The Toronto Sun did a "year end" follow up on the Compliments and Complaints email program run by the TTA - it's a nice read!
August 3, 2016 (Toronto) – While Toronto’s new vehicle for hire by-laws were expected to come into effect on July 15th, the city’s taxi industry has yet to see any enforcements against UberX’s illegal activities, says Rita Smith, Executive Director of the Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA).
“We understand the City is working with a brand new set of by-laws and that it will take time to get all the regulations in place. We understand that Licensing and Standards has a process to follow, and we are waiting and watching. However, on July 28th we were informed that Uber has not even yet been approved as a Private Transportation Company – staff are still reviewing Uber’s application,” Smith points out.
“This means that although Uber was able to pressure the City into writing new by-laws specifically for them, the Mayor’s motion was introduced on May 3rd, and new by-laws came into effect on July 15, Uber remains unregulated in Toronto."
“Now it is up to Uber to comply with Toronto’s laws. This delay is inexcusable – Uber is once again giving the 'one finger salute' to Mayor John Tory and Tracey Cook,” Smith says.
The City of Toronto Municipal Licensing and Standards department has posted clarification of the new by-law on its website. The by-law is expected to become effective July 15th, 2016.
Read the posted questions and answers by clicking here.
Click on this link to read the Freedom of Information document - Uber's "suggested" new by-laws begin on page 22:
Gail Souter, President
Toronto Taxi Alliance
#1 Credit Union Drive
Marc Andre Way, President
Canadian Taxicab Association
455 Coventry Rd.
Mr. Tom Golfetto, Director
Automobile Insurance Division
Financial Services Commission of Ontario
5160 Yonge Street
P.O. Box 85
Toronto, Ontario, M2N 6L9
March 30, 2016
Dear Mr. Golfetto,
We are writing today in regards to recent developments in new insurance products for sale to unlicensed taxi companies such as UberX and other ride-hailing companies.
We in the legal, regulated taxi industry have grave concerns about the erroneous perception in the media and among elected officials that unlicensed bandit taxi drivers will all now proceed to purchase these endorsements, and that the ride-hailing insurance issue has now been satisfactorily settled.
In fact, we are well aware from industry conversations that a miniscule number of unlicensed drivers will purchase these products, if in fact any ever do. They have managed to drive passengers for compensation for months or years without notifying their insurance companies, and they have no plan to change their behaviour now.
For example, on March 19th in downtown Toronto, an Uber driver was involved in a serious accident. The driver had to be cut from the car, and he and 3 passengers were transported to hospital. Was this driver covered by any required insurance endorsement? Does anyone know?
In fact, Drive Magazine notes, “I’m guessing the majority…would rather risk exposure to possible lawsuits and damages than a guaranteed bump in their rates.”
Further, Uber confuses this situation tremendously in its recruitment materials by telling drivers they only need to provide their personal policy information.
For this reason, the Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) and the Canadian Taxicab Association (CTA) are writing you today to ask the Financial Services Commission of Ontario to protect the public through the following actions:
- That insurance firms selling ride-hailing endorsements be required to report to FSCO the number of such endorsements actually sold, and detail for FSCO how they are monitoring the fact that drivers are only driving the 10 or 20 hours per week for which they are insured.
- That this information be shared with municipalities. Release of information on the actual number of endorsements purchased will give politicians more accurate information on which to base their debates and decisions.
We trust you will agree that everyone – consumers, service providers, elected officials and the insurance industry itself – will be well and fairly served with the release of the above information.
Additionally, we request that FSCO investigate the misleading representations Uber has made to the public in the media and to their UberX drivers concerning its insurance shortfall and in particular, its failure to clearly inform drivers that Uber's Non Owned Automobile insurance does not address the paying passenger exclusion and which we believe constitutes an unfair and deceptive business practice.
From Uber’s website FAQ:
All drivers are required to carry valid personal auto insurance, which will be your primary coverage. Every ride on the UberX platform is backed by $5,000,000 of contingent coverage for bodily injury and property damage to third parties. This means that if, in the event of an accident, your own personal insurance is exhausted or does not apply for any reason, passengers, pedestrians, other drivers, and the community at large can rest assured knowing that ridesharing partners remain covered by a robust first-class policy.”
We appreciate your attention to this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact either of us if you have any questions.
Yours very truly,
Gail Souter, President Marc Andre Way, President
Toronto Taxi Alliance Canadian Taxicab Association
February 23, 2016 (TORONTO) -- The fact that five of eight Uber drivers charged by Toronto Police last March have still not received disclosure of the evidence raises serious doubts about whether the Police and/or the Prosecutor’s office are seriously intent on prosecuting these charges, says Harvey Spiegel, Q.C. legal counsel for the Toronto Taxi Alliance.
On January 22nd, Gerald Chan, the drivers’ lawyer informed the court that five drivers had not yet received disclosure documents from Toronto prosecutors. The prosecution gave no reasonable explanation for the failure. The court agreed this was an inordinately long period of time to provide disclosure in a case like this.
“’Disclosure’ in this type of case is as simple as preparing a short synopsis of the police evidence, photocopying supporting documents, if any, and sending them to the defence lawyer,” Spiegel, a retired Superior Court Judge points out. “I cannot think of any legitimate reason why this was not done months ago.
“I understand that the charges against three of the drivers have already been dropped because of the prosecution’s failure to make timely disclosure. If the prosecution delays much longer, the remaining cases will likely meet a similar fate.
“When the Toronto Police Services were are asked why they were not laying more charges against UberX drivers they said they were awaiting the outcome of the pending charges. Frankly, this doesn’t make any sense. Do you stop laying charges against impaired drivers because some persons are contesting similar charges?
“Moreover, at the rate that the pending charges are being prosecuted, it is doubtful that that there will be ever be a disposition on the merits. Will the TPS then say there is no point in laying more charges because these were thrown out?”
The case against the Uber drivers charged is scheduled to be back in court on February 24th at 9 a.m. at “N” Court (Old City Hall, 3rd floor). Court schedules may be impacted by an inside workers’ strike.
January 12, 2016 ( Toronto)—The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) today reminds Toronto’s Budget Committee of the legal taxi industry’s contribution to the City’s bottom line.
“Every member of the taxi industry pays multiple fees and charges every year, contributing almost $15 million in total to Toronto’s annual budget,” said Moini, who points out that UberX drivers contribute absolutely nothing to Toronto’s bottom line while profiting from the use of Toronto’s infrastructure.
“We hope that in the months ahead, as Councillors debate the folly of allowing an unlicensed, unregulated foreign company to exploit the City’s infrastructure while contributing absolutely nothing to it, you will give some thought to the millions of dollars the legal taxi industry contributes to Toronto.”
Moini notes that until 2014, legal taxi industry members believed at least some of their money went to pay for enforcement of the law in Toronto. However, since UberX is being allowed to operate illegally and with impunity, taxi drivers are growing increasingly frustrated with the fees they are required to pay and many feel all fees and charges should be suspended entirely.
The owner of a Standard taxi plate pays a renewal fee of $1279.32 each and every year. Every taxi driver renewing his license pays $337.86. Toronto collects a transfer fee of $4983.33 every time a plate is issued or transferred. With the issuance of 532 Toronto Taxi License plates alone, for example, the City generated over $2.6 million.
“The training course every new taxi driver must take generates about $1 million per year,” Moini points out.
UberX drivers do not pay license fees; do not pay renewal or transfer fees; and are not required to take the City’s training course.
“This month, City Councillors are scrambling to find every dollar they can to protect important programs. Next month, they may be debating Uber. We urge Councillors to consider the link between budget shortfalls and the fact that the City is allowing an unregulated foreign competitor which uses City services to operate freely on our streets while contributing nothing.”
On January 7th, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti sent a letter to the Budget Committee asking that all taxi fees be suspended until the current review is completed.
Taxi drivers are also required to collect HST from the first dollar of business that they do, Moini points out, and according to the City’s own estimates of 65,000 rides per day at an average cost of $25, Toronto cabbies collect $75 million in HST each year. 8 per cent of that goes back to the province of Ontario, another $6 million contribution which benefits the City of Toronto.
UberX drivers do not collect HST.
“Are you aware that with every Uber transaction that takes place in Toronto, the revenues are sent overseas electronically to be processed in the Netherlands in order to avoid taxation in Canada?” Moini asked Councillors.
 A Framework for Change, 2014, Slide 5 http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2013/ls/bgrd/backgroundfile-59885.pdf
 A Framework for Change, 2014 Slide 5 http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2013/ls/bgrd/backgroundfile-59885.pdf
TTA figures based on these assumptions/info from City of Toronto and industry members:
December 1, 2015 (Toronto)—December 1st is “Snow Tire Day” for Toronto’s taxi industry.
From December 1st to March 15th, licensed taxis in Toronto are required by City by-law to have snow tires on their cabs.
“It costs extra money and time to switch over twice per year, but the by-law was written with the safety of Toronto residents in mind. It only makes sense,” says Sam Moini, spokesperson for the Toronto Taxi Alliance. Moini manages a taxi fleet and has been busy all week changing the cabs over to snow tires.
A recent study reported on Wheels.ca noted that stops on cold bare pavement from 50 km/h produced results of 18 metres for winter tires and 27.1 metres for all-seasons. That’s 33.6-per-cent shorter for winter tires, which in Toronto could be the difference between a stop and a collision.
The requirement for snow tires applies only to licensed taxis. “Unregulated operators like UberX are not subject to this requirement,” Moini notes.
November 21, 2015 (Toronto) -- Calgary is enforcing the law against Uber, and Toronto should be doing the same, says the Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA).
“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 Sam Moini, spokesperson for the TTA. “We commend Calgary for taking a stand for the rule of law in Canada.
“Calgary is protecting its citizens. The injunction is designed to ensure that the public is not put at risk. Why is Toronto Mayor Tory continuing to play Russian roulette with Torontonians’ lives by allowing illegal and uninsured cars to roam the street with impunity?”
With thousands of uninsured and untrained UberX drivers operating on our streets it is only a matter of time before a serious accident will result in insurance mayhem, Moini notes: “Until UberX comes into regulatory compliance, they should be barred from operating in our city. Toronto has made the necessary changes to bring its bylaws into compliance with the judge’s ruling. Now, before the bad weather sets in and the risks go up, we need to get these unregulated, non-inspected and uninsured cars off the road.”
