By: Brad Neal, Published on September 27, 2017 02:21 PM, Last Update on September 27, 2017 11:21 AM
Earlier this week, Quebec announced it will extend its pilot program that allows Uber to operate in the province. However, the government said it was adding new laws to the program and it was unclear whether Uber would agree. Now, the US-based company says it will leave the Quebec market entirely.
On Friday, Transport Minister Laurent Lessard said Uber will have to agree to a few new rules if it is to continue under the pilot program.
Lessard says Uber drivers must not have a police background check. This is different to the current system were checks are performed by a private third-party found by Uber. Additionally, drivers must now undergo 35 hours of training, an increase from 20 hours.
“The Ministry of Transportation informed us this morning of new and challenging regulations that favour old policies instead of incorporating the benefits of new technology,” Uber Quebec spokesperson Jean-Christophe de la Rue said. “Our team is still waiting to review the new regulations, but based on our current understanding, these changes significantly threaten Uber’s ability to continue operating in Quebec.”
Uber Quebec general manager, Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, says the company will leave the province on Oct. 14, when the original pilot program ends. There are more than 10,000 drivers working for the company in the province, while Uber employs 50 office workers.
The days of Uber operating as a rogue company seem to be long gone. Instead, the company will likely close its app from access in Quebec next month.
Uber employs more than 50 office workers in the province, where more than 10,000 drivers have worked for the company, he said. Guillemette says the company wanted to renew the pilot program, but it is clear Uber feels it cannot agree with the new rules.
"We're asking the government to renew the pilot project and let's sit down and find a solution to this," Guillemette said.
However, Mathieu Gaudreault, spokesman for Laurent Lessard, Quebec’s minister for transportation, says the province is unable to negotiate upon its new rules.
"We can negotiate with them, but not on the basis of those two things," Gaudreault said.