While we wait for companies like Uber and Lyft to start legally operating in BC later this year, former Attorney General Wally Oppal has suggested that all ride-hailing drivers should undergo criminal record checks before they’re allowed to transport customers in this province (via News 1130). The longtime lawyer argues that his clients face unfair competition if criminal record checks are not standard.
“Well, it’s not easy getting a license to operate a taxi cab anywhere in this province. Cities –municipalities– have their own standards for granting such licenses.”
“I can’t see any recommendations being made to government without that requirement being there. I mean, that seems to be fairly fundamental that if you’re going to grant anybody the license to deal with members of the public, that they not have a criminal record.”
While highlighting that legal action could be taken if these concerns are not adequately addressed in BC, Oppal says that it’s a matter of safety, even if would-be customers don’t seem to care. He said that the governments have a larger responsibility to ensure that the public interest is addressed and that he’s sure that “the government will do the right thing and that’s why they’re having this process now”.
Oppal, who was the Attorney General between 2005 and 2009 and currently works for Vancouver’s Boughton Law, says that he has faith in the all-party legislative committee currently putting together recommendations for a report due next month.
Last year, Uber was fined nearly nine million dollars by Colorado’s public utility commission for safety violations including the failure to properly vet nearly 60 drivers with serious criminal records.