Although Uber is operating in several Canadian cities, Edmonton has become the first to actually legalize Uber. Under the new bylaw, which legalizes Uber, both Uber and the individual drivers will have several obligations.
- Uber will need provincially approved insurance;
- Uber must register as a broker for “private transportation providers”;
- Uber must pay annual fees totalling $70,000 and a fee of six cents per trip; and
- Uber drivers will need a Class 1, 2 or 4 licence, a criminal record check, a city-issued driver’s licence and an annual mechanical inspection of their vehicle.
The above fees and requirements seem aimed at covering basic municipal costs and protecting the consumer. From the perspective of a personal injury lawyer, a proper insurance policy is especially important to passengers using a service like Uber, as your ability to collect on damages is typically limited to the size of the defendant’s insurance policy.
Where does this leave Vancouver? Currently, various municipalities in the Metro Vancouver area have expressed interest in allowing Uber to operate, but provincial laws prohibiting ride sharing prevent them from doing so. Things seem to be moving at a snail’s pace in British Columbia. In early December, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Langley Township councils voted to ask the provincial government to reconsider the laws prohibiting ride sharing. Uber has yet to also actually apply to operate in British Columbia.
Perhaps Uber’s legalization in Edmonton will result in movement by both the provincial government and Uber towards legalization in the rest of Canada.