By: Luke Jones, Published on October 31, 2017 04:20 PM, Last Update on October 31, 2017 01:22 PM
Uber is pushing to be adopted in Manitoba. At a meeting with the provincial legislature last week, a spokesperson for the ride-sharing giant said a bill should be passed to allow the company to operate across Manitoba.
The province’s taxi industry disagrees, and a representative claimed the bill is unfair and could risk the livelihood of taxi drivers. Both opinions were heard during a public hearing held by the standing committee on social and economic development. Those in attendance discussed Bill 30, otherwise known as The Local Vehicles for Hire Act.
Among the Bill’s more significant changes would be the dissolution of the Manitoba Taxicab Board and transferring regulatory responsibility to local municipalities. This would allow communities to decide whether to adopt vehicle for hire companies like Uber and Lyft.
Uber was represented at the meeting by Chris Schafer, public policy manager for Uber Canada. He told the committee the bill should be passed without amendments, suggesting the company would embrace the legislation.
"And give the City of Winnipeg, for the first time, the ability to regulate its own vehicles-for-hire industry, be that taxi, limousine or ride-sharing if that's what they choose," he said in an interview with CBC News.
As usual, Uber is heading on a collision course with local taxi drivers. A spokesperson for the Winnipeg Community Taxi Coalition told the attendees the bill would negatively impact the taxi industry and could destroy it:
"They're bringing forward legislation that, in the stroke of a pen, will eliminate an industry," Scott McFadyen said.
"These are members of our community, our neighbours, our friends. They're small businessmen who have invested considerable sums of money into a taxi licence," he said.
Shafer argued that the legislation in other Canadian provinces are fair, including criminal background checks for Uber drivers.
"That is done on all our prospective drivers, in addition to vehicle inspections and other checks, such as motor vehicle reference checks for ticketable offences like speeding," he said. "All of that is done on every prospective Uber driver."