TLT rejects City’s case for revocation of taxi driver’s license
by John Q. Duffy
On Sept 20th at Toronto Licensing Tribunal a full hearing was held into the continuation of a Vehicle-For-Hire Driver’s License held by Mohammed M. Islam. He also holds an Owners’ License but this license was not under review at this hearing.
The City, seeking revocation of the taxi driving license, presented four witnesses, all City employees, who testified about his conduct as a taxi driver while he was still on probation imposed by the TLT in June of 2017.
Acting Supervisor with MLS Andrea DiMatteo testified about the preparation and contents of the 147-page report on Islam’s alleged conduct, plus an update to the original report.
Since Islam was placed on probation he has received “multiple” charges and convictions under the Municipal Code and the HTA, the panel was told.
He was first licensed as a cab driver in 2002 and became a taxi owner in 2014.
He has a list of Municipal Code convictions dating back to 2005, with the latest charges laid in September 2018, including three times for parking (waiting for hire) in an unauthorized area and one for “obstruct, encumber, damage, foul of any street” and one for operating without a fully functioning emergency light.
He also has a complaint for offering a flat rate.
Then three Municipal Standards Officers testified about the various charges they laid against Islam this year.
Islam, in his testimony, agreed he had made mistakes but asked the panel to give him another chance as this was the only job he knew how to do, the only job he has had since coming to Canada.
He said he supports 6 young children with his earnings as a cab driver. He also said all he could earn from renting out his taxi was about $300 per week.
In response to a question from the panel, Islam agreed getting tickets, in the long term, was not a cost-effective way to operate, but he said at the time what is important is earning enough money to pay the immediate bills and risking getting a ticket.
In her submissions Elliott said Islam’s record shows him to be “ungovernable.”
Panel chair Simon asked Elliott where the term “ungovernable” was in the bylaw, as she could not find it. Elliott acknowledged the term is not there, but argued that Islam’s conduct was such, even while under probation, as to indicate he did not and would not fulfill his responsibilities as a licensee.
“This conduct falls below expectations,” she argued.
In his submissions Islam again said he has no other skills or job experience and needs this work to support his family. He said he would try to do better in the future.
In announcing the panel’s decision Simon said, “This was not an easy case.” She said the City’s case did not meet the threshold for cancelling the license.
But she said Islam’s “pattern of behavior” justified imposing a 10-day suspension of his driving license effective Sept 21st.
As well, his existing period of probation remains in place until June 2, 2019.
Omar Said Mohamed, applying for a Vehicle-For-Hire Driver’s License, was granted the license but it will be on probation for three years after the panel accepted a proposed resolution.
Mohamed was convicted of Careless Driving while trying to “navigate around an accident.” He has a couple of minor convictions under the Municipal Code that are not a huge concern for the City. The probationary period will allow the City to continue to “monitor” him.
Canturk Paving & General Contracting Ltd. o/a Canturk Paving & General Contracting, Veli Kayalica, Director, Applicant for a Driveway Paving Contractor’s License received the license on probation for a year.
The panel was told Kayalica has four assault convictions dating back to 1999 with latest from 2011.
However they were from events that happened outside of a business context and he is supporting 3 children.
The City feels the probationary period is “appropriate.”
Zulfikar Texiwala also received a Vehicle-For-Hire Driver’s License after approval of a proposed resolution. He has a relatively dated record of criminal, driving and bylaw convictions and the City believes the probationary period is sufficient to satisfy its concerns.