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Tory MPP urges province to regulate Uber

Tory MPP Michael Harris is urging Kathleen Wynne government to bring in laws to permit Uber and other ride-hailing apps.
May 28, 2015
By Vanessa Lu

A Tory MPP is urging the provincial government to bring in regulations to allow ride-hailing companies like Uber to operate here.

“Consumers are the ones who are demanding this more efficient and enjoyable means of travel,” said Michael Harris of Kitchener-Conestoga, who tabled a motion on Thursday in the Legislature calling for changes.

“Technology is evolving and so should our laws,” he said. “The provincial government should support that innovation and establish a benchmark to allow Uber.”

Instead of a patchwork or hodgepodge of rules and regulations, Harris believes the province should lead with legislation, especially since it oversees auto insurance.

Municipalities could still weigh in there were specific issues they wish to regulate, but the key is allowing these companies to operate throughout the province, he said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory also favours regulating Uber, though the city of Toronto is still going ahead with a court case next week to block all of Uber’s operations here. The city argues the company is operating illegally here raising concerns about public safety.

Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca told reporters that he would have a look at Harris’ suggestion, but he wasn’t prepared to commit to anything yet.

In the provincial budget, brought down in April, the Liberal government said it would look at regulating companies in the so-called sharing economy.

Meanwhile, in New York, both Uber and Lyft are pushing back against a New York City effort to regulate the apps.

The proposal before the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission would require car services that riders can book with their smartphones to comply with many of the rules that govern the yellow cabs with which they compete.

The proposed rule changes would address fares, the availability of wheelchair-accessible cars and restrictions on picking up passengers at airports.

San Francisco-based Uber and Lyft say the regulations would discourage innovation.