Calgary reported in a press release on November 20th that the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta has issued a temporary injunction against drivers offering rides for a fee using the Uber app.
Justice G. H. Poelman issued the injunction to run until a full hearing December 17. At that time, Calgary will argue the injunction should be permanent to stop drivers from offering or providing rides for a fee using a vehicle hired through the Uber app until safety, insurance and regulatory requirements are met.
“Toronto’s Licensing and Standards Division did the right thing when it applied for an injunction last year; however, Justice Dunphy had to reject the injunction because Toronto’s definition of ‘taxi’ was outdated, referring only to telephones and not apps. Toronto rectified this problem on September 30th, and should have acted immediately to file another injunction application,” Moini says.
“In Toronto, while hundreds of cars are being towed for parking illegally, not one single UberX vehicle has been towed for operating without insurance. Which offense does Toronto consider more serious: a parking infraction, or driving without insurance?”
On Twitter, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi was very blunt in his assessments of Uber’s willingness to break the law, as well as its lack of insurance – two situations with exact parallels in Ontario:
“The TTA encourages Toronto to return to Ontario court with a new injunction request, in light of the September 30 Council decision. It’s November 21st; why is Toronto waiting to take action against this illegal, uninsured operation?” Moini points out.
Insurance Amnesia: When did auto insurance become a joke in Ontario?
By Philomena Comerford, President and CEO, Baird MacGregor Insurance
To your auto insurance company, carrying paying passengers falls into the same group of troubling excluded uses as does carrying explosives or radioactive materials.
For UberX drivers who mistakenly believe they are “ride sharing,” the news is not good. UberX is not ride sharing; UberX drivers are carrying paying passengers for profit which is absolutely excluded under their personal auto policies.
Unless you have an OPCF 6A Endorsement that permits carrying paying passengers as part of your policy, you are not insured. Every taxi and limousine in Ontario carries this endorsement. UberX drivers are either under the mistaken impression that they do not need this endorsement or are deliberately hiding this excluded use of their personal vehicle from their insurer.
To those of us who have worked for decades as insurance professionals, it seems that politicians, police, and media have been stricken with some kind of “Insurance Amnesia,” the chief symptom of which is to forget that it is against the law to drive without proper insurance, and that personal insurance policies specifically exclude drivers who carry paying passengers.
UberX continues to operate without insurance despite Toronto Council’s motion requesting they cease operating until they are brought within the law.
Insurance Amnesia is running rampant. Officials who are elected to design and uphold the law are, incredibly, promoting wholesale disregard of Ontario’s insurance laws. By now, Tim Hudak, John Tory and City Councils across the province should be fully aware that UberX drivers who do not carry an OPCF 6A endorsement are not covered to carry paying passengers; yet when Toronto’s Chief of Police says he does not have the resources to enforce the law, no one bats an eye.
When did insurance become a joke in Ontario?
In the case of UberX drivers who are pulled over while transporting paying passengers, police or licensing and standards by law enforcement officers should simply ask for a copy of the 6A endorsement and charge the driver if he fails to produce evidence of this proper insurance.
City Council does not have the authority to re-write Ontario’s Mandatory Insurance Act or the Highway Traffic Act. No matter how much users love UberX, technology does not trump the law. To the insurer, it does not matter if the car was dispatched using an app or dispatched using a telephone. If you’re making money from it, you are carrying paying passengers. It’s black and white; there are no shades of grey.
In October, Aviva Insurance began cancelling the policies of clients found to be driving for UberX. Politicians and police now have concrete proof that UberX drivers are not covered by their personal policies and yet police have no plans to take action; this, while they tow hundreds of cars during the “parking blitz.”
This begs the question: which is the greater societal crime to which enforcement resources should be allocated, illegal parking or uninsured vehicles?
Promoting the idea UberX drivers need some special new insurance product is disingenuous and irresponsible. The product that UberX drivers need exists right now: it is the OPCF 6A endorsement. UberX drivers are free to purchase this at a cost of about $4000 to $10,000.
Let’s admit the truth. Uber doesn’t want a new product; it wants a cheaper product.
In spite of all the recent publicity, UberX drivers continue to drive without commercial insurance; this constitutes insurance fraud. By systemically hiding UberX activity from their insurers, considerably increased injury exposure will push the cost of your personal auto insurance up over time, undermining Ontario’s mandate to reduce it.
UberX drivers stubbornly ignore the Financial Services Commission of Ontario and Insurance Bureau of Canada’s warnings about the personal auto paying passenger exclusion and the City of Toronto’s cease order. It is wishful thinking that these same UberX drivers would buy any new product later when they won’t purchase the existing product now.
Now that Aviva has had the intestinal fortitude to take a stand with uninsured UberX drivers, perhaps the rest of the insurance industry will drink a cup of courage and do the same thing….. before a tsunami of uninsured injury claims come rolling in.
Philomena Comerford, CIP
Philomena Comerford is President & CEO of Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP and its affiliate, Hargraft.
She joined the firm in 1980 after serving at a national brokerage, is the incumbent President of the Toronto Insurance Conference Board, member of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada’s board of directors, and is a past Chairman of the Insurance Institute of Canada having also served on IIC’s Examination, Education and Executive Committees.
She is also the incumbent Chair of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada’s Political Action Committee. Philomena has served on the Ontario Automobile Operating Committee of the Facility Association and is a frequent public speaker on insurance and risk management topics.
Philomena participated in The City of Toronto Taxicab Review in a series of roundtable consultations regarding public vehicle insurance and risk management best practices. Baird MacGregor is an established specialty commercial automobile insurance provider with significant public vehicle insurance expertise.
October 2nd, 2015 (Toronto) – The Toronto Taxi Alliance today called upon Mayor John Tory, City by-law officers and Toronto Police to enforce the law regarding Uber.
“All of the laws required to stop Uber already exist on the books,” says Sam Moini, spokesperson for the Toronto Taxi Alliance. “There is no need to delay.”
On Wednesday, September 30, City Council voted to close the loophole which has allowed Uber to operate outside of regulation. A motion was also passed calling upon Uber to cease operating UberX while new regulations are drafted. Uber responded in a statement saying they did not intend to obey the law.
“We are not asking for any new laws or regulations. We are simply asking officials to enforce the laws which already exist. City by-law officers could more aggressively enforce the by-laws; Toronto police are not enforcing the Highway Traffic Act. Two weeks ago, Guelph police charged five UberX drivers with violating Section 39.1 of the Highway Traffic Act in one day.”
While Mayor Tory claims Toronto does not have the resources to stop Uber, Moini points out that other jurisdictions have found better solutions than a car-by-car check: “France arrested the top Uber executives who refused to obey French law; Montreal police began impounding UberX cars, and drivers got the message very quickly.
“Why is Toronto not doing this?”
Please click on the link above to sign Giorgio Mammoliti's Anti-Uber petition, and please share this link widely with your friends, family members, co-workers and neighbours.
September 20, 2015 (Toronto) – Toronto’s taxi industry is relieved to learn Toronto police have identified the Uber driver wanted for sexual assault last week, but astonished that police had to appeal to the public to identify the driver because Uber had no contact information for him.
“Last week, Toronto Police posted a notice asking for the public’s help in locating an UberX driver wanted for sexual assault,” says Sam Moini, spokesperson for the Toronto Taxi Alliance. “The TTA extends its sincerest sympathies to the young woman who was harmed.”
The Toronto Star, the Sun, the National Post, the CBC, Global News, CP24 and many other media outlets co-operated with police and dedicated space or airtime asking members of the public to assist police in identifying this man.
“It was very generous and civic-minded of these media outlets to help police in this way and we are relieved for all Torontonians that he has been located.
“However, no one posting this notice commented on the fact that Uber apparently could locate one of its own drivers,” Moini points out. “Uber also could not provide the age of the driver; the police list an age range of 26-30 years old. In fact, he is 21. This cannot be allowed to happen again.”
On September 30, Toronto City Council will vote on several issues concerning UberX. These Councillors have been consistently misled over Uber policies and especially the safety features offered – or more accurately, not offered – by UberX. For a year Uber has claimed that because the driver’s photo and first name (not last name) is displayed on its smartphone app, this somehow ensures passenger safety. This week, Toronto learned that this is clearly not true. Uber does not even have the last name of its own driver; the “background check” they claim to conduct on their drivers is not compliant with the City of Toronto’s requirements and remains a mystery to anyone seeking information
“The fact that Uber could not identify and cannot locate one of its own drivers and that police have turned to the public for help is an absolute travesty,” Moini says.
“It highlights once again – as recent coverage of UberX’s lack of insurance for its drivers has also done – that Uber misleads the public and politicians repeatedly as part of its business model and Toronto City Councillors must keep this in mind when they vote on September 30 before they vote whether or not to dismantle Toronto’s existing cab industry.”
- Toronto taxis have roof lights, city approved meter rates, door numbers, in-car cameras and driver IDs posted. UberX has none of these features.
- Toronto taxi drivers take a 3 week training course and are licensed by the City. UberX drivers do not.
- Toronto taxi drivers must have a police background check. UberX drivers do not.
- Toronto drivers must carry $2M worth of commercial insurance. UberX drivers do not.
“Uber continues to mislead the public by repeating the claim that they have a $5 million dollar policy which covers their drivers, despite the fact that the Insurance Bureau of Canada has pointed out that is a standard non-owned auto insurance policy which does not offer coverage to their drivers; it exists to protect Uber in the case of negligence,” Moini adds.
TTA Spokesperson Sam Moini did a fantastic job with Steve Paikin on TVO's "The Agenda" on September 18th.
Please share this link widely with your friends and family, and forward to you City Councillor in advance of the September 30 Council Meeting.
By Gail Souter, President
Toronto Taxi Alliance
Toronto’s taxi industry agrees with Uber’s Chris Schafer on one thing: Uber must be regulated.
As a matter of fact, all of the authority required to regulate it exists right now, in Toronto City by-laws section 545 (which govern ground transportation) and Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (section 39.1 which governs public transportation for compensation).
