be passed unchanged. 1000 taxi drivers were at the protest, demonstrating the kind of numbers that could bring a city center to a standstill should things not go their way.
“We hope we’re going to be able to transport people who are going to attend the Grand Prix on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But if there’s no law, we’re going to be there but we are going to be protesting,” Benoît Jugand, a spokesman for the union representing some 4,000 taxi drivers and owners in Quebec.
“We’re going to protest all summer long.”
For its part, the government is towing a strict line with Uber, saying the company is welcome to negotiate, but only on the basis that it accepts that its drivers must carry taxi licenses. Uber’s response has been to table a number of counter proposals, but the company’s end game is leaving Quebec entirely if Bill 100 is passed in its current form.
Bill 100 could be passed into law on June 10.