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Poll shows Canadians want Uber, but not without regulation
Feb. 12, 2016
By Alex Wilks

A new survey indicates the majority of Canadians are in support of the car-sharing service Uber, but when it comes to regulating other aspects of the ‘sharing economy’, Canadians feel differently.

Uber is found in major cities all across the globe, including Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton. However, Vancouver still isn’t on the list.

“While there is an appetite for Uber in Canadian cities, it’s not that simple because Canadians also want to see Uber face some regulation,” said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute.

Kurl said with sharing economy services such as Uber or Airbnb, there is a big age gap in terms of opinions.

“Younger Canadians, especially living in cities, especially those who are aware of the services or have even used them. Big fans. They are all for Airbnb, all for Uber,” she said.

“Older Canadians have a different perspective. It may have to do with life experience. They are more aware of the pitfalls that can come from unregulated services such as these.”

Vancouver city councillors admitted last year the city is shorthanded when it comes to cabs, but say it’s up to the province to sort out the regulatory framework needed in order for Uber to operate legally.

“For policy makers, the people who have to figure this out, they got to step carefully because even though both sides are very black and white in terms of their arguments, Canadians actually see it as much more nuanced,” said Kurl.

Karen Sawatzky, an SFU Urban Studies Master’s Student who’s studied the province’s sharing economy, said people are evaluating these services based on their own consumer preferences.

“There are bigger public interest issues involved in these services,” said Sawatzky. “How the services operate, how they have been uncooperative with local governments, the effects that they have on vulnerable workers and on housing markets.”