Quebec taxi drivers ready for more pressure tactics

Quebec taxi drivers will start applying pressure tactics if the provincial government fails to table legislation on the ride-hailing service Uber in the coming weeks.

Drivers waiting on provincial government to table legislation against Uber

The taxi industry says it will resort to pressure tactics if the Quebec government does not table a bill against Uber by mid-April. (CBC)

Quebec taxi drivers will start applying pressure tactics if the provincial government fails to table legislation on the ride-hailing service Uber in the coming weeks.

The Comité provincial de concertation et de développement de l'industrie du taxi, the province's taxi industry committee, says when it comes to challenging the rise of Uber, the possibilities include blocking city streets and holding a strike.

"When there is theft, the robber should be in prison," George Tannous, the president of the committee, said.

There are rumours that legislation will be late.- George Tannous, president of Quebec's taxi industry committee

Tannous added that fines and seizures aren't enough to deter Uber drivers, and that taxi drivers are losing money every day.

Quebec is expected to introduce legislation in April concerning Uber, which allows drivers without taxi licenses to offer rides in the city.

Drivers like Tannous are worried that the legislation won't be tabled by Transport Minister Jacques Daoust, who has floated the idea of buying back some of the province's taxi permits while forcing Uber drivers to rent taxi licenses.

"There are rumours that legislation will be late," Tannous said.

Mouhcine El Meliani, who represents 800 Montreal taxi drivers, warned that if the government doesn't table legislation against the ride-sharing service by mid-April, taxi drivers may resort to pressure tactics, which could include a strike or blocking some roads.

"We're going to mobilize all 4,300 taxi drivers. They won't work for four days. There won't be any taxis in the city," El Meliani said.

Over the last few months, Quebec taxi drivers have called on the government to take action against Uber as it continues to expand across the province and the country.

The taxi industry says it's meeting Tuesday, adding that it plans to contact contact both the transport minister and the premier this week.

No delay, government says

When reached for comment Monday, Melissa Turgeon, a spokeswoman for the transport ministry, told CBC there is no delay and that everything is progressing on schedule.

Turgeon would not give exact date for the tabling of the legislation, stating that many ministers are involved so it could take some time.

With files from CBC journalists Emily Brass and Rebecca Ugolini


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