Justice G. H. Poelman, of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta issued a temporary injunction on Friday against drivers offering rides for a fee using the Uber app, to run until December 17 when a new hearing can be convened in which Calgary will argue for a permanent injunction against Uber until the company agrees to comply with insurance and regulatory requirements.
“This is recognition that private for-hire vehicles operating under the Uber umbrella are breaching the city’s bylaw and they have been ordered to stop,” said city lawyer Christine Sinclair. “This pulls a number of vehicles that are not appropriately insured, licensed or inspected off the road and prevents them from offering a potentially unsafe service.”
“Congratulations to Mayor Naheed Nenshi and the City of Calgary for demonstrating true political will when dealing with a renegade business which flagrantly disobeys the law,” says Toronto Taxi Alliance spokesperson Sam Moini. “We commend Calgary for taking a stand for the rule of law in Canada.”
“This is a sad day for hardworking Calgarians and we are in active discussions with the city so that affordable and reliable rides are available again soon,” said Uber general manager for Alberta Ramit Kar, confirming that operations would halt Saturday at 6:00 a.m.
Regarding those “active discussions with the city,” mayor Nenshi condemned the ride-sharing service, saying that they had been talking out of both sides of their mouth, presenting themselves on the one hand as eager partners in the negotiation of a legal framework for Uber to operate in the city, and on the other hand simply launching the service anyway well in advance of those negotiations taking place.
“Our friends at Uber have known for many, many months that they’ve got an insurance problem,” Nenshi said at a November 16 press conference. “I’m a bit baffled that they launched when the insurance product is just a few months away. If they were a responsible company, then I would suggest to them that they would probably want to pull their product off the road until that insurance product is available.”
Just that week, the city had approved a hybrid regulatory framework that would have allowed Uber to launch in Calgary on February 22.
But Uber decided to launch early, ahead of that framework being approved, putting an estimated 500 illegal taxis on the road.
At that time, Nenshi expressed disappointment that Uber decided to launch operations without going through a regulatory process.
“It’s great to see Uber come to my hometown of Calgary,” said Uber co-founder and chairman Garrett Camp in October, immediately after Uber launched. “Calgary needs more transit options and Uber provides a new alternative that benefits everyone.”
Camp comes in third on the Canadian Business 2016 “Canada’s Richest People” list, with a net worth of almost $9.2 billion, making him the richest person in Western Canada.
In a news release on Friday, Calgary said it has charged 19 people with 52 offences under the bylaw and the Traffic Safety Act and that an investigation is ongoing related to another 19 drivers who face 48 charges.
On September 30, Toronto city council passed an amendment to the city’s taxi by-laws, redefining the terms “taxicab”, “taxicab broker” and “limousine service company” because those previous definitions had been previously challenged and
Those by-law updates were enacted and approved on October 2 in Toronto.
Meanwhile in Edmonton, city council plans to have a revision of their by-laws back before council on January 26.
“I know Calgary is much further away to sorting out any potential bylaw on their end,” said Edmonton Councillor Andrew Knack. “I imagine their bylaw was written in a different way that allowed this to happen. From everything we understand, our bylaw was not up to par and we needed a new one regardless.”
I am concerned that Uber still is not properly insured. I urge you to not be a passenger or driver until sorted. http://t.co/qIBwB3tuQR
— Naheed Nenshi (@nenshi) October 15, 2015
@robcook64 even Uber themselves have agreed they need to sort out their insurance. They chose to illegally launch anyway.
— Naheed Nenshi (@nenshi) November 21, 2015
@robcook64 the insurance regulator, the insurance companies themselves, and now a judge disagree they have proper insurance
— Naheed Nenshi (@nenshi) November 21, 2015