According to a report from the Edmonton Journal, Uber’s lawyers argued in court that Edmonton officials named the wrong corporate entity in an attempt to get an injunction against the company.
Uber Canada is the only branch of the ride-sharing company officially registered in Canada. However, two companies that control the Uber apps that drivers and riders use to arrange a ride and make/receive a payment are registered in The Netherlands. Both companies, Uber Raiser and Uber B.V., hold the contracts and were not named in Edmonton’s court action. Uber Canada lawyer Neil Finkelstein said:
“You should not do anything that affects foreign non-parties. You should not issue an injunction against Uber Canada when a non-party can simply override and reinstate the drivers. They licence. It’s their app. They control the app.”
Edmonton officials asked the court to issue a temporary injunction against Uber Canada requiring them to stop all business in Edmonton. The accounts of the local drivers would be deactivated and the company would no longer be able to recruit new drivers.
City lawyer Brad Savoury says that Uber Canada does in fact have control of the app because they have deactivated at least one driver’s account since the ride-sharing service launched in Edmonton in December. The city argues that Uber is classified as a taxi brokerage and is operating against city bylaw, however, Uber says they are simply a technology company.
“The city sees this as a bit of a shell game,” Savoury told the judge. “It’s not as clear as the respondent has made out.”
As we await the judge’s decision on the court action, the city will continue to enforce the bylaw by ticketing drivers. However, the city says that they will not be targeting Uber drivers directly.