Taxi drivers union taking city to court over Ottawa’s Uber laws

Union says the new laws are unfair and that the city acted in bad faith


The union representing taxi drivers in Ottawa is suing the city for allowing ride-sharing app Uber to operate and threaten their livelihoods.

In a lawsuit filed in the Ontario Superior Court on April 13 Unifor Local 1688 accuses the city of “acting in bad faith in the sense of being less than frank and transparent about its plans.”

Taxi drivers Pierre Nakhle and Nega Haile are named in the filing. Both have been full-time cab drivers in the city for over 20 years.

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Nakhle drives for Blueline and is the union president, while Haile owns his own taxi license and drives for Capital Taxi.

The lawsuit takes issue with the by-law review the city undertook in May 2015. The cab drivers claim they were “promised” a “level playing field,” but were disappointed when the city recommended to legalize Uber.

The lawsuit alleges that the new law disadvantages traditional cab drivers, who are still required to be individually licensed and own or rent a taxi plate.

They also say they weren’t given enough notice of the new laws.

According to the city, Ottawa has 3,000 Uber drivers who have provided 1.4 million trips to residents since the company began legally operating in September.

The lawsuit claims that at least 80 per cent of those fares represent business taken away from taxi drivers.

Unifor is being represented by Dentons Canada LLP. The hearing date is set for Sept 21.

This story originally appeared in Metro News.

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