Uber could face $50,000 fines in Alberta if it doesn’t abide by province’s proposed ride-sharing law

While we’ve seen a number of Canadians cities, including Toronto and Ottawa, enact bylaws to govern Uber, Alberta is now on track to be the first Canadian province to pass province-wide ride-sharing legislation.

Should the province’s new Traffic Safety Act become law, and it’s looking like it will, Uber — and any other ride-sharing companies that decide to set up shop in the province in the future — will have to abide by much more strict regulation if they wish to continue operating in Alberta.

Under the new bill, drivers will need to hold one of the province’s three commercial licences — Class 1, 2 or 4 — to drive a vehicle for the company; the Class 5 licence most Albertans hold will no longer be sufficient, which means one of the service’s main selling points will be taken away.

Moreover, Uber will also be required to ensure its drivers pass a police information check. Unlike the criminal background check the company already requires its drivers to submit, police information checks are more extensive and reveal whether an individual is currently facing some kind of criminal charge.

Failure to do so will result in a $50,000 per day, per offence fine.

In an interview with the CBC, Transportation Minister Brian Mason said the province set the fine high so that companies like Uber would have no choice but to comply.

“So $50,000 per offence, per day, can add up extremely fast,” he said. “We didn’t want this to just be the cost of doing business, for a company with very deep pockets like Uber.”

The province’s superintendent of insurance expects to approve the new by July 1st.