Canadian authorities are continuing their quest to clamp down on Uber and regulate the service, with the Regional Municipality of Waterloo the latest to offer a regulation proposal.
If passed, the bylaw would be the first such stipulation in Ontario and would go some way to bringing regulations for Uber across the province. The modest Waterloo proposal has more potential when being considered by the council as it is not as ambitious as a previously rejected Toronto based injunction.
Toronto went after Uber previously and pursued an injunction to close the American based company outright, but the Waterloo bylaw would be less heavy handed.
The new regulations could include enforcing a province wide taxi license for drivers who work for the vehicle sharing service.
There would also be a burden of proof on the part of the driver to provide evidence of commercial auto insurance with coverage up to and past $2 million. Other stipulations would clamp down on the overall security of the Uber system, including a required GPS and a closed-circuit system that would record both the driver and passenger.
Uber has come under fire in several regions in recent months, with Mexico City and the State of Illinois managing to impose regulations. While the company has contested some aspects of previous moves to regulate the service more stringently, a spokesperson said that the company is “encouraged” by the Waterloo proposal.
Uber Canada spokesperson Susie Heath said the company is “encouraged by the direction that the draft bylaw is headed.”
“The Region of Waterloo can be a leader in Canada by developing smart regulations for ridesharing and we look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with them throughout the consultation process,” she said.
The transportation network that Uber provides has always trod a line, with many thinking operators within the company should be classed as auxiliary taxi drivers. Uber has never classed its drivers in that way, and as such they have not been subject to the same regulations. Under Ontario law auxiliary taxi drivers have to renew their license annually, be subject to regular vehicle checks, and have limits on how long they can operate their vehicle per day.
“We just feel the basic underlying principle is that if you are going to provide a service within our community and you are going to get a fee for it, you should be regulated,” said Waterloo’s director of council and administrative services, Kris Fletcher.
Waterloo bylaw’s provisions
Can hail or flag stops
Lottery based license and capped number
7 per cent of company fleet accessible by 2017 and 10 per cent by
Recorded trip record and vehicle
Commercial auto insurance
Auxiliary Taxis, including Uber X and limos:
Defined as a taxi without a meter
Cannot be hailed or stopped
No license lottery or cap
No accessibility requirements
Regular inspections and trip records
Commercial auto insurance