2017 UBER-lessness: Canada’s Lack of Ride-Sharing Legislation

Gerard A. Lucyshyn, Regulation, Transportation

The ride-sharing industry, UBER specifically, is disrupting traditional transportation. UBER provides people with an alternative choice from taxis and buses for their transportation needs. This type of service increases the competition in the choices for people: one’s own vehicle, public transit, taxi, or UBER service. As this industry spreads throughout Canada, provincial and municipal governments are thinking about regulating it.

Currently, the ride-sharing industry is not as widespread in Canada as in other countries. Only three provinces, in fact, have UBER, the rest of Canada is uberless. Transportation legislation varies province to province, in some cases ride-sharing legislation falls under provincial jurisdiction and others it falls under municipal jurisdiction.

In Alberta, for example, municipalities of Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, and Red Deer have already adopted bylaws that regulate ride-sharing companies. Edmonton’s bylaw amended 17400 Vehicle for Hire Bylaw, and Calgary amended the Livery Transport Bylaw which allowed transportation network companies to operate in the city if they meet a number of conditions, such as proper vehicle insurance, mandatory vehicle inspections, valid driver’s license, and criminal record checks.

Manitoba, however, is uberless. Currently, there is debate in the legislature, Bill 30 proposed Local Vehicles for Hire Act Legislation will dissolve the Manitoba Taxicab Board and allow municipalities to set rules.

Saskatchewan is also uberless, City Councils and the provincial government are struggling with regulations around insurance and licensing.   

British Columbia is also uberless. The provincial government is working on passing provincial legislation, Bill M206 Rideshare Enabling Act, 2017. Bill M206 proposes that TNC’s drivers must provide proof of authorized vehicle use, registration, valid driving license, and insurance. Drivers must have annual criminal background checks and provide yearly provincial driving records. Additional rules include annual vehicle inspections, only electronic payments and receipts, and no soliciting or accepting street hails.     

Quebec, on the other hand, proposed regulations that would require ride-sharing drivers to have 35 hours of training and have criminal background checks. These regulations  will help the industry and ensure the safety of riders. Surprisingly, Quebec is the only jurisdiction that will require mandatory training for drivers. Quebec’s Transportation Minister has recently made his position very clear: “My job is to put a regulatory framework in place. Whether a specific private company decides to operate within it, it’s not for me to be for or against that.”

While it is the job of provincial and municipal governments to regulate UBER, “best practice” frameworks must be adopted. The ride-sharing industry must operate within a competitive environment rather than be regulated out of the public’s choice.