We disagree that Uber deserves its own special, custom-created regulatory category.
UberX came to Toronto one year ago and launched its business deliberately choosing to disregard and ignore every one of Toronto’s by-laws and the insurance requirements of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act. This outrageous act of civil disobedience has, astonishingly, been tolerated by Toronto politicians and Toronto police.
Toronto has all the power and authority it needs to regulate Uber right now. However for the past year, it has simply chosen not to enforce its own laws when dealing with UberX, whose drivers provide transportation for compensation in their personal vehicles, an activity which flies in the face of every regulation Toronto has ever enacted to protect public safety. Yet at the same time, it has continued to enforce these bylaws with the legally licenced taxi industry.
Uber, a foreign company, has ignored all of Toronto’s local laws, and is now demanding Toronto re-write its by-laws to satisfy Uber. This is brazen and unacceptable.
The taxi industry in Toronto is subject to hundreds of separate requirements under By-law 545. Either these requirements are important to public safety and need to be followed; or they are no longer necessary and do not need to be followed by anyone. Fair enough: what is not fair is to use these rigorous requirements to commercially hog-tie the taxi industry while Uber is allowed to ignore them.
No one is suggesting Uber should not be allowed to dispatch cars in Toronto; we maintain simply that Uber should follow all the same rules for accountability and public safety that all the other dispatch companies follow.
When Schafer writes “Uber welcomes the opportunity to be regulated and follow the rules proposed by MLS,” he overlooks completely the fact that this regulatory framework already exists, and Uber wants nothing to do with it. Why does anyone suppose Uber would follow this proposed new set of rules designed just for them? Ignoring local regulation is an entrenched part of Uber’s business model all around the globe.
Should Uber next decide to get into providing cheaper bus service on TTC routes, or running cut-rate, discount, uninspected Uber restaurants and bars, will Toronto bend over backwards once again to re-write the rules for Uber?
London’s Guardian newspaper interestingly identifies Uber’s motivation in interfering with city governance:
“A more apt understanding of Uber’s ambitions is that the company wants to be involved in city governance – fashioning the new administrative capacities of urban environments. Rather than follow government rules, like any other utility, Uber wants a visible hand in creating urban policy, determining how cities develop and grow, eventually making the city itself a platform for the proliferation of ‘smart,’ data-based systems.
“While Uber is currently fighting for deregulation, it is misleading to understand this as simply attempting to remove legal barriers to market forces. Rather, it is a process of disrupting political power. And Uber has already established itself as a power player.”
The taxi industry calls upon Toronto politicians to demonstrate political will in enforcing its own existing laws fairly and consistently for everyone. Do not reward Uber’s aggressive stance on flouting the law by writing Uber a law of its own.
This Op Ed was submitted to the National Post in response to Chris Schafer's fiction piece, published September 17th.The Post printed our response.
September 9, 2015 (Toronto) -- Toronto’s taxi industry is extremely disappointed to see that City staff are recommending Toronto abandon its single tier system of regulation and enforcement of ground transportation, which has protected residents and drivers for 80 years.
“If adopted by Council, these recommendations will spell the end of Toronto’s taxi industry as we know it,” says Sajid Mughal, President of iTaxi Workers.
“Taxicabs are regulated for a reason: they carry our most valuable cargo, Human Beings. We cannot have the wild, wild west in the area of transporting vulnerable passengers.”
Toronto’s taxi industry has followed the rules and regulations determined by Council and staff. Toronto taxicabs are equipped with roof lights, door numbers, City-sanctioned meters and in-car security cameras. Drivers are trained, carry commercial insurance , and have a police background check.
“With the proposed creation of Transportation Network Companies, City staff are setting up an incredibly lop-sided system which would saddle law-abiding taxi drivers with onerous regulations and expenses while UberX drivers are allowed to skim off the easiest and most lucrative business,” says Sam Moini, spokesperson for the Toronto Taxi Alliance.
Allowing UberX cars with no roof lights, meters or in-car cameras to operate outside the system of regulated fares begs conflict situations for riders and drivers, Moini says.
UberX has no accessible vehicles, and cannot be contacted by citizens who do not own smart phones.
“No taxi driver with any common sense, or business sense, will try to keep driving a licensed taxi while competing with these Transportation Network Companies,” Moini says. “Toronto will now get two tiers of transportation service, UberX and taxi. Toronto will quickly be reduced to one level of service, and it will be the lowest level: UberX.
“We can only hope that Toronto’s elected officials see the incredible damage these recommendations will do to the city’s ground transportation system, and stop them cold when the vote comes to Council,” says Mughal. “The City’s own recent review showed that Toronto has the right number of taxi licenses; with no cap and a new tier, the city will be flooded with drivers, none of whom can make a living.”
The City of Toronto does not regulate automobile insurance: Ontario does. Toronto has no authority to sanction UberX drivers to operate without insurance, and in fact opens itself up to potential lawsuits by attempting to do so.
“There was a lot of excitement yesterday over the fact that Intact Insurance has announced its intention to develop an insurance product for UberX,” Moini points out.
“This might be news if there was actually a product UberX drivers could buy – but there is not. Intact did nothing more than announce its ‘intention. which begs the question: if Intact is so excited about developing a new product for the future – what is covering UberX drivers NOW? Nothing. UberX drivers are not covered by any insurance company in Ontario. How can City of Toronto staff recommend the creation of a class of transportation vehicles which cannot obtain insurance anywhere in Ontario? It’s insane.”
This is the CityNews interview from this week, with UberX driver who had an accident in June and is suing Uber Canada. His personal insurance has walked away from him and Uber is not stepping in to help. Read it here
August 12, 2015
Taxi Alliance commends Council on decision to enforce the law
And regulate Uber
August 12, 2015 (Toronto) – Toronto City Council’s unanimous vote on July 8th to review the existing regulatory by-laws and to recommend changes which will ensure that the taxi industry and Uber are on a level playing field is a step in the right direction, says Sam Moini, spokesperson for the Toronto Taxi Alliance.
"We are very pleased that City Council overwhelmingly recognized that public safety is paramount, and they were clear in their intent to enforce Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act and city by-laws to protect the riding public from uninsured and illegal taxis and limos.
“Now, we are pleased to see evidence of the fact that through the efforts of the City by-law office these laws are being enforced. We believe the Toronto Police Services should also be enforcing Section 39 (1) of the Highway Traffic Act.”
Moini also pointed out that members of the insurance industry, including Pete Karageorgos of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, conducted a technical briefing on July 28th to ensure that all Toronto City Councillors are fully aware of the fact that Uber drivers are not covered by their personal insurance policies in Ontario.
For more information about the Class Action click here
TTA Statement on Class Action suit against Uber
July 23, 2015 (Toronto) – The Toronto Taxi Alliance commends Dominik Konjevic and Sutts, Strosberg LLP on the filing of a class action lawsuit against Uber in the City of Toronto.
“Uber’s activities, which remain outside the law according to Section 545 of the City’s by-laws with regard to transporting passengers for compensation as well as Section 39(1) of the Highway Transportation Act, are causing many professional drivers in Toronto to lose significant portions of their income,” says Sam Moini, spokesperson for the Toronto Taxi Alliance.
“We wish Mr. Konjevic and Mr. Strosberg every success in this important legal initiative.”
July 9, 2015 (Toronto) – Toronto City Council’s unanimous vote to review the existing regulatory by-laws and to recommend changes which will ensure that the taxi industry and Uber are on a level playing field is a step in the right direction, says Sam Moini, spokesperson for the Toronto Taxi Alliance.
"We are very pleased that City Council has overwhelmingly recognized public safety is paramount, and they were clear in their intent to enforce Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act and city by-laws to protect the riding public from uninsured and illegal taxis and limos.
“Now, we hope to see evidence of the fact that through the combined efforts of the City and Toronto Police Services, that these laws are being enforced. We would like to see Licensing and Standards issue a weekly report on incidents and charges laid.”
The TTA is reviewing the Ontario Court decision regarding Toronto's injunction request on Uber.
We will have comment in the days ahead.
Enforce the Law: Taxi Industry to City, Police
July 2nd, 2015 (Toronto) – Members of Toronto’s taxi industry visited City Hall today to call upon officials to enforce the law regarding Uber, including UberX.
“We are tax-paying, law-abiding business owners and citizens,” points out Gail Souter, president of the Toronto Taxi Alliance.
“We are not asking for any new laws or regulations. We are simply asking officials to enforce the laws which already exist on the books. City by-law officers are not enforcing the by-laws; Toronto police are not enforcing the Highway Traffic Act. This week in France, the government took action to ensure its laws are obeyed by everyone. Why is Toronto not doing this?”
“As taxpayers, we do not think it is too much to ask that all levels of government enforce the laws which already exist, and by which the taxi industry abides. Today, we are calling upon the City, the police and the Province to do one thing: enforce the law.”
Taxi industry members have example after example of laws not being enforced, which gives Uber, including UberX, a distinct competitive advantage over licensed taxis.
“Last week, while one of our drivers was being ticketed by a by-law officer because his tariff card was hung over the wrong seat, an UberX driver pulled in ahead of him, picked up a fare and took off. The by-law officer did nothing. What is going on in Toronto?” Souter asks.
There have been media reports, particularly by CityTV, that police have been directed not to enforce the Highway Traffic Act with regard to UberX, and this has been confirmed to several taxi industry members by their police officer contacts, who have asked not to be named for fear of retribution.
“Enforce the law!” says Sajid Moghul, head of iTaxi Workers. “Our members obey the law or face tickets, citations, and unemployment. How can Toronto pick and choose the laws it wishes to enforce, and enforce them only in one part of the industry while ignoring others? This is unfair, unethical, anti-democratic and incredibly damaging to Toronto’s taxi industry. John Tory and Mark Saunders we call upon you to enforce the law.”
If Toronto and Ontario want to re-write the laws regarding carrying paying passengers, they should do so in order that everyone can be clear on what is legal and what is not, Moghul points out. “In the meantime, enforce the law.”
The Insurance Bureau of Canada has a confidential Tip Line which you can call to report Uber drivers in Toronto.
