Uber faces insurance woes in Edmonton, launches preemptive PR move in TO - Canadian Government Executive
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Ian Black, Uber Canada, general manager,l
March 30, 2016

Uber faces insurance woes in Edmonton, launches preemptive PR move in TO

Uber Canada boss calls on Torontonians to urge city councillors to support ride-sharing regulations

As Toronto’s city staff prepares top release proposed regulations for taxis and ride-sharing services in the city, Uber Canada launched a new public relations campaign to get Torontonians to urge city councillors to support “progressive” ride-sharing rules.

Toronto councillors are scheduled to vote in May on whether or not to allow ride-sharing companies to operate in the city. But before that, the city’s licensing committee is going to review a staff report on the issue in April.

Uber Canada’s PR online and social media PR campaign is aimed at sending out the message of “what is at stake if the city council gets this wrong,” according to Ian Black, general manager for Uber Canada.

Black said the campaign is “positive” in that it explains how the UberX service helps cut traffic congestion and carbon emissions while offering commuters a ride service in areas “previously ignored by transit and by traditional transportation options.”

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In asking Torontonians to call for a “smart” regulatory regime, he also said ride-hailing services should work under regulations that are different from those of the traditional taxi industry because Uber drivers work only between five and 10 hours.

“Why would Uber get special treatment?” Rita Smith, executive director of the Toronto Taxi Alliance, said in an interview with the Toronto Star. “The idea that we would diminish safety regulations because most Uber drivers only drive five or 10 hours a week flies in the face of everything the industry has done and municipalities have done . . . to protect passengers,” she said Tuesday.


Over in Edmonton, Uber may have to suspend operation in the first Canadian city to legalize ride-sharing.

Edmonton’s city council passed a vehicle-for-hire bylaw in January, which the company called as balanced and fare. City taxi operators and drivers, however, opposed it.

The bylaw stipulated that in order to operate in the city, Uber drivers need to have proof of proper insurance by March 1.However, the Alberta government failed to approve a new insurance product in time leaving Uber with no choice but to suspend its operations.

The Alberta government expects to approve a new insurance product by July 1.

About this author

Nestor Arellano

Nestor is a Toronto-based journalist who specializes in writing about technology and business. He is the editor of Vanguard Magazine and the associate editor of IT in Canada and a regular contributor to CGE.

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