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Ontario Court Dismisses Taxi Union’s Lawsuit Against Uber

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A lawsuit filed by a union of taxi drivers in Ontario claiming that the city treated its members unfairly when it paved the way for ride-hailing companies like Uber, has been dismissed by an Ontario Superior Court judge (via CBC News). The union had accused the city of acting in bad faith when it amended its taxi bylaw and legalised Uber back in 2016.

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Justice Maria Linhares de Sousa said those claims are unfounded, adding that the applicants have failed to prove bad faith on the part of the city. However, Union president Nega Haile is not happy with the ruling. “We will be assessing the decisions with our lawyers and we’ll determine what options we might have in the future”, Haile said.

According to the union’s legal team, taxi drivers were promised a “level playing field” when the city amended its taxi bylaws for services like Uber but was instead left out.

Under the existing rules, companies like Uber and Lyft must obtain a licence from the city to operate. But unlike taxi plate owners, individual Uber driver don’t have to pay an annual fee. The union argued the double standard provides a competitive “bonus” to app-based ride-hailing services.

But de Sousa agreed with the city’s legal team, which said the rules are based on the differences between the business models of traditional cabs and Uber. “I am not prepared to interfere with the city’s discretion to make regulatory distinctions that it did in the bylaw,” she wrote.

The class action claiming $215 million in damages was originally filed in 2016 by the parent company of Capital Taxi and Marc Andre Way.

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