British Columbia details ride-hailing regulations: Insurance, Licensing, and Background Checks

Published: July 11, 2019

Updated: August 1, 2019

Author: Luke Jones



British Columbia is taking further steps towards embracing ridesharing with the provincial government this week announcing new regulations for transportation networks companies, including Lyft and Uber.

Expected to launch later this year, ride-sharing support will finally come to B.C. with regulations set out by the government. Among the legal requirements are criminal background checks for drivers, with motorists with four or more driving convictions within two years unable to work for Uber. Further stipulations include added fees on non-accessible ridesharing cars (such as cars with only two doors), and yearly vehicle inspections.

Auto insurance requirements around ridesharing have also been included in B.C.’s regulations. The province says drivers working for companies such as Uber and Lyft will need specific coverage purchased from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).

The new policy provides blanket protection on a per-kilometre basis, including compulsory third-party liability and accident benefits. This new insurance product is only available to motorists who will be working for ride-hailing services.

“Our plan has made it possible for ride-hailing companies to apply to enter the market this fall, with vehicles on the road later this year, while ensuring the safety of passengers and promoting accessibility options in the industry,” BC Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said in a statement.

B.C.’s new ride-hailing rules have caused controversy, especially regarding licensing requirements added to the regulations. Under those rules, drivers must hold a Class 4 license to work for Uber, Lyft, or any similar service. This is a minor win for taxi drivers, who also require Class 4 licenses and have argued Uber drivers have it too easy.

The provincial government says the regulation around Class 4 licensing will not be changed and motorists caught ignoring the rule could be fined up to $100,000. Uber and Lyft have argued this rule limits the number of drivers who will want to work for the companies.