Uber has been legally able to operate under new Quebec regulations since Sept. 8, but the company has continued to function illegally in the province due to a licensing issue. However, it has now emerged that the company has been paying off fines its drivers have received for being illegal.
This is sure to irk the traditional taxi industry even more after it has tried to shut down Uber’s expansion in Quebec. It is also embarrassing for the government who will be accused of bowing to the company. The Quebec regime regulated Uber following a bylaw vote in the summer, but the fact the company continues to promote illegal operations for its drivers is worrying.
An ideal scenario for lawmakers was that Uber cease operations until the regulations came into place and it had organized licensing. However, the company refused to do so. The US-based ride-sharing giant has paid the fine of at least one driver operating illegal and is now being accused of promoting illegal operations for all its drivers.
CBC News reports on a message sent in September between the company and two drivers who wanted to know whether they could now pick up passengers legally under Quebec’s regulations. Drivers are confused about the changing laws and Uber said “For the moment, you can continue driving as an Uber Quebec partner-driver as usual.”
Under the new laws, Uber has to pay a heavy price for illegal drivers and vehicles can even be seized. But Uber told its driver on Sept. 16, “If your vehicle has just been seized, we will continue to support you, as we have done in the past.”