Uber will be facing more heat in Quebec, as the province’s transportation minister proposed new rules today for the taxi industry, to level the playing field for all taxi companies, including ridesharing companies.
Jacques Daoust tabled the highly anticipated bill this morning in the province’s National Assembly, in which he says aims to ensure all companies follow the rules, and not just Uber, reports CBC News:
“I don’t know if they will walk out of Quebec,” he said about Uber. “It’s their decision. It’s not my decision. They decided to come to Quebec, if they decide to leave Quebec, it’s a private-sector company. It’s their decision.”
The proposed act, if passed would see companies like Uber require taxi permits or face fines. Anyone operating taxi transportation services without one would see fines ranging from $2,500 to $5,000, with companies potentially getting up to $50,000 fines.
Other parts of the legislation would see the province control the number of taxi permits for specific areas, which would include Montreal. Last fall, Uber revealed Montrealers were using Uber for 300,000 rides per month.
Fare pricing would be determined by the Commission des transports du Québec, varying by area and whether hails are by an app or not.
The province would gain new powers to punish drivers that fail to comply, including the power to suspend a driver’s license. Also, all drivers would be required to accept electronic payments, not just cash.
Uber has previously stated if Quebec’s rules are too heavy handed, they would leave the province.
Meanwhile, as expected, the taxi industry lauded the rules. Guy Chevrette, spokesman for the Quebec taxi coalition, called Uber an “arrogant” foreign company on Thursday morning, adding it has threatened the lives of thousands of cab drivers.
It’s not looking good for Uber in Quebec right now. Yesterday, a Quebec Superior Court Judge ruled in favour of Revenu Québec, allowing the latter to open and examine documents it seized from a May 2015 raid on the ridesharing company’s offices, alleging the company had violated tax laws.
Uber spokesman Jean-Christophe de Le Rue told CBC News “We acknowledge this initial ruling about Revenu Québec’s ability to examine the items they seized last year,” adding “As we have stated, Uber would comply to revisions to the law that would amend the $30,000 small supplier exception and require sales tax to be charged on every dollar earned by driver-partners.”
The proposed legislation in Quebec is opposite of what happened in Toronto earlier this month, when the city approved new ridesharing regulations to make UberX legal in the city.