Uber seeks to make amends in Canada

Published: January 22, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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2017 was not a year to remember for Uber. The company grew rapidly over the last few years, but during last year was rocked by financial problems, crimes committed by drivers, including sexual harassment allegations. Uber is also locked in a war with many of its drivers, who are taking he company to court for more rights.

Founder and CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down in 2017 and Uber emerged promising to be a reformed company. In Canada, the company’s path to full legalization continues to be rocky. Many juridscticitons have created ride-sharing adopting regulations, and Uber has either moved into those markets or decided it cannot work under the regulatory control.

Either way, the company has largely been greeted with mass protest from the traditional taxi industry. All the while, customers have continued to largely be on Uber’s side. They want and like the service, at least for the most part.

Rob Khazzam, the new Uber Canada general manager spoke recently about embracing a smoother transition in Canada, where the company will work with lawmakers and governments.

“I think Uber…were perceived as a bit confrontational and aggressive and not really great at explaining ourselves,” says Khazzam, to a group of reporters at Uber Canada’s King Street offices. “We were building so quickly, we didn’t stop to explain to press, the ministry of transport…what is the opportunity.”

“In hindsight, that was something we all know we could do better.”

Workplace harassment and sexual harassment from drivers is a major topic Uber must overcome. Khazzam is not looking to make excuses and wants to tackle the issue head on.

“That was not a Canada topic, that was a global topic,” says Khazzam.

“We’ve rolled out manager training across the company, not just on the topic of workplace harassment, but generally on what it means to be a manager — what it means to recognize issues that are reported and make sure that they’re actioned,” says Khazzam.