Uber’s recent controversial agreement with the Quebec government sparked fury in the traditional taxi industry. The province backed down on a strict ride-sharing policy to open a year-long pilot program that gives Uber and similar companies a path to adoption. Cabbie attempted to stop the deal by seeking an injunction, but the courts have blocked it.
The Quebec Superior Court denied the move to suspend the deal, a proposal pushed by the taxi industry. Cab drivers and their representatives argue that Transport Minister Laurent Lessard acted outside is given power to create the deal.
However, Justice Michel Deziel sent a written decision that stopped cabbies the first hurdle, saying that the deal is not yet in place, so there is no injunction to be made. In other words, the injunction is too early. This at least gives the taxi industry hope that they can return once the agreement gets underway. That date is approaching, with the pilot program opening on Sept. 29.
“Today’s ruling is a confirmation that we can continue serving Quebecers under our agreement with the government,” Uber Québec’s general manager, Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, said in a statement.
“Our focus remains offering a quality transportation alternative under the terms established by the pilot project and imposed by the government.”
Taxi reps are taking the ruling as good news. Marc-Antoine Cloutier, lawyer for Le Front commun du taxi, says the recognition of the pilot program not yet working means the judge acknowledges that at the moment Uber is operating illegally.
“Somebody will have to explain to us why this company continues to let people get into its cars when they don’t have the right to do so,” Cloutier said.