If you see a car you know to be or believe to be an Uber car, call 1 877 422 8477 and provide the car's license number to IBC. The driver of that private car can face cancellation of their insurance policy by their insurance carrier.
You are not required to leave your name or contact information.
Insurance Bureau of Canada confidential tip line:
1 877 422 8477
Beck Taxi roles out technology to rival Uber - while obeying all of Toronto's by-laws:
Read all about how Beck Taxi complies with the taxi by-laws while at the same time keeping up with technology here
The issue of grandfathering the Standard Plate was addressed by Toronto Council on May 5th; however, on a motion by Mayor John Tory, the issue was deferred until after the Uber court case which will be heard on May 19th, 20th, and 21st.
Despite the fact that the Standard Plate issue and the Uber issue have no connection to each other, the majority of councillors voted to defer the issue. The date being suggested is "June;" however, it could be several months after that before the judge offers any decision.
Click here to see the Council Minutes on the Standard Plate agenda item, including the list of Councillors who voted for or against deferral of the item.
The following motion passed unanimously at the Licensing and Standard Committee meeting today and will now progress to Toronto City Council. You can read the meeting minutes here.
"City Council amend Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 545, Licensing, Article VIII, Owners and Drivers of Taxicabs, to permit the issuance of Standard taxicab owners' licences to qualified purchasers upon the sale or transfer of Standard taxicabs, retroactive to July 1, 2014.
2. The City Solicitor submit to City Council a bill containing all necessary by-law amendments to give effect to recommendation 1."
|Vote (Amend Item)||
On Thursday, April 16th, MPP John Fraser's private member's bill 53, "An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act to increase the penalty for transporting a passenger for compensation without a licence, permit or authorization" will receive 2nd Reading Debate in the provincial legislature at Queen's Park. The bill's short title is "The Protecting Passenger Safety Act 2014."
Designed to help combat bandit taxi businesses such as Uber, the bill, if passed, could result in the following penalties for bandit cab drivers:
- fines of up to $30,000;
- suspension of driver's license;
- impounding of vehicle;
- lien placed upon the business operation of the owner of the vehicle.
The full text of the bill is here:
Retired cab driver and WWII veteran Norm Cash spent the whole day at Toronto City Council on April 1st, waiting for Councillors to address the Standard Plate issue. The chamber was full of hundreds of drivers who waited all day for the item, to find out at 7:30 pm that it will be addressed at 2pm on April 2nd. You can see Norm's short video interview here.
Norm and his wife Phyllis have 6 kids and 16 grandchildren!
South Florida rules Uber and Lyft must be licensed as taxis:Read all about it here.
By: Betsy Powell City Hall Bureau, Published on Wed Feb 04 2015
While Uber Canada assures the public it aims to offer the safest ride on Toronto’s roads, the country’s insurance lobby fears the company might not provide adequate insurance protection.
“It’s like Santa Claus — you hope it exists but you’re kind of skeptical,” said Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer and industry relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
The insurance bureau’s concern revolves around personal and commercial insurance.
Licensed Toronto taxis need commercial insurance, a more comprehensive and costly form of coverage than the personal insurance carried by most drivers. The bureau says it’s unclear whether UberX drivers — those who use their own cars to pick up fare-paying customers for rides arranged through the company’s smart phone app — are required to have commercial insurance.
What Uber Canada will say is this: If an accident occurs during an UberX trip, Canadians can “rest assured” passengers, pedestrians and other motorists are “well covered” by commercial auto insurance in addition to any insurance coverage maintained by the driver, Uber Canada spokesman Xavier Van Chau wrote in email.
“We are confident our insurance model will provide coverage as it does in every jurisdiction where we operate.”
Van Chau’s email said Uber’s insurance policy is “proprietary” and therefore not public. He did not respond to the Star’s request to clarify if it is Uber’s policy that drivers have commercial insurance.
But he said every UberX ride is backed by $5 million of contingent auto liability insurance covering bodily injury and property damage.
The coverage is “far greater” than standard requirements for taxi and limo insurance in Canada and is underwritten by insurance company A.M. Best, he wrote.
Karageorgos said Uber’s response to questions about its insurance policies is filled with “holes.”
If indeed an UberX driver gets into an accident and does have a commercial insurance policy, “then there’s no problem, it’s like being in a regular cab. But if they’re operating their vehicle as a cab and it’s not insured the way it should be, then there’s likely going to be some challenges.”
Uber declined to say how many Torontonians are working for them. The company’s website invites drivers interested in earning extra cash to apply for an UberX position if they have a mid-size or full-size four-door vehicle, in excellent condition. Applicants must be “at least 21 years old and possess a personal license and personal auto insurance.” The website also stipulates Uber “does not provide transportation or logistics services or function as a transportation carrier.”
Toronto taxis are required to have commercial coverage and carry a minimum of $2 million in liability insurance. An owner or driver has 10 days to notify the city if there is any change to the policy.
The city cited inadequate insurance that “might not provide essential coverage to drivers, passengers and others in the event of accidents,” as one of the reasons it is seeking an injunction for Uber to stop its operations here. A court date is scheduled for May.
Karageorgos said the way things stand he would choose a licensed cab over an UberX vehicle.
“Because of how they’re regulated through the municipality, there are some checks and balances in place that make me feel more comfortable,” he says.
If an accident happens and the driver isn’t properly insured, “I can go after the taxi company or the municipality that oversees them so there are other steps I can pursue.”
As Uber spreads into Canada, it has hit other bumps in the road.
Two UberX drivers in Montreal had their cars impounded by police in recent weeks.
“They do have their cars now,” said Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, general manager of Uber Montreal. “We will always help our partners, financially, psychologically.”
Guillemette said the seizures came at the request of the Montreal Taxi Bureau, the city agency that oversees the taxi industry. He declined to say what fees or fines the drivers faced, referring calls to Montreal city officials.
“We have had tens of thousands of rides since we started operating in October 2014, and we have only had two cars seized. I don’t see it as a threat for drivers,” Guillemette said.
Calls to the city of Montreal were referred to the Montreal Taxi Bureau, which did not return calls.
Tammy Robbinson, a spokeswoman for the city of Toronto, said the city does not have the power to impound cars for licensing bylaw infractions.
In December, two MPPs introduced separate private member’s bills to revamp the Highway Traffic Act and stiffen penalties for those operating illegal taxis.
Liberal MPP John Fraser said he introduced the legislation due to an issue with illegal taxis in his hometown of Ottawa. His bill calls for tougher penalties including fines of up to $30,000, demerit points and vehicle impoundment after a second offence.
“This bill is not about Uber,” Fraser said, noting it happened to coincide with Uber’s arrival in Ottawa. “The message of the bill is that public safety is paramount.”
He added that new technology is a new reality. “If you are driving people for hire then there are certain rules that have to be followed,” Fraser added.
Some TTA members have contacted the TTA because they have received a request for funding of $1000 per plate to "Stop Uber Now."
This organization is NOT affiliated with the TTA. We do not know who is sending these requests, and the website domain http://www.stopubernow.com/ is not an active site.
The Toronto Taxi Alliance supports the injunction request by the City of Toronto to stop Uber, and the recent legislation brought forward by Ontario government MPP John Fraser.
The TTA is not part of "Stop Uber Now," and has not made any special request for funding from members in this regard.
Saying he wants to crack down on unlicensed taxis, Ottawa South MPP John Fraser introduced a bill Wednesday that would drastically toughen punishments for people caught driving “bandit” cabs.
Fraser’s bill would:
- Raise maximum fines from $500 per offence to $30,000
- Give three demerit points per offence (the same as driving the wrong way on a highway or running a stop sign)
- Allow authorities to suspend drivers’ licences and impound cars for second and subsequent offences
If it becomes law, the bill would give cities such as Ottawa tremendous power to drive out companies such as Uber, the rapidly expanding American operation that lets anybody sign up to drive passengers for money in a private car. Fraser co-ordinated his bill with Bay Coun. Mark Taylor, who has chaired the city council committee that regulates the taxi industry.
Taylor praised the bill and said he’ll ask the province for the power to appoint special constables (special officers with limited police powers, like those who patrol the transit system) to monitor the taxi industry.
Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod immediately complained that Fraser had stolen thunder from a similar bill she was planning to introduce on Thursday.
Uber says it’s a technology company, just mediating transactions between willing customers and freelance drivers. As far as the city is concerned, it’s an illegal taxi brokerage and its drivers are bandit cabbies. The city has run stings and charged Uber drivers since Uber started operating here in September, but it has limited power to punish them: a capital investment last summer valued Uber at $17 billion US, so a $500 fine wouldn’t be much to a company willing to spend some money to fight its way into a new market.
Despite the city’s efforts, Uber’s smartphone app showed half a dozen cars ready for passengers’ orders in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday afternoon.
A $30,000 fine and the power to suspend licences and seize cars would change the terms of engagement.
“Uber welcomes consideration of sensible regulations that seek to codify expanded transportation alternatives and ensure public safety,” Uber spokesman Xavier Van Chau said by email. “We are concerned, however, that this private member’s bill seeks to throttle innovation and wrongly group companies like Uber under this legislation.”
He also produced a letter, sent from Premier Kathleen Wynne to the City of Ottawa when she was transportation minister in 2011, saying the provincial government’s lawyers didn’t think impounding bandit taxicabs was constitutional.
Illegal taxis, which have operated more traditionally with business cards taped to pay phones in the ByWard Market and by word of mouth, can be popular. Proponents say they’re cheaper and more readily available and are driven by friendlier and more knowledgeable drivers than licensed cabs.
On the flip side, they don’t have guaranteed prices, their drivers won’t have passed the city’s background checks, and they’re not likely insured as commercial vehicles in case of crashes.
“This legislation is about protecting passenger safety, which is paramount,” Fraser said in a written announcement. “Stiffening penalties for driving illegal cabs provides municipalities with the enforcement tools they need to address the serious safety concerns surrounding illegal cabs.”
His is a private member’s bill, not legislation officially backed by the government, and these only sometimes become law. Often they get bogged down in committees (particularly if, as with Fraser’s and MacLeod’s separate bills, two pieces of legislation are trying to do the same thing) and never come to final votes.
