Uber is still courting controversy in Canada, but it also seems as though the drive sharing service is starting to gain some allies in the country. Not least from the insurance industry, which is now moving to implement Uber into its thinking and even the Insurance Bureau of Canada is on board.
The IBC is giving its backing to Uber and says it is even doing some unofficial lobbying of sorts by trying to convince provinces around the country to adopt laws to regulate Uber and find auto insurance solutions for the UberX service. On both fronts there has been major rejections to Uber in Canada, and only now are opinions starting to soften and progress is being made.
UberX drivers operate as quasi taxi operators and are not subject to any current laws or regulations, which means they operate outside legal parameters. This has put the service at odds with governments and traditional taxi unions, both of which have repeatedly tried to ban Uber outright. Recently there has been a different stance, with the City of Toronto voting to introduce regulations for UberX and Intact Insurance confirming it is working on an Uber specific auto insurance policy.
Both of those moves have been widely praised and lawmakers, economic experts, and insurance industry insiders have all said more provinces should follow Toronto’s lead and more insurance companies should look to creating Uber policies. The Insurance Bureau of Canada getting involved, seemingly on the side of Uber, suggests that the industry is now gearing to back Uber fully in the near future.
In Ontario, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario [FSCO] is “looking at the insurance issue [and] options concerning how Uber drivers would be insured and whether that would differ from existing practices.”
While steps have been made in Ontario, other provinces are still left undecided. The Province of Alberta has said that its decision has still not been made and that it is at least possible that the government will side with traditional taxi drivers and seek to ban Uber. While that is very much a possibility in Alberta and across the country, it is becoming increasingly clear that Uber is here to stay and provinces will have to yield sooner or later.
The IBC is urging those regions of the country that are still holding out to reconsider and help insurance companies to draw up policies and in turn bring more legality and regulation to the UberX service.