Under Ottawa’s new laws for regulation ride-sharing companies, Uber is effectively clear to legally operate in Canada’s capital city. However, despite bylaws now favoring the company, Uber is currently still operating illegally in Ottawa.
The company has still not received its license to begin legal and regulated operations in the city. Uber says it has applied for the license already and is waiting for it to be commissioned. The interesting thing is that Uber is being allowed to operate and not being shut down by the city until its license is in place. It is this aspect that has led to the traditional taxi industry opposing Uber’s legalization in Ottawa.
In an emailed statement, Uber Canada spokeswoman Susie Heath insisted that while the license is not in place, the company has complied with all of the city’s regulations. She says the company has worked for five months since the bylaw was introduced to get in line before the regulations came into effect (Sept.30).
“All driver partners on the platform are fully compliant.”
“We have applied for our [private transportation company] license and look forward to receiving it from the City of Ottawa soon,” Heath wrote.
Work-for-hire regulations through a new bylaw have actually been passed in Ottawa since the spring. The city was the first in Ontario to pass in favor of Uber and other such companies. Like other municipalities, the new laws focus on integrating Uber into the city by changing taxi laws to accommodate them. Also, the laws make regulations easier for traditional taxi drivers, at least that was the aim.
The regulation rules become effective on Sept. 30 (this Friday), which means Uber and other companies can theoretically operate legally from then. However, those companies must secure an operating license first.
A major hurdle blocking Uber has already fallen. Intact Insurance announced in July that it was introducing an auto insurance solution for ride-sharing drivers in Ontario. The product is supported by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and is available now.