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Plaintiff Marc Andre Way talks to media in Ottawa after learning of his success in the long-running Metro Taxi vs Ottawa lawsuit, regarding that city's failure to enforce its own laws on Uber and other rideshare companies. Photo: Taxi News
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Ottawa negligent in Uber situation, court rules

May 13, 2024 — Today in Ottawa, Justice Marc Smith issued his decision in the case of Metro Taxi vs. City of Ottawa.

Justice Smith found that the “The City’s response to Uber’s arrival was negligent, causing harm to the taxi industry.”

“On behalf of Metro Taxi, and Taxi industry members in Ottawa and across Canada, I thank Justice Smith for his work on this file. His attention to important details and insights into this case have resulted in an historic decision,” said plaintiff Marc AndréWay.

“This is great news not only for the Taxi industry, but for all of us who put our faith in Canada’s justice system and the Rule of Law.”

Other comments by Justice Smith in his decision include the fact that “The City capitulated to Uber’s bullying tactics when it entered the Ottawa market” and that “Uber was permitted to defy the law openly for two years without suffering any consequences whatsoever. On the other hand, because of Uber’s blatant disregard of the law, the Plaintiffs suffered.”

“The City adopted a defeatist and acceptance approach to Uber’s entry into the Ottawa market,” Justice Smith noted.  “A multinational giant was invading Ottawa, and because of the City’s unpreparedness and its lack of efforts to develop a plan to enforce the 2012 By-law, the City’s enforcement efforts against Uber drivers were ineffective.”

Justice Smith wrote, “The City takes the position that if the Plaintiffs suffered any damages, which it denies, those damages were inevitable from the moment that Uber decided to expand into Ottawa. I disagree. The City failed to enforce the 2012 By-law. The City’s flawed approach of only targeting Uber drivers and deliberately avoiding Uber, the dispatcher, is directly related to the Plaintiffs’ loss. Any loss incurred and proven by the Plaintiffs is directly caused by the City’s inaction or ineffective action in the enforcement of its taxi by-laws.

The Ottawa Taxi trial, officially titled “Metro Taxi Ltd., Marc Andre Way and Ishkak Mail vs the City of Ottawa” wrapped up on November 29th.

Members of Ottawa’s taxi industry launched the $215 million class-action lawsuit in April 2016, alleging the city did not protect drivers and the industry when ride-sharing services hit city streets. They were represented by a legal team from Conway Litigation.