Members of both iTaxiworkers and the Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) met on Friday, November 21st to discuss the City of Toronto’s requested injunction to prevent the Uber group of companies from acting as an unlicensed taxi service.
“Both the Toronto Taxi Alliance and iTaxiworkers support innovation and encourage new technologies which will improve service and the competitiveness of Toronto’s taxi industry,” says Gail Souter, President of the Toronto Taxi Alliance.
“Riders like taxi apps, which is why several Toronto taxi services including Beck, Diamond, Royal, Co-op and City have offered smart phone app hails for several years now. This is not new, or exclusive to Uber.”
At the November 21st meeting, members of the TTA and iTaxiworkers agreed that the City of Toronto has done the right thing in requesting an injunction against Uber.
“We commend Tracey Cook and Toronto’s Licensing and Standards office for taking this action. Our first concern is public safety,” says Sajid Mughal of iTaxiworkers. “Uber is telling riders that UberX cars are covered by commercial insurance, while insurance companies say this is absolutely not true.
“In a regulated Toronto taxi cab, the drivers are trained and licensed; their cars are inspected twice per year. Our drivers must observe the city-mandated tariff pricing at all times, while Uber is charging surge pricing at busy times.”
“Toronto’s taxi firms support innovation and competition; all we ask is a level playing field. Our members, who have been working and investing in good faith while following Toronto’s taxi regulations, want to see Uber working according to the same standards. This is safer for riders and only fair to drivers,” point out Souter.
In her November 18 injunction request, MLS Executive Director Tracey Cook states, “Under each of the UberX, UberXL, UberBlack, UberSUV, and UberTaxi service models, Uber is carrying on the business of a taxicab broker or limousine service company because it is accepting and processing requests for taxicab or limousine service from passengers, communicating the requests to drivers, and calculating and collecting fares for each rider. Uber has not, to date, applied for or received a taxi brokerage or limousine service company license that would potentially authorize it to carry on business in Toronto…
“UberX and UberXL charge fares that differ from the fares mandated by the City for taxicabs…from time to time, Uber also implements what it terms ‘surge pricing,’ ie, Uber increases the prices it charges for rides when it determines demand is higher…several Uber users have stated in the media that they were subject to surge pricing in Toronto on Hallowe’en night.”
The injunction request by Toronto’s Licensing and Standards department is set to be heard on May 19th, 2015.
The Toronto Taxi Alliance represents the vast majority of owners, drivers, brokerages, fleets, agents, and Ambassador permit holders in Toronto. The member brokerages of the TTA represent more than 4000 of the 4800 taxis on the road, with over 600 Ambassador drivers.
iTaxiworkers has been created to improve the rights and working conditions of Ontario Taxi workers. iTaxiworkers brings together many Drivers and Associations with the aim to unite the many voices in the taxi industry in order to reform this industry so that the drivers can make a decent living and come home safely to their families at the end of a shift.
For more information, contact:
Read Gord Perks' opinion piece in the Globe and Mai here.
Sam Moini, committee member of the TTA, appeared on CP24's "AutoShop" on November 23rd to discuss the industry's position on unregistered taxi company Uber.
Sam was an excellent spokesperson for the taxi industry; in fact, when the Uber spokesperson realized Sam had come to present the TTA position, he refused to appear on the show and left.
To see the interview, click here. Then click "Toronto Taxi Alliance weighs in on Uber" in the right hand sidebar.
The Toronto Taxi Alliance and the City of Toronto were in court for three days this week, November 17th, 18th and 19th.
A tremendous amount of information was presented to the judge. At the end of day November 19th, the judge announced he would reserve his decision in order to allow him time to consider the information.
This decision could come in a matter of days, or might take weeks.
As soon as the judge's decision is announced, TTA will report the information here.
Press Release from the City of Toronto:
November 18, 2014
City of Toronto files application for injunction against Uber Canada Inc.
Today, the City of Toronto filed a notice of application seeking a court injunction against Uber Canada Inc., and related companies Uber B.V. and Raiser Operations B.V., that provide the services UberTaxi, UberBlack, UberSUV, UberX and UberXL. The injunction requests that all Uber operations in Toronto cease.
The taxicab and limousine industries are regulated by the City to ensure protection of residents and visitors, and to ensure the health and safety of passengers and drivers. Uber has been operating in Toronto since 2012 without a proper licence.
The City is concerned that Uber's operations pose a serious risk to the public, including those who are signing on as drivers, for the following reasons:
- increased risk to passenger safety – no mechanical vehicle inspections, lack of driver training
- inadequate insurance that fails to meet the requirements of the Municipal Code and may not provide essential coverage to drivers, passengers and others in the event of accidents
- increased number of vehicles operating as taxicabs resulting in traffic congestion and a possible threat to the taxi industry, including the City's objective of increasing the number of on-demand accessible taxicabs available, mandated by the City of Toronto earlier this year
- unregulated fares resulting in price surging/gouging, and
- increased safety risk to the drivers due to lack of training and vehicle security equipment, normally governed by City bylaws.
The City of Toronto is asking that the court be expedient in hearing this application.
Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.
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Media contact: Tammy Robbinson, Strategic Communications, 416-338-3761, email@example.com
BACKGROUNDER from the City of Toronto:
November 18, 2014
A history of the City of Toronto and Uber
Uber has been operating in Toronto since 2012, initially by dispatching taxicab (UberTaxi) and limousine (UberBlack) drivers and vehicles that had been licensed by the City through the use of a smartphone "app".
Uber has not been operating in compliance with City of Toronto bylaws. City staff has had ongoing communication and meetings with Uber in an attempt to encourage the company to operate in compliance with the regulations, without success.
In September, 2014, Uber began operating a service -"UberX" that recruits drivers who do not hold City-issued taxicab or limousine drivers' licences, and who are operating unlicensed personal vehicles, to offer commercial private transportation services.
The City of Toronto is currently pursuing various legal means through the court system to address issues relating to Uber:
- Existing 36 bylaw charges related to not having the required licences
- Application for a court-ordered injunction that would require Uber to cease all operations in Toronto
- Existing 36 charges related to not having the required licences
- There are 36 charges dating back to 2012 against Uber:
- Accepting requests for taxis through UberTaxi without a brokerage licence
- Accepting requests for limousines without a limousine service company licence
- Quoting fares in contravention of the limousine bylaw through UberBlack
- The City and Uber will be at court on December 3, 2014 to set a trial date.
- Application for court injunction requiring Uber to cease all operations in Toronto
- On November 18, 2014, the City of Toronto filed a Notice of Application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, pursuant to Section 380 of the City of Toronto Act.
- This application is seeking an injunction against Uber requesting that Uber cease all Toronto operations.
Taxicab and limousine industries are regulated by the City to ensure consumer protection of residents and visitors and to ensure the health and safety of passengers and drivers.
The City of Toronto encourages innovation in all regulated industries, but at the same time, must maintain public safety and community standards for all who live, work and visit Toronto.
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Media contact: Tammy Robbinson, Strategic Communications, 416-338-3761, firstname.lastname@example.org
From the Toronto Star:
"City officials say a company offering a smartphone app to hail taxis and limousines in Toronto is operating illegally.
The city has charged Uber with 25 municipal licencing offences, including operation of an unlicensed taxi brokerage and unlicensed limo service, since they began operating in Toronto in late summer."
Nov. 6 2014
Dear Toronto taxi industry member,
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT NOW, MORE THAN EVER!
The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) is very pleased to write you today to let you know that our extensive pre-election political activities have achieved significant results. These volunteer activities, to help get selected incumbents/candidates elected, included attending fundraisers, canvassing, literature delivery, and phoning by dozens of active TTA members, and we thank all of these generous and hard-working people for giving their time.
While nothing is predictable in politics, we can report that several of the incumbent Councillors who care about our unfair situation under the new reform have been returned to office, and that a number of the new council candidates who support TTA’s position won their races.
WE HAVE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
This means that when Toronto’s new Council begins work in November for the 2015 term, the TTA may be successful in securing the support and the votes of enough Councillors to be able to save the Standard Plate. After winning our injunction at Ontario Court in June, and achieving success through our election activities, we are optimistic that we have the momentum required to be successful in the next phase of our work.
This phase includes our court hearing on November 17-19th, at which a judge will decide whether or not the City of Toronto’s actions in reforming the taxi industry were legal. We hope to win in court; but as our membership was told by several speakers at the August 19th public meeting: We have to realize the solution to this situation must be a political solution. Even if the judge rules Toronto broke its own procedural rules in bringing in these reforms, there is nothing to stop Council from re-introducing the motion, and doing it properly this time. Therefore, a legal solution is a temporary solution; the real solution must be through communications with Councillors, which will require an extensive government relations/communications campaign over the coming months.
UBER IS NEXT
On September 11, 2014 Uber launched a new version of its business called UberX. UberX is trying to kill off all members of the taxi industry by facilitating non-licensed drivers in non-licensed cars to operate as taxis in Toronto. Drivers, brokerages, plate owners, fleet operators and members of the riding public need to band together to stop this threat to the Toronto’s taxi industry. The TTA is planning a major defense of your right to earn a living. NOW more than ever, we need every Standard Taxicab owner and ambassador cab owner in Toronto to make their contribution of $1000 per plate immediately.
WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION
NOW more than ever, we need every Standard Taxicab owner in Toronto to make their contribution of $1000 per plate immediately.
The TTA continues to fund both the expensive Legal and the Government Relations battles on behalf of the industry – on behalf of YOU. To those who have already paid, we thank you for your faith in us and your support. You have enabled TTA to mount this fight. To those who have not contributed, we are asking you now to forward your contribution of $1000 per plate to the TTA as we enter into this crucially important phase. We can’t stop now and everyone needs to be part of the solution!
HELP US HELP YOU
Please send your cheque today to the Toronto Taxi Alliance:
1 Credit Union Drive
Or visit our website at www.torontotaxialliance.com to pay online and check for news updates.
December 3, 2014
Thanks to all of those who submitted their application to help with the work on the Toronto Taxi Alliance Committee. Now that the municipal election and our November court hearing is behind us, the TTA has turned its attention to the renewal of the Executive Committee, and will be in touch with applicants in the weeks ahead.
