E-scooter company Lime trying to roll into Saskatchewan

Electronic scooter company Lime is hoping to bring its offering of rental scooters into Saskatchewan.

Scooter company, already operating in some Canadian cities, lobbying Sask. government for regulatory changes

An e-scooter rider cruises down the sidewalk on a busy weekend day in Edmonton. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

An electronic scooter company, which is already offering its rental products in Edmonton, Calgary and Montreal, is now hoping to expand into Saskatchewan.

Lime, headquartered in California, has been in contact with both provincial government officials and city officials in Saskatoon and Regina.

Lime registered as an in-house lobbyist in December and listed Premier Scott Moe and Joe Hargrave, the minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, among the cabinet ministers it intended to lobby. It also listed officials in SGI's registration policy and permit services department.

The company is seeking legislative changes that would allow for e-scooters on roadways. Once approved, municipalities would have to give the go-ahead while making rules for operation. 

In Saskatchewan, electronic scooters are not allowed on public roads. Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and soon B.C. will all have regulations allowing municipalities to have e-scooters.

"There is a lot of precedent to look at in terms of what's been done by other provinces to permit cities that wish to explore this," said Chris Schafer, Lime Canada's senior director of strategic development.

"It's the cities themselves that determine the rules and whether they would like to have that available to residents locally, as a shared form of electric micro-mobility that doesn't contribute to traffic congestion and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Schafer pointed to results in Calgary, where a city survey released in December found one-in-three e-scooter riders would have driven had an e-scooter not been available. 

In Calgary's first year of e-bikes being made available and first four months of e-scooters, 206,000 riders recorded a total of 918,000 trips, travelling 1.6 million kilometres. Of those, 750,000 trips were on e-scooters and 168,000 on e-bikes.

"One of the big things that stand out from our experiences in Calgary is just people shifting away from using their own car or taxi or rideshare into something that is more sustainable for cities, and that's a big, big positive," said Schafer.

He also said other provinces have used pilot projects before allowing expanded use of the electric scooters — which are typically used for short trips by users who pick up a scooter, unlock it with an app, and are then charged a fee for the time they use.

Unlike bike shares, though, scooters don't have to returned to a designated dock — they can be left anywhere for the next user.

Safety concerns for Sask. government 

Schafer said it's "early days" as far as the timeline for seeing e-scooters on the streets in Saskatchewan. 

He said with Lime scooters "hibernating" for the winter in other Canadian cities, the focus for the company is launching its scooters in new cities this spring.

A spokesperson for the government of Saskatchewan said under SGI's current legislation, e-scooters can't be registered or insured "and are therefore prohibited from use on any public road except to directly cross."

"Our main concern is safety (particularly for on-road use), inexperienced riders, and riders not wearing the proper safety equipment. There are also no federal or provincial manufacturing or safety standards that apply to these vehicles," the government statement said.

"We believe these represent an increased risk under our no-fault insurance program, as well as riders being uninsured motorists."

Lime e-scooters parked on a road.
The City of Montreal created 239 designated parking spots for Lime e-scooters. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

In a statement, a spokesperson for the City of Regina said "the city has had inquiries, but detailed discussions have not taken place. For the time being, the operation of scooters in Regina is subject to existing city bylaws."

The City of Saskatoon did not respond to CBC's request for comment.


Adam Hunter


Adam Hunter is the provincial affairs reporter at CBC Saskatchewan, based in Regina. He has been with CBC for more than 14 years. Follow him on Twitter @AHiddyCBC. Contact him:

With files from Sarah Rieger and Adam Carter