Uber drivers will need class 4 licence, commercial insurance under Alberta bill
Drivers would need to pass police checks under proposed legislation
Transportation companies such as Uber will face fines of up to $50,000 a day if they don't follow new rules introduced Monday by the Alberta government.
Bill 16, the Traffic Safety Amendment Act 2016, requires drivers to have Class 1, 2 or 4 licences, not the Class 5 held by most people.
Drivers need to have commercial insurance policies created especially for private transportation companies.
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Companies must ensure their drivers pass police information checks which are more in depth than criminal record checks because they show if someone is facing a charge.
The province's superintendent of insurance expects to approve a policy created for private transportation providers by July 1.
Transportation Minister Brian Mason said the penalties were set high on purpose.
"So $50,000 per offence, per day, can add up extremely fast," Mason said. "We think that those are very significant penalties.
"We didn't want this to just be the cost of doing business, for a company with very deep pockets like Uber."
Mason said the province can also seek an injunction against a company if financial penalties weren't having an effect.
Uber suspended operations in Edmonton on March 1 after the City of Edmonton enacted a bylaw requiring drivers to have proper insurance.
Previously, Uber drivers with regular Class 5 licences and personal vehicle insurance were picking up passengers.
If passed, Alberta will be one of the first provinces in Canada to regulate Uber and other smartphone ride-hailing services. Quebec introduced legislation last week to crack down on Uber. The Quebec bill would compel Uber to obtain a taxi permit.
Bill 16 doesn't just deal with Uber. The proposed law clarifies vague language about insurance cards and eliminates an exemption under the Ignition Interlock Program.
First-time offenders convicted of drunk driving with a blood alcohol level under .160 could get an exemption. The proposed law removes that provision.
The bill also proposes that people convicted of street racing causing bodily harm or death be disqualified from driving for five years, which would bring it in line with provisions in the Criminal Code.