Thanks to all of those who submitted their application to help with the work on the Toronto Taxi Alliance Committee. Now that the municipal election and our November court hearing is behind us, the TTA has turned its attention to the renewal of the Executive Committee, and will be in touchith applicants in the weeks ahead.
Currently, there are some vacancies on TTA committees. If you would like to volunteer to serve on a committee, please complete the contact form below.
The TTA board will consider all applications this fall and contact qualified parties. Please note, this process will begin in November, AFTER the Toronto municipal elections are behind us. Many thanks to those of you who have already submitted your applications.
Before applying, please be advised:his is not a paid position. Everyone involved volunteers their time.It is grinding hard work, and often both tedious and thankless.eetings are generally held in the evening, and run 3-4 hours each.ometimes, you get pizza. But not all the time.
The August 19th Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) meeting was well attended by industry members looking for an update on the TTA “Motion to Quash” hearing which is scheduled for November 17-19th 2014.
About 400 members attended the event, held at the Montecassino Banquet Hall.
Maureen Taylor, one of the Taxi Widows representing hundreds of widows impacted by Toronto’s decision to move to one Toronto Taxi License, was a guest speaker on the program, which received coverage on Global-TV.
TTA legal counsel Harvey Spiegel, Q.C., provided two important updates on the litigation and governance matters.
On the TTA’s lawsuit against the City, Mr. Spiegel told the group that the TTA is pleased to have obtained an injunction on June 25th. He expressed confidence in the position being advance by the TTA on the Application to Quash. However he cautioned that it is impossible to predict the outcome of any legal case and that ultimate victory will have to be achieved in the political arena.
“The solution to this issue must be a political solution,” Mr. Spiegel reminded attendees. “Even if we win in November, there is nothing to stop the new Council from re-introducing these by-laws, using correct procedure this time. It is most important that the new Council understand the implications of these by-laws, and be convinced they are not in Toronto’s best interests. It is important for everyone here to be involved in the political process during this election year.”
On the Governance file, Mr. Spiegel reported that the Toronto Taxi Alliance has updated its own by-laws and filed all required documentation to conduct business as a not-for-profit corporation under the laws of the Province of Ontario.
TTA president and chief spokesman Jim Bell of Diamond Taxi took the occasion to announce his resignation, as he is leaving Toronto to move to Victoria, British Columbia, to be closer to family members.
“I fully support the TTA and the work it is doing, and will be available to offer help and advice in any capacity desired,” Bell noted. He received an enthusiastic round of applause in thanks from the audience.
Bell also reminded attendees that there is room for more volunteers on various TTA committees and encouraged interested people to fill in and submit application forms which were provided at the meeting.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Taxi Widows Devastated By New Toronto Taxi By-law To speak At August 19th Meeting Of Toronto Taxi Alliance
(TORONTO, Ontario – August 19th, 2014) – Widows of taxi drivers who have been devastated by Toronto’s proposed new taxi by-law will be special guest speakers at the August 19th meeting of the Toronto Taxi Alliance.
“These changes will destroy the lifetime investment of hundreds of cab drivers and their families and will hurt vulnerable people,” said Judi Barr, the wife of 35-year veteran Standard Taxicab owner/driver Joel Barr.
“For so many of us, the Standard Taxicab is our pension plan. For others, it’s how they support themselves and their loved ones.”
“The Standard Taxicab is how I support my four children. We are still struggling after my husband’s death and to have this taken away from us would be devastating. I don’t know how we will survive,” said Nusrat Raana, whose husband Mahmood Bhatti, was murdered behind the wheel of his cab in 2006.
After three years of negotiations with the taxi industry, Toronto City Council ignored the recommendations of its own Licensing and Standards Committee and passed motions in February to overhaul the taxi licensing regime. The changes to the Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 545 were approved by Council on June 13 and were scheduled to come into effect on July 1, 2014.
However, the widows who are members of the Toronto Taxi Alliance were successful in obtaining an injunction to stop the City of Toronto from imposing sections of a new taxi licensing regime scheduled to become effective July 1, 2014.
On August 19th, the Toronto Taxi Alliance will hold an information update meeting at the Montecassino Banquet Hall, 3710 Chesswood Drive in Downsview to update concerned taxi owners and industry members on actions taken since the June 25th injunction decision and work planned in advance of the November court hearing.
The program will begin at 7pm and will include remarks from two Taxi Widows who will speak on the impact this decision will have on family members who rely on the income generated by their taxi plate in order to survive.
The Honourable Justice D.G. Stinson of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued an injunction against the City from acting upon or implementing those sections of the new by-law that prevented the purchase of a Standard Taxicab from an owner of a Standard Taxicab Licence (STL) or the estate of a deceased STL owner after June 30, 2014.
However, the court also ordered that if the by-law is upheld by the court on the hearing of the Application to Quash, then those persons who acquired an STL after June 30, 2014, would not have any right to claim that they should be treated as if they had been an STL holder on or before July 1, 2014.
“We are very pleased with this decision. We feel our concerns have been validated by Ontario Superior Court, and we look forward to having the opportunity to present our full argument in the Motion to Quash which will be heard in November,” said Joel Barr, a Standard Taxicab owner.
“The City of Toronto attempted to move with unprecedented haste and lack of concern on this matter. These changes will destroy the lifetime investment of hundreds of cab drivers and their families and will hurt vulnerable people,” Barr said.
“For almost 50 years, Toronto has assured the taxi industry that purchasing and operating a Standard Taxicab was an investment in a business which would help provide income as well as a retirement nest egg. The taxi industry has held up its part of the bargain, and helped Toronto build one of the best taxicab services in the world. Now, Toronto wants to renege on the deal it made, to the severe detriment of elderly drivers, their widows and their families.”
Among other changes, the new regime would replace the Standard Taxicab with a Toronto Taxicab License (TTL). TTL owners must operate the cab themselves and cannot lease them out and generate income the way Standard Taxicab owners can under the current rules. Further, the restrictions and conditions associated with the TTL would severely dilute the value of the Standard Taxicab.
The application to quash is scheduled to be heard on November 17th – 19th, 2014.
About the Toronto Taxi Alliance
The Toronto Taxi Alliance represents the vast majority of owners, drivers, brokerages, fleets, agents, and Ambassador permit holders. The member brokerages of the TTA represent more than 4,000 of the 4,800 taxis on the road.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORONTO TAXI WIDOWS WIN INJUNCTION AGAINST CITY HALL:
TORONTO MUST DELAY CHANGES UNTIL FALL COURT HEARING
(TORONTO, Ontario – June 26, 2014) – A group of taxi widows were successful in convincing a judge to grant an injunction to stop the City of Toronto from imposing sections of a new taxi licensing regime scheduled to become effective July 1, 2014.
The Honourable Justice D.G. Stinson of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued an injunction against the City from acting upon or implementing those sections of the new by-law that prevented a purchaser of a Standard Taxicab or the estate of a deceased Standard Taxicab owner from being issued a Standard Taxi License (STL) after June 30, 2014.
The Toronto Taxi Alliance filed the motion for the injunction on behalf of the taxi widows and all standard plate owners. The Toronto Taxi Alliance has applied to Ontario Superior Court to have the motions passed by Council on February 19th quashed. The hearing date is set for fall, 2014.
Arguments on the injunction were heard in Ontario Superior Court at 361 University Avenue on June 25. The decision was released at about 6pm.
When told of the news the taxi widows and other standard plate owners were elated.
“We are very pleased with this decision. We feel our concerns have been validated by Ontario Superior Court, and we look forward to having the opportunity to present our full argument in the Application to Quash,” said Joel Barr, a Standard Taxicab owner and member of the Toronto Taxi Alliance.
“The Court has recognized that there will be irreparable harm to standard plate owners if the operation of the by-law was not suspended until the court determined the validity of the by-law on the Application to Quash.”
The court also ordered that if the by-law is upheld on the hearing of the Application to Quash, then those persons who acquired an STL after June 30, 2014, would not have any right to claim that they should be treated as if they had been an STL holder on or before July 1, 2014.
“The City’s proposed changes would destroy the lifetime investment of hundreds of cab drivers and their families and will hurt vulnerable people,” Barr said.
“For almost 50 years, Toronto has assured the taxi industry that investing in a Standard Plate was an investment in a business which would help provide income and a retirement nest egg. The taxi industry has held up its part of the bargain, and helped Toronto build one of the best taxicab services in the world. Now, Toronto wants to renege on the deal to the severe detriment of elderly drivers, their widows and their families,” Barr said.
After three years of negotiations with the taxi industry, Toronto City Council ignored the recommendations of its own Licensing and Standards Committee and passed motions on February 19th to overhaul the taxi licensing regime. The changes to the Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 545 were approved by Council on June 13 and were scheduled to come into effect on July 1.
Among other changes, the new regime would replace the Standard taxi plate with a Toronto Taxicab License (TTL). TTL owners must operate the cab themselves and cannot lease them out and generate income the way Standard plate owners can under the current rules. All TTL license will require the owner to purchase and operate a wheel-chair accessible vehicle. Further, the restrictions and conditions associated with the TTL would severely dilute the value of the Standard taxi plate.
Here is a DRAFT document resulting from the injunction hearing today. Final version to follow; the gist of the decision is here but the language may change slightly.
Toronto Taxi Alliance
About the Toronto Taxi Alliance
The Toronto Taxi Alliance represents the vast majority of Standard Taxicab owners, brokerages, fleets, agents, and many Ambassador permit holders. The member brokerages of the TTA represent more than 4,000 of the 4,800 taxis on the road.
By Jessica Smith Cross
June 24, 2014
Updated: June 24, 2014 | 5:49 pm
Toronto ‘taxi widows’ denounce city’s overhaul of taxi industry
A group of women known as “taxi widows” spoke at a press conference Tuesday denouncing city council’s overhaul of the taxi industry.
“The first thing I have to say is this is the most embarrassing, humiliating thing to have to go through, to put your problems out in public,” said Doris Kostyck.
Kostyck, 83, was among a small group of women assembled by the taxi industry group called the Toronto Taxicab Alliance to tell their own stories about how the changes will affect them.
Kostyck’s story was typical of the taxi widows. Her husband Leo was a driver for 40 years.
