February 2019

Maybe it’s time to revisit employment status of taxi drivers

To the editor,

With the courts now being receptive to hearing arguments about Uber operators possibly being employees, perhaps the old argument of taxi owners and drivers being employees should be re-visited.

The governing bylaw for the taxi industry goes well beyond our industry being defined as self-employed and in essence makes us employees as well.

As examples, with the City regulating:

• What kind of vehicle you are allowed to operate;

• How many years you are allowed to have that vehicle on the road;

• Semi-annual inspections in some cases;

• What extra equipment is required in those vehicles, i.e., cameras, meters, emergency lighting systems;

• If you have a Point of Sale Machine, what service charges are allowed;

• How much you can charge for your services;

• How many hours per day you are allowed to work; and

• How much insurance you must have on your vehicle.

And these are only some of the mandates of the bylaw. Does this not cross the line of self-employed to being an employee?

If I contracted to do a job for the City, say, to fix sidewalks or do a renovation job, and being self-employed, there would never be these restrictions.

I for one, have never bought into the idea that taxi drivers and owners are self-employed, due to the unusually heavy restrictions surrounding this industry, restrictions that are not contained in any other City bylaw, business license or contract the City issues.

Gerald H. Manley

Who will slay the monster?

To the editor,

As the Uber corporate giant continues to expand its horizons with divisions focusing on developing autonomous vehicles and transit services, the likelihood of convincing the Province to intervene in its regulation grows dimmer with time.

Mega corporations, such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Uber, seemingly, are beyond the willingness of governments to control in most jurisdictions. Certainly, with respect to the GTHA, with a target population in excess of 6.5 million people, Uber continues to operate at will.

Oakville just passed a new taxi bylaw which eliminates the standard tariff, while at the same time refrains from limiting the number of vehicles Uber can operate. Both Toronto and Mississauga are in the throes of a for-hire ground transportation review, and, in all likelihood, will follow suit.

As for deeming Uber’s drivers employees, to the best of my knowledge, no jurisdiction in North America has pursued this successfully, if at all.

By rights, corporate giants should be broken up. By stifling competition, and, in the case of Uber, insisting on self-regulation, they do not operate in the best interests of the public. In short, we have enabled the creation of a monster. Now, where’s my copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein?

Peter D. Pellier


2019 Taxi News

Maybe it’s time to revisit employment status of taxi drivers

Who will slay the monster?