The Fight Is On

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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.

A standard Plate owner’s letter to Councillor Joe Mihevc

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Dear Joe,

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.

Sincerely yours,

Susan Hoffman

Contact your Councillors

Rob Ford, Mayor    
Ainslie, Paul
Councillor office
Ward 43 Scarborough East
Fletcher, Paula
Councillor office
Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth
Minnan-Wong, Denzil
Councillor office
Ward 34 Don Valley East
Augimeri, Maria
Councillor office
Ward 9 York Centre
Ford, Doug
Councillor office
Ward 2 Etobicoke North
Moeser, Ron
Councillor office
Ward 44 Scarborough East
Bailão, Ana
Councillor office
Ward 18 Davenport
Fragedakis, Mary
Councillor office
Ward 29 Toronto-Danforth
Nunziata, Frances
Councillor office
Ward 11 York South-Weston
Berardinetti, Michelle
Councillor office
Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest
Grimes, Mark
Councillor office
Ward 6 Etobicoke-Lakeshore
Palacio, Cesar
Councillor office
Ward 17 Davenport
Carroll, Shelley
Councillor office
Ward 33 Don Valley East
Kelly, Norm
Councillor office
Deputy Mayor
Ward 40 Scarborough Agincourt
Parker, John
Councillor office
Ward 26 Don Valley West
Cho, Raymond
Councillor office
Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River
Layton, Mike
Councillor office
Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina
Pasternak, James
Councillor office
Ward 10 York Centre
Colle, Josh
Councillor office
Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence
Lee, Chin
Councillor office
Ward 41 Scarborough-Rouge River
Perks, Gord
Councillor office
Ward 14 Parkdale-High Park
Crawford, Gary
Councillor office
Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest
Leon, Peter
Councillor office
Ward 3 Etobicoke Centre
Perruzza, Anthony
Councillor office
Ward 8 York West
Crisanti, Vincent
Councillor office
Ward 1 Etobicoke North
Lindsay Luby, Gloria
Councillor office
Ward 4 Etobicoke Centre
Robinson, Jaye
Councillor office
Ward 25 Don Valley West
Davis, Janet
Councillor office
Ward 31 Beaches-East York
Mammoliti, Giorgio
Councillor office
Ward 7 York West
Shiner, David
Councillor office
Ward 24 Willowdale
De Baeremaeker, Glenn
Councillor office
Ward 38 Scarborough-Centre
Matlow, Josh
Councillor office
Ward 22 St. Paul's
Stintz, Karen
Councillor office
Ward 16 Eglinton-Lawrence
Del Grande, Mike
Councillor office
Ward 39 Scarborough-Agincourt
McConnell, Pam
Councillor office
Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale
Thompson, Michael
Councillor office

Ward 37 Scarborough Centre
Di Giorgio, Frank
Councillor office

Ward 12 York South-Weston
McMahon, Mary-Margaret
Councillor office
Ward 32 Beaches-East York
Vaughan, Adam
Councillor office
Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina
Doucette, Sarah
Councillor office
Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park
Mihevc, Joe
Councillor office
Ward 21 St. Paul's
Wong-Tam, Kristyn
Councillor office
Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale
Filion, John
Councillor office
Ward 23 Willowdale
Milczyn, Peter
Councillor office
Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore
 
     

 

 
 
 
 
 

Toronto Council in flagrant violation of its own procedural rules; Taxi industry takes legal action

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(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.”

 

 

 

 

Speakers’ Corner

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