“He got knifed, he got robbed, all the things that cab drivers do,” she said.
He passed away 23 years ago and she has been living off the leasing income from the two plates.
Under the rules approved by city council that take effect in July, she will be able to continue to lease the plates for the next 10 years but then must sell to someone who will drive the taxis — not lease them as she does now.
“I’m in a dire straight and don’t know which way to turn,” she said. “And I have Parkinson’s disease to look forward to.”
Leasing plates is typically more lucrative than selling them outright and, according to the industry group, the uncertainty surrounding the changes to the system have made the value of the plates — often sold for more than $300,000 before the changes — fall significantly.
The highest sale price since the reforms were passed in February was $232,000. Most of the 60 sales since then have been for less than $200,000. The average of plates sold (for more than a nominal amount, which indicates a transfer between family members), fell from about $250,000 in 2012 to $134,000 since the council decision.
The group has filed a lawsuit that seeks to stop the changes, arguing that council’s decision violated procedure, and will be in court Wednesday arguing for an injunction to stop the city from proceeding while the suit moves through the courts.
Kostyck disputed the stereotype, talked of by city councillors and staff at the meeting when the decision was made, of the absentee plate owner as owning many plates and living off the leasing income while sipping drinks in Florida.
“I have a son living down there,” she said. “They all threw in for my flight and health insurance and I went down to visit at Christmas.”
Just how representative the widows are of plate owners, and exactly who owns multiple plates, is unclear. City records show that 56 companies have five or more licences, 14 have 10 or more. The top two companies have 18 plates each.
However, dozens of numbered companies own plates, so who controls the companies — and the true concentration of plates — is not publicly known.
The councillors who voted for the industry reforms did so mainly to improve the lives of shift drivers, who rent time in taxis and have long complained about working long hours that often leave them coming home with less than the equivalent of minimum wage.
By transitioning to a system where the owner of the taxi plate must drive the taxi, the reforms are intended to cut out the middlemen and leave more money for drivers.
Plates cannot be willed
One woman was in a different situation than the others. Gail Bouchard’s sister, Beverly Chilton, was a taxi widow and passed away recently. Bouchard is the executive of her sister’s will and responsible for the financial well being of her sister’s intellectually disabled adult son.
Under the city’s rules, plates can’t be willed, so she has one year to sell her sister’s two plates to provide for her nephew. Where she may have gotten a total of $600-700,000 for the pair plates if she’d sold them a year ago, she believes she’ll get significantly less if she tries today.
Bouchard said the uncertainty about the changes has made the plates hard to sell and the lawsuit has made that worse.
“The price of the cabs has dropped dramatically,” she said. “… no one who wants to buy them because of the bylaws changing.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW LAWS THREATEN WIDOWS’ FINANCIAL SECURITY
(TORONTO, Ontario – June 24, 2014) – Owners of Standard taxi plates today announced that they are seeking an injunction to stop the City of Toronto from imposing a new taxi licensing regime, which will come into effect on July 1.
Arguments on the injunction are scheduled to be heard in Ontario Superior Court at 361 University Avenue on June 25.
“These changes will destroy the lifetime investment of hundreds of cab drivers and their families and will hurt vulnerable people,” said Judi Barr, the wife of a Standard taxi plate owner/driver for 35 years.
“For so many of us, the Standard taxi plate is our pension plan. For others, it’s how they support themselves and their loved ones.”
On hand to announce the legal action were a number of widows and dependents of lifelong cab drivers who rely on the income from the Standard taxi plates to survive.
“My late husband Leo drove a cab for 40 years. He saved up so he could buy his two Standard taxi plates and he always said the plates would look after us in our old age. Leo’s been gone for 23 years and I count on those plates to keep me in my home. I don’t know what I’ll do if these new rules take effect,” said 83-year-old Doris Kostyk.
View video here.
“The Standard taxi plate is how I support my four children. We are still struggling after my husband’s death and to have this taken away from us would be devastating. I don’t know how we will survive,” said Nusrat Raana, whose husband Mahmood Bhatti was murdered behind the wheel of his cab in 2006.
View video here.
After three years of negotiations with the taxi industry, Toronto City Council ignored the recommendations of its own Licensing and Standards Committee and passed motions in February to overhaul the taxi licensing regime. The changes to the Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 545 were approved by Council on June 13 and are scheduled to come into effect on July 1.
Among other changes, the new regime would replace the Standard taxi plate with a Toronto Taxicab License (TTL). TTL owners must operate the cab themselves and cannot lease them out and generate income the way Standard plate owners can under the current rules. Further, the restrictions and conditions associated with the TTL will severely dilute the value of the Standard taxi plate.
Toronto Taxi Alliance
About the Toronto Taxi Alliance
The Toronto Taxi Alliance represents the vast majority of owners, drivers, brokerages, fleets, agents, and Ambassador permit holders. The member brokerages of the TTA represent more than 4,000 of the 4,800 taxis on the road.
FACING POVERTY, TAXI WIDOWS TO DISCUSS NEXT MOVE
TORONTO, ON (June 23, 2014) – Owners of Standard taxi plates, including several widows of lifelong taxi drivers, will announce a significant step in their effort to halt Toronto City Council’s changes to taxi laws, which are scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2014.
These women, and many more like them, will face severe financial hardship if and when Council’s new taxi regime comes into force.
When: Tuesday June 24th, 10:00am
About the Toronto Taxi Alliance
The Toronto Taxi Alliance represents the vast majority of owners, drivers, brokerages, fleets, agents, and Ambassador permit holders. The member brokerages of the TTA represent more than 4,000 of the 4,800 taxis on the road.
On Friday, June 13th, Toronto Council voted to pass the Bills implementing the motions to radically amend the Taxi Bylaw moved on February 19th, 2014, in flagrant disregard of Council’s own procedural rules. The Bills provide for the amendments to come into effect on July 1, 2014.
The Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) has acted quickly in response to City Council’s actions.
On Monday, June 16th, the TTA filed a motion for an injunction to prevent the City from implementing the amendments until the TTA’s pending application to quash the new by-laws is decide by the court. The application is scheduled to be heard on November 17, 18 or 19th. The Injunction motion is scheduled for hearing on June 25, 2014.
The material filed by the TTA in support of the injunction can be found here
The City of Toronto has until June 21 to file its materials.
The court’s decision on the injunction will be reported here as soon as it becomes available.
The text of e new by-laws is available here:
Toronto Taxi Alliance
Executive members of the Toronto Taxi Alliance have been very active since the April 23rd public meeting at the Montecassino Banquet Hall.
Subcommittees have been struck covering the following work areas:
- Government Relations
- Internal Communications and Contributions
- External Communications/Public Relations
All of the subcommittees have met and are at work on specific projects in order to advance the TTA’s main objective, which is to protect the rights of the Standard Taxicab Licence holders in Toronto. All subcommittees report at the bi-weekly Executive meeting of the TTA.
The Legal subcommittee has been very active. On April 22, 2014 we filed an Application in the Ontario Superior Court to Quash that the resolutions passed by Toronto City Council on February 19th 2014 dealing with the creation an implementation of the Toronto Taxi Licence (TTL).
The text of the bylaw amendments have not yet come before Council for adoption. The City has stated that this will take place at the Council meeting on June 10-11. Our Legal team is now at work on actions to be taken in the event that the by-law is adopted by Council before the Application to Quash can be heard.
In April, the TTA issued a request for proposals (RFP) to government relations firms interested in providing advice and services to the Toronto Taxi Alliance. Four firms submitted proposals.
After evaluation and discussion, the TTA voted to hire the Sussex Strategy Group and Rob Davis and Associates to provide advice and guidance to the TTA in the area of government relations in this important election year.
Internal Communications and Contributions
The Toronto Taxi Alliance website is being updated regularly and will soon offer instant online payment through PayPal.
The TTA has requested that every Plate owner contribute $1000 per plate to fund our legal and communications campaign.
External Communications/Public Relations
During spring of 2014, public relations and media activities were minimized as the TTA did not wish to jeopardize legal and government relations activities. This is expected to change in the weeks ahead.
An audited Financial Statement is being prepared for presentation at the next Annual General Meeting of the Toronto Taxi Alliance, which is being planned for summer 2014.
The Toronto Taxi Alliance Inc. is a corporation without share capital pursuant to the laws of the Province of Ontario. The Governance committee is reviewing its legal and corporate structure and will be making recommendations to the Board respecting the adoption of an updated governance model.
The updated governance model as adopted by the Board will be placed before the membership for confirmation at the Annual General Meeting, which will include elections of Board members.
This editorial appeared in the May edition of the TaxiNews and is worth sharing.
We at Taxi News completely support the position taken by the Toronto Taxi Alliance in its now open legal fight with the City of Toronto.
Our reading and no one has said this outright to our knowledge of the ultimate goal of the TTA in this action against the City is to try to establish once and for all a secure financial foundation for the industry and ALL of its participants, from the biggest plate owners (and there aren’t that many any more) to the thousands of shift drivers struggling to make some semblance of a living for themselves and their families.
The TTA represents owners, fleet operators and brokerages. But make no mistake, if it wins in court, simple cab drivers are going to be hugely better off as well. If this by-law stands, everyday cab drivers are going to make even less than the pittance they take home now. That is because the costs to operate a taxi are going to skyrocket while street competition is going to balloon. Drivers: if you think you’ve got it bad now, just wait until these “reforms” kick in. You’re screwed. Your licensing fees next year are already going through the roof, again.
What happened on February 19th at the City Council meeting was unconscionable. Motions were flying fast and furious, reflecting the utterly ill-considered random thoughts of councillors who had not done one iota of homework or research into the deep, Council-created problems of an entire billion-dollar industry employing, conservatively, directly and indirectly, some 25,000 people in this city.
An entire industry has been thrown into chaos by our utterly thoughtless City Council passing brutally unfair and destructive laws that effectively wipe out lifetimes of work and struggle and sacrifice by people who have served this city too long and too well to be treated like dirt.
While all agree the disabled need better taxi service, for the fleet to be 100 percent wheelchair accessible, replacing fuel efficient gasoline-powered Camry’s and the like with huge, gas guzzling, expensive, high-maintenance, high insurance-cost vans is purely and simply brain-dead.
