Ontario Chamber of Commerce urges Toronto to unlock economic potential of Uber

Published: September 28, 2015

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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This week, the Toronto City Council will vote on a plan to make driver sharing company Uber legal in Canada’s busiest and most populated city. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is the latest influential body to speak out in favor of the legalization of UberX, lauding its potential impact on the economy.

The OCC is the largest business advocacy in the province and it says the city council legalizing Uber would allow the city and later the province to unlock the economic potential of the service.

"The sharing economy is growing at an incredible rate and the opportunity for Ontario municipalities is an important one," said Allan O'Dette, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. "Jurisdictions that are building adaptable regulatory and tax frameworks are more likely to produce new technologies that will drive economic growth."

Uber has already welcomed the vote and says the service becoming legal in Toronto could mean similar actions across the entire country and a relaxing of the tensions between the company and lawmakers. Toronto would be adopting a model already used in several U.S. cities that would bring Transportation Network Company (TNC) regulations for drive sharing companies.

"Ontarians and Torontonians need a regulatory regime that is able to adapt to changing economic conditions and is responsive to the emergence of new sectors," said O'Dette. "This kind of regulatory system is fair for both established operators and new market entrants."

Taxi drivers are still positioning themselves against the company and protests are being held in major global cities, but last month Ontario warned that the service was here to stay. The OCC is adding that if that is the case (previous attempts to ban UberX in Toronto failed) then the city and eventually the province and country should look to make the most of the economic opportunities that Uber presents.

However, the Chamber of Commerce is warning that sufficient insurance measures will have to be implemented before UberX can be widely accepted by regulators. The company has a confusing insurance model that has left some drivers without coverage in the event of an accident, but Intact Insurance is now working on an Uber specific auto insurance policy that could clear up the confusion.

The Toronto City Council will vote tomorrow, but with increasing support for the legalization of Uber, it seems inevitable that the council will opt to pass UberX as a city recognized service.