Toronto will not take legal action against Uber, yet

Published: February 5, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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The Toronto City Council has decided against taking legal action against Uber at the moment, quashing a movement from taxi drivers unions looking to set a court injunction against the ride-sharing giant. The episode is the latest in a saga between the municipal government, Uber, and local taxi representative.

With the city already having voted to regulate the UberX service, there still appears to be no middle ground and Uber becoming legal and regulated in Canada’s largest city seems some way off, despite that vote. Taxi drivers have remained in fierce opposition with Uber and the government, while Uber itself has angered the government by refusing to cease operations until regulations are created.

The city says it is unwilling to take legal action at the moment, but warned Uber that authorities had no problem going to the courts in the future.

“Our professional advice that we received from our lawyers and regulators was to the effect that we were not going to have the best chance at being successful in an injunction brought at this time,” Mayor John Tory said.

Any application for an injunction, which is a course taxi driver unions want to take, will not be heard until the summer, at least. The city says this sends a message to Uber;

“We are sending a clear message to Uber,” Coun. Janet Davis said. “We are quite prepared and we are directing our staff to launch an injunction at the right time.”

Last year’s vote to regulate the U.S. based company in Toronto was seen as a breakthrough, a first of its kind moment that seemed to have started a path to UberX becoming legal in the city. However, regulations have still not been created (likely to happen later this year) and Uber continues to operate illegally in the GTA area.

However, the company is starting to gather momentum in its quest for legality. Aviva Canada is launching an auto insurance policy dedicated to ride-sharing, it will be exclusive in Ontario, has FSCO blessing, and will solve one of Uber’s major current problems, drivers operating without sufficient coverage.

Edmonton voted to legalize Uber in the city last month, with the changes coming into effect on March 1 if Uber complies with certain criteria. However, Toronto seems unable to follow Edmonton’s lead and is still locked in a situation where no party wants to meet in the middle.