Uber says new Quebec legislation could shut down ride-hailing service
Company calls on province to consider 'more progressive alternatives'
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.
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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."
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
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.
Taxi drivers protesting against <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/uber?src=hash">#uber</a> outside cabinet meeting <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/polqc?src=hash">#polqc</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/assnat?src=hash">#assnat</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cdnpoli?src=hash">#cdnpoli</a> <a href="https://t.co/keVQ33Qo5v">https://t.co/keVQ33Qo5v</a>—@ryhicks