March 1, 2016 (Toronto) – Uber has informed its drivers that it will suspend service in Edmonton until insurance becomes available sometime next summer. Meanwhile, it continues to operate in Toronto, where the Mayor and Council asked it to cease last September.
In light of the Edmonton decision and Uber’s willingness to break the law, the Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) is reminding Council and staff that simply making an insurance product available does not mean any Uber drivers will actually purchase it.
As the Toronto Taxi Alliance (TTA) and the Canadian Taxi Association noted in a letter to Aviva Canada in January after that company announced a special new product for Uber:
“We are very concerned that an Aviva announcement that ‘an approved product exists and is available for purchase’ will be misconstrued by politicians to mean ‘20,000 illegal UberX drivers are now insured,” wrote TTA President Gail Souter.
“The fact that a product is available does not mean that thousands of UberX drivers are going to announce that they are picking up paying passengers, and purchase insurance with the new endorsement.
“More likely, they will continue to do what they are doing now: carry only a personal policy and refrain from notifying their insurance company they are carrying passengers for compensation. Release of information on the actual number of endorsements purchased will give politicians more accurate information on which to base their debates and decisions.”
Because of the confusion being caused by the fact that a product is available although not necessarily being purchased, the TTA is calling upon the City of Toronto to take action by requiring:
- That any insurer selling ride-hailing coverage report to the City how many of these policies have actually been sold in the GTA on a quarterly basis; and,
- That drivers carrying any ride-hailing insurance product be required to present their certificate of insurance for verification by the City of Toronto, as every taxi driver already does. Further, they should be required to carry this certificate with them and present it to police in the event they are pulled over.
“Surely Toronto will want to know whether 20,000 Uber drivers have purchased 20,000 policies – or 20,” Souter points out. “This information is crucial to effective public policy and consumer safety.”