Saskatchewan

Cab company, drivers' union calls Sask.'s move to welcome Uber 'unfair'

Members of Regina's taxi industry are reacting to this week's announcement from the throne speech that the province will introduce legislation to bring an 'affordable option' for Uber to operate in Saskatchewan.

SGI hopes to bring forward recommendations this fall

A spokesperson for Premier Brad Wall said the government intends to create a level playing field between ride-hailing services and the taxi industry. (CBC)

This week's throne speech included plans to introduce legislation that will welcome ride-hailing companies like Uber to Saskatchewan with an "affordable insurance" option.

Glen Sali, a 17-year manager of Capital Cabs, located in Regina, believes that's not fair.

He explained that his drivers must pay more than $5,000 a year to insure their cabs.

"I think it's totally wrong. I think they should be treated the same way as a taxi industry if they're going to be transporting people. They should have the same insurance as all of us and to give somebody a special deal, I don't think that's right."

Glen Sali, manager of Capital Cabs, says he'll likely have to downsize if Uber arrives. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Premiums could be usage-based: SGI

Earl Cameron, executive vice-president of SGI's auto-fund, said premiums for ride-hailing companies like Uber would likely fall in between when it costs to insure a personal vehicle and a cab.

SGI says that's because someone using their personal vehicle for hire would be on the road less than a cab driver who operates a vehicle full-time.

Cameron said SGI could also calculate a rate based on usage.

"We're looking at all the options so that we calculate and collect the right rate from these companies so that they're not being subsidized by you and I that don't drive for one of these companies."

Cameron said SGI is also considering what class of licence would be required to drive for Uber. Currently, cab drivers must hold a Class 4 licence.

Gov't says intent is to be fair

A spokesperson for Premier Brad Wall said the government intends to create a level playing field between ride-hailing services and the taxi industry.

Going forward, Cameron said SGI will be consulting with municipalities, which regulate taxicabs through bylaws, and hopes to be able to bring forward recommendations to the government about how to regulate ride-hailing companies this fall.

No consultation 

Leslie McNabb, a staff representative for taxi drivers belonging to the United Steelworkers Union, said they're not opposed to the arrival of Uber, so long as it's made to follow the same regulations as the taxi industry.

She said that includes ensuring drivers undergoing criminal record checks, proper training, and that their vehicles are outfitted with cameras and are regularly inspected.

"We don't believe it was rolled out with the proper consultation," she said of the announcement.
Leslie McNabb says the union representing some taxi drivers in Saskatchewan is fine if Uber arrives, just as long as the company plays by the same rules. (Leslie McNabb/Kirk Fraser)

About the Author

Stephanie Taylor

Reporter, CBC Saskatchewan

Stephanie Taylor is a reporter based in Saskatchewan. Before joining CBC News in Regina, she covered municipal politics in her hometown of Winnipeg and in Halifax. Reach her at stephanie.taylor@cbc.ca