Montreal

Uber says new Quebec legislation could shut down ride-hailing service

Uber is threatening to leave the province if reports of proposed legislation are true. "We hope the Quebec government will take the time to consider more progressive alternatives so that it doesn't fall behind," the company said in a statement.

Company calls on province to consider 'more progressive alternatives'

School commissioner told CBC she was not in fact suggesting Uber as an alternative, merely listing off suggestions made by a parent at another meeting. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Uber is threatening to leave the province if reports of proposed legislation are true.

"It will shut down Uber in Quebec, so we will have half a million people who will look for another way to move around town," Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, general manager of Uber Quebec, said in an interview with CBC.

La Presse reported Wednesday that Transport Minister Jacques Daoust will present legislation to cabinet today that will effectively treat Uber drivers the same as taxis, meaning they'd have to pay for permits and that the number of vehicles on the road would be limited.

The legislation would be tabled in the National Assembly next week and could be implemented as early as the summer, according to La Presse.

"Minister Daoust is living in the past," said Guillemette.

"He's decided to protect the status quo and to protect the taxi monopoly."

Transport Minister Jacques Daoust says Uber and its drivers have a responsibility to fully declare their revenues (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

As it stands, drivers for the service are treated as independent contractors and aren't required to have a taxi licence.

Daoust has said both the company and its drivers have a responsibility to fully declare their revenues and if they comply, the company won't have to leave. 

"If they want to respect the laws, if they want to pay taxes then they are most welcome," Daoust said last month.

Toronto takes different approach

Taxi drivers in Toronto have called on the city to ban Uber, but instead the city rolled out new regulations for the ride-hailing service. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

Toronto, meanwhile, is going in the opposite direction

On Tuesday, Toronto city council passed new rules that essentially will allow Uber drivers to operate with few restrictions.

Guillemette said Toronto has it right.

"More than 80 jurisdictions around the world have passed regulations that create fair rule for all the players," Guillemette said.

"Quebec's law would send a message across the world  that the province is closed foreign investment, to innovation and to new technology." 

Taxi drivers rally outside cabinet meeting

Taxi drivers on Wednesday morning also took to the streets around the National Assembly as cabinet ministers headed into a cabinet meeting.

They want the government to table the bill as soon as possible.

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