After saying they would be ceasing operations in Quebec as of October 14th, Uber – reacting to an announcement made today by the province’s new transport minister André Fortin, is now backing down on that promise. In a communique, the new minister offered a concession to the stricter rules they would have been required to follow, once their one year pilot project ended last month.
The regulations in question had stipulated drivers must undergo the same 35 hours of training that licensed Taxi drivers have to, instead of the 15 hours previously required in the first pilot project. And Uber drivers would need criminal background checks done by police, instead of the private companies they were using. But the stricter conditions introduced by previous Minister Laurent Lessard were unacceptable to them and the company stated it would ‘significantly threaten their ability to continue operating’.
Many questioned why the fair and simple demands were so threatening? Perhaps it was a bluff, as Uber has somewhat of a reputation of wanting things their way or no way.
Although Uber still must meet the demand that drivers undergo a 35-hour training program, in the communique issued by Minister Fortin, he offered the following concession: a two-year window to have background checks by police carried out for Uber drivers, who already had checks done by their employer – but drivers who are employed by the service after October 15th will have to submit to a background check carried out by the Quebec police force within eight weeks.
“With the recent nomination of André Fortin at the Transport ministry, we recognize an opportunity to establish a constructive dialogue toward finding a long-term solution for the user and drivers of Uber,” Uber said in statement issued to the media. This is coming from a company who up until yesterday said if the 35-hour training program is maintained they will be ceasing operations in the province.
Bluff or compromise?