Manitoba

City councillors ask for working group on ride-hailing changes

Two Winnipeg city councillors will ask Mayor Brian Bowman to establish a “vehicle-for-hire industry working group” when councillors sit for their regular meeting Wednesday.

Councillors Ross Eadie and Russ Wyatt will present a motion Wednesday

Two Winnipeg city councillors will ask Mayor Brian Bowman to establish a “vehicle-for-hire industry working group” when councillors sit for their regular meeting Wednesday. (Reuters)

Two Winnipeg city councillors are asking Mayor Brian Bowman to establish a "vehicle-for-hire industry working group."

Councillors Ross Eadie and Russ Wyatt will present a motion asking that the working group be set up to give industry stakeholders the chance to weigh in as new regulations are established for the city's vehicle-for-hire industry.

The changes are required in the lead up to the expected arrival of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.

"You need to achieve an equality in how you regulate that so you don't have the taxi service in Winnipeg deteriorate," said Eadie Tuesday evening. "There needs to be a fair and competitive field."
Coun. Ross Eadie says the working group will give industry stakeholders the chance to weigh in as new regulations are established for the city’s vehicle-for-hire industry. (Gary Soliak/CBC )

In March the province introduced legislation to dissolve the Manitoba Taxicab Board and transfer responsibility for regulation to local municipalities.

The bill, called the Local Vehicles for Hire Act, proposes putting power in the hands of Manitoba municipalities to regulate all vehicles for hire. They would include limousines and taxis, including those hired by way of a digital network or platform, like Lyft and Uber.

While the legislation hasn't been passed into law yet, Eadie said the mayor has charged the city's administration to undertake stakeholder focus groups to develop the regulatory bylaws by February, 2018, without council ratification.

"The problem is, when they come up with the regulations there's not enough input of stakeholders," said Eadie, who adds the working group would provide council with a report and recommendations before a vote. "Ultimately council is going to be voting for the bylaw and we just want to make sure what comes as a recommendation is fair."

On Tuesday, Manitoba Public Insurance told a committee at the Manitoba Legislature the public insurer expects to have a vehicle-for-hire insurance premium approved by the Public Utilities Board in time for Bill 30's proclamation on Feb. 28.

now