When last week's Superior Court decision left taxi regulation in the City's hands, it set a new priority for city council.
Last week, the Ontario Superior Court rejected a request for an injunction that would ban Uber from operating their app-enabled, unlicensed taxicab service in Toronto. The court’s ruling came after months of vocal protest from the taxi industry, which feels that Uber’s lower-priced rides pose a threat to the livelihoods of licensed front-line taxi drivers. But Superior Court Judge Sean Dunphy held firm, reasoning (more or less) that the issue was neither the provincial court’s circus nor its monkeys, and handed the matter off for the City to attend to.
And so, today, Mayor Tory conceded that it might be time to again update the City’s taxi regulations to better reflect the way we order cabs in 2015—even though the City went through a years-long process that it passed in 2014.
“The Ontario Superior Court ruling was clear: our by-laws, which were written many years before technology had advanced to where it is today, simply do not adequately capture the operations of companies like Uber and, as a result, what we have today is not a level playing field,” said Tory at a press conference today.
But how to level that playing field, you ask? There are a couple of options. One would be an appeal of the court’s decision, which would need to be approved by council. That potential route is still on the table. But, Tory’s more immediate plan of action is to launch an expedited review of the taxi industry, whose current two-tiered licensing system had been a source of industry headaches even before Uber came onto the scene.
“We need to have everybody who wishes to participate in this industry doing so within the law, and that means the law is going to have to be changed,” said Tory. He hopes council will debate a new taxi by-law at the first meeting this fall.