Quebec extends pilot program to keep Uber legal

Published: October 24, 2018

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Uber will remain in Quebec for at least another year, giving customers a ride-sharing option in the province. Quebec’s Transport Ministry says the company and others like it will continue to operate under the ride-hailing pilot introduced in 2016.

That original pilot was only scheduled to run for a year. However, the Transport Ministry issued a ministerial decree to keep the pilot in place. Consequently, Uber and other ride-hailing companies will continue to operate legally in Quebec.

This is the second time the pilot has been extended, albeit with modifications last year. Among the changes introduced in 2017 included requirements for drivers mandating them to undergo more training. Quebec also created stricter rules for background checks and mechanical checks on vehicles.

Last year’s new rules irked Uber enough that it threatened to leave Quebec entirely. However, the company later decided to remain and work with authorities on the rules. “We recognize there is an opportunity to establish a constructive dialogue aimed at finding a lasting solution for riders and drivers in Quebec,” Uber Quebec general manager Jean-Nicolas Guillemette said in a statement.

Angered Taxi Industry

Through this extension, it is unlikely the Quebec Transport Ministry will add any new laws. In a release, the ministry said the extension will allow more data to be gathered to assess how Uber impacts the existing taxi industry.

Traditional taxi drivers have been angered by Uber’s relatively easy passage to legality in Quebec. Ride-sharing drivers largely avoid having to pay the huge license costs taxi drivers must pay. Last month, Quebec Premier François Legault promised to deliver fair results to the taxi industry. Despite this, some groups say that promise was broken.

The regroupement des intermédiares de taxi de Québec, as well as Taxis du Grand Montréal et Rive-Sud, say the government did not even consult them before extending the pilot.