The British Columbia Green Party is making another effort to have ride-sharing legislation introduced in the province. As the ruling government continues to fumble over creating laws, the B.C. Green Party leader, Andrew Weaver, introduced his Ridesharing Enabling Act for the third time.
This is the first time the act has been introduced under the new NDP government, which broke a 15-year political grip of the previous ruling Liberals. Under the former government, the Green Party tabled the act twice, but it was not introduced.
With the new draft, the act now allows the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) to create an auto insurance infrastructure for ride-sharing customers such as Uber.
“Now that all three parties have agreed to bring ride-hailing to B.C., it’s time we had a frank and substantive debate on the details of this issue,” Weaver said in the release. “In the five years since ride-hailing was first introduced to B.C., there has been much fear-mongering and politicization of this issue.”
The province is currently operating with a minority government, so inter-party collaboration is necessary. Weaver says the NDP should “call this bill forward for debate so that British Columbians can hear an open, transparent discussion on ride-hailing from their MLAs.”
“B.C. cannot be a leader in the creative economy unless it addresses emerging technologies head-on,” he said, noting that “Vancouver is the largest city in North America to not regulate this industry. Meanwhile, ride-hailing companies are operating without proper oversight, insurance or regulation.”
The B.C. government last week confirmed it has hired an industry expert to aid the taxi industry in preparing for ridesharing adoption. Dan Hara of Ottawa’s Hara Associates, an expert in vehicle-for-hire regulations. Hara’s review will include:
- An examination of the current regulatory framework in B.C.;
- The current state of the taxi industry and regulation in other jurisdictions, including the impact of new entrants into the passenger-directed vehicle market;
- Meetings with individual taxi licence holders to understand the industry’s current operating model, and identify any systemic barriers to modernization;
- Meetings with a taxi drivers’ association to identify challenges and opportunities of the current passenger-directed vehicle regulatory framework;
- Meetings with the Passenger Transportation Board, Passenger Transportation Registrar and Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement, local governments, Treaty First Nations (TFN), ports and airports to understand the complex regulatory environment for B.C.’s taxi industry and identify overlapping and duplicative requirements;
- Meetings with taxi user representatives, including the Senior Advocate, disability advocates and tourism associations to understand the impact that the current system has on availability and accessibility of taxi service; and
- Identify municipal, TFN or provincial policies, rules, regulation or legislation that may be impeding the taxi industry’s ability to modernize to meet consumer needs.