Taxi drivers want legislation to deal with Uber
Published Monday, March 28, 2016 11:45AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 28, 2016 6:41PM EDT
The largest union of taxi drivers in Quebec is growing increasingly frustrated with the Premier of the province.
The Steelworkers Union, which represents 4,000 taxi drivers in Montreal, said Philippe Couillard is "throwing oil on the fire" when it comes to the future of the taxi industry.
Quebec's government is in the process of determining how to regulate Uber and similar app-based ride services while taxi drivers are demanding the enforcement of laws that require drivers who accept paying passengers to have permits.
Following public hearings earlier this year, Transportation Minister Jacques Daoust is drafting legislation that would allow UberX to operate, as long as drivers have underground background checks and paid the province for permits.
Media reports that appeared last week indicate the Premier apparently opposes this idea, and taxi drivers are infuriated by Couillard's stance.
"We've had two ministers of transport who say Uber is illegal and we still have a premier that doesn't want to go with their minister(s)," said union representative Benoit Jugand.
Taxi drivers said Monday they've toned down their protests since the province agreed to hearings, even though UberX refused a government request to stop operations while those hearings took place.
The transport minister's office says the bill is still in the works.
The Steelworkers Union has scheduled meetings this week where drivers will discuss pressure tactics they can take.
Daoust initially said he would table legislation by the end of March, and taxi drivers say if the government doesn't introduce legislation by mid-April, they will do "whatever is necessary to protect their jobs, families and children."