The legal drama surrounding Uber continues this week with drivers in Kitchener-Waterloo facing a potential $25,000 fine if they’re caught working for the service.
The news comes just days after a week in which the company both launched in Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Guelph and Hamilton, and became the target of a $400-million lawsuit led by Ontario’s taxicab and limousine drivers.
According to the The Record, Uber drivers are considered illegal taxi drivers under the region’s taxi bylaws. As such, any driver caught working for the company has the potential to be fined $25,000.
“Staff is not going to seek an injunction against Uber while the (taxi) bylaw review is underway, however we will continue to enforce our taxi bylaw against drivers operating without a licence,” said Councillor Jane Mitchell, the chair of the committee that oversees taxis in Kitchener-Waterloo, in an interview with the publication. “We’re not out trying to catch Uber drivers but if somebody has a complaint then bylaw will look into it,” she added.
According to Councillor Mitchell, despite the fact that the company told local politicians that it wanted to work with them when it came time to launch the service in KW, councillors were blindsided by Thursday’s surprise launch. “I felt disappointed because it shows a lack of respect for municipal bylaws and our procedure that we’re going through,” she said to the The Record
Kitchener-Waterloo is not the only city in Ontario that has said it will attempt to curtail the company’s operations within its borders. After Uber launched in Hamilton, the city quickly said that it would pursue legal against the company.
“The City’s position on this matter has not changed. Uber has to follow the City’s bylaws to operate legally within the City of Hamilton. If they do not follow them there will be enforcement action,” said a representative for the City of Hamilton in emailed statement to journalist Joey Coleman. “They can use a licensed Cab and Drivers and they would be operating legally.”