The TTA wants the courts to quash the odious taxi reform by-law on procedural grounds, alleging that Council did not follow its own rules in proposing and enacting various amendments.
The hardships Council’s actions have directly caused are starting already. In recent Toronto Licensing Tribunal cases, some of those hardships have already been aired. We hope councillors are ever so proud to be forcing a 90-year old widow, now in hospital, to sell at a huge loss the two plates she and her husband worked 50-plus years in the business to get, and lose the $2,500 a month pension from leasing them out. (Do you think she drinks champagne and slurps oysters in Florida on that income, as some on Council would have you believe?)
Thankfully in this particular case a sympathetic TLT gave her a little more breathing space, but her new deadline to sell is the end of August and then, what? Welfare?
There are far more than this one victim out there watching a lifetime of work and their financial security go up in smoke because a bunch of know-nothing and could care less City councillors decided they and their loved ones are utterly disposable.
To quote Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong in another context: “One is too many.”
The TTA is right to say the real battle is not in a courtroom. It is political. It is up to individual members of the industry to talk to their own councillors and as many as they can in other wards to get their message across. Numbers count.
Time is short and it is your financial future at stake. We can only urge you to get seriously involved politically. It is not going to be easy. It might be expensive in time and effort. But the cost of doing nothing is far, far worse.
You may remember me as one of your constituents in Cedarvale. In fact you have been to my house, although perhaps too many years ago for you to remember our lovely farewell BBQ for one of our socially active neighbors.
The reason I am reaching out to you today is because I am outraged at the treatment that the Taxi Industry has been subjected to by MLS and those City Councilors who want to make fundamental changes that affect the lives of so many people.
This is not new, but what is new is the arbitrary, illegal manner in which certain Councilors are wanting to ram through the changes they have dreamed up without consideration of the real life ramifications this will have on the lives of hardworking Standard Plate owners who have invested in the industry, given people the means to make a living and provided Toronto with a vital service. These intrepid entrepreneurs have no pension plans to support them in their old age – the Standard Plate is the legacy they leave for their widows who in many cases have no other means with which to support themselves.
As a Standard Plate owner, I’m not sure I understand why we are targeted in this malicious way. It seems simply to be the whim of some City Councilors to make their mark. But this mark would be a black mark on the industry and on City Council as well for the inconsiderate, shabby treatment of their citizens.
Joe, I know you to be a decent dedicated public servant and I ask you now to please stand up for me, as I have stood for you with my vote for the past 20 years or so. Don’t let a few arrogant bureaucrats destroy our livelihoods.
SAVE THE STANDARD PLATE!
Thanks for your attention and for your intervention.
Contact your Councillors
(May 5) – Toronto, Ontario – “Toronto City Council had no legal authority to open and propose motions to the Taxi Industry Reform staff report as it did on February 19th, 2014,” said Jim Bell, spokesperson for the Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA).
“Every member of Toronto’s taxi industry would rather be serving customers than taking action against the City, and regrets that this is the completely unnecessary result of three years of review undertaken in good faith,” Bell said today.
The TTA filed a Notice of Application on April 23rd with Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice based upon the grounds that Toronto City Council is in breach of statutory and common-law duties of procedural fairness, natural justice and good faith.
“Under Council’s own procedural rules, all motions without notice must be in writing in a form the Clerk approves and be signed by the Councillor making the motion,” Bell noted. “The irresponsible free-for-all which took place on February 19th, during which Councillors proposed several motions which were nowhere in the staff report, was a travesty.”
“Councillors McMahon, Minnan-Wong and Davis had no legal authority to propose the motions they did on February 19th.”
According to the TTA’s Notice of Application to Superior Court, “Not only were…motions procedurally improper and unfair in the manner in which they were passed but they were clearly contrary to the considered recommendations both of the committee and of the staff. The setting of crucially important dates for the implementation of the TTL regime were plucked out of the air andwere based on nothing more than the whim of Council.”
Despite three years of consultation in which the industry participated in good faith, and a January Licensing and Standards meeting which resulted in a compromise which was acceptable to everyone, City Councillors illegally proposed numerous arbitrary and impossible motions to the detriment of both the taxi industry and the taxi using public.
“These proposed motions will put drivers out of work, reduce service, increase fares, and destroy the lifetime investment of 2400 Standard taxi licence owners and their families,” Bell said. “The entire taxi industry and the taxi riding public will all suffer greatly if these illegal, arbitrary motions are allowed to stand.”
"Given the potential for the TTA’s success in court, we are strongly urging Council to delay implementation until the courts have decided on our case. Harm will be done to plate owners who convert to TTL if the TTL provisions are struck down. Any TTL plate holders may have no legal standing and be unable to provide taxi service in Toronto."
“Just as Toronto is working to repair its international reputation among business investors, it sends a loud, clear signal to business people everywhere - Don’t invest in Toronto. City Council can and will backtrack on commitments to business owners.”
This gallery contains 4 photos.
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Starting July 1, 2014, on a sale or transfer of a Standard Taxicab License (STL):
The transferee/purchaser will be issued a Toronto Taxicab License (TTL) and all STLs must be converted to a TTL by January 1, 2024
- A TTL owner may only hold one TTL, and may not hold any other taxicab owners license.
- A TTL owner must own, insure and maintain his or her licensed taxicab which must be a wheelchair accessible vehicle
- A TTL owner must drive his or her taxicab for a minimum of 132 hours within one calendar month i.e. 11,12 hour shifts in a month
- A TTL owner may rent his or her taxicab, on a shift basis only, to a maximum of three licensed drivers who have passed the city of Toronto approved course.
- A TTL a owner may sell his her taxicab and its equipment after meeting the minimum driving requirement for two consecutive years and the City of Toronto shall reissue the TTL in the name of the purchaser.
To understand the effect this has had on the value of your plate, on March 27, 2014, a sale was filed with Licensing Services at $70,000. If the sale is approved before July 1, 2014 the purchaser will be entitled to be issued a STL. Just think what will happen after July 1, 2014!!
Congratulations to Centennial College and Beck Taxi on making an effective new taxi driver training program available to Toronto drivers. This training is available to any taxi driver, from any brokerage, who wants to invest in better service and higher incomes:
Gifted writer (and cab driver) Hans Weinhold has some very interesting observations on the impact of government decisions around Uber.
Attention all drivers:
Please be aware that the taxi stand on the south corner of Yonge & Eglinton has been temporarily closed and the taxi stand is now on the north corner.
Metrolinx has covered the "taxi stand" signs. Please move to the north corner.
Details can be found here:
If you have not seen this Tangerine spot, please watch it and enjoy. One of the most respectful, complimentary depictions of a cab driver we have seen in some time:
In a meeting with Taxi industry members on September 30, Groundside Operations Manager Mike Antle explained that water main construction on Bathurst south of Queen's Quay to to Billy Bishop Airport entrance was delayed almost a month so that instead of being almost complete, it is just beginning.
He shared with us the Operations Memo below which explains where the disruptions will occur; the only thing changed is the dates, which would now begin either September 30 or shortly after.
Please take this into consideration as you make your way to Billy Bishop
To: All Airport Tenants and Stakeholders
From: Michael Antle, Manager – Airport Groundside Operations
Subject: City Water Main Installation – DATE CHANGE
The City of Toronto will begin installation of a new water main on September 11th. All work has been coordinated to be done overnight from 10pm to 6am. The work is part of an upgrade to the City water and we have been working with the City to minimize as much impact to airport operations as possible.
The work plan is anticipated to span over a two month period and will begin as follows;
First week will see small sections in the south end of Eireann Quay closed for installation of water chambers.
Each section will be coordinated to ensure traffic will continue to flow to and from the, ferry, the drop off area and the taxi queue.
The following week will see work move to the finger lot and involves excavation and installation of the force main pipe.
While the finger lot will is closed overnight vehicles destined for the ferry will need to travel down Eireann Quay for access.
Vehicles will be staged in the access lane to the ferry next to the Stolport booth.
In addition the sidewalk next to the finger lot will be closed. All pedestrian must use the sidewalk on the east side of Eireann Quay.
As work progresses north there will eventually be a closure of the Bathurst St. south bound lane. This work is also overnight and signage will be in place to direct vehicles to alternate routes.
As mentioned we have been in talks with the City of Toronto to ensure we can minimize impact to our operation and ensure we continue to have access during the work. Such coordination includes;
Request for Paid Duty Officers to be present,
Work to be completed overnight,
Movement of work from Eireann Quay to the finger lot to avoid a full closure of this street,
All work areas will be covered with steel plating until the pavement has been restored.
Continuation of water supply during work. The City has confirmed we have a dual feed and will not lose water at any time.
Staging of materials and equipment on site to minimize set-up time each night.
Should you have any questions or concerns please contact the Duty Manager office, 416 203- 6942 X 17.
The TOtaxifeedback@gmail.com email program has been developed to allow riders and residents in Toronto provide compliments or complaints regarding taxi drivers to ONE central address.
Licensed taxicabs in Toronto are not allowed to refuse a fare because the distance is too short, the customer wants to use a credit card, or other reasons except a direct threat to personal safety or a request at the time of shift change when they are required to take the cab back to the garage (usually around 4 to 5pm).
If you have provided us with the CAB NUMBER and taxi company name of the taxi we will forward your message immediately to the appropriate brokerage, and their Customer Service representative will discuss appropriate action with the driver. The Customer Service representative may be in touch with you directly through your email address.
The cab number is located on both passenger doors and the rear bumper of the taxi and can be 1 to 5 digits, 15 centimetres high. It is also displayed on the tariff card which is hung over the passenger seat. We encourage you to snap a photo of the number and send it to us.
If you do not know the taxi company name but remember the colours of the taxi and the cab number, we may still be able to locate the car and driver. In Toronto:
- Orange and green cars are Beck Taxi
- Red and yellow cars are Co-op Cabs
- Yellow and blue checkerboard cars are Crown Taxi
- Black and orange cars are Diamond Taxi.
- Light blue and red cars are Maple Leaf Taxi
- Able Atlantic, Best Choice, City, Royal, Imperial, Crown, and Bee Line cars may be a variety of colours.