Ottawa Courthouse Photo: Wikipedia
Ottawa Taxi expert Marc Andre Way is expected to be on the stand in court again today. Way has spent five full days, answering every question posed by lawyers on the detailed mechinations of the city’s Taxi industry, history, geography, financing, and ethnography.
Way’s January 11th testimony was largely concerned with the number of Taxi plates Ottawa issued; who owns them; and what the value of the plates has been over time.
Although the court’s Zoom service has been spotty during some periods, generally it has been reliable. Proceedings begin generally around 10am, with breaks being taken as is practical for lawyers as they change topics, subjects or documents.
Seven weeks of court time as been alloted to this hearing, which was certified in 2018. 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. The suit also claims the city discriminated against minority taxi plate holders by failing to enforce its own bylaw and changing the bylaw to allow private transportation companies.
A key element of this trial is the allegation that the City of Ottawa “in failing to enforce its By-law and in changing the By-law, the City discriminated on the basis of race, colour, ancestry, ethnic or national origin, religion or creed, language, place of origin, or citizenship, contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Ontario Human Rights Code,” according to the class action.
The lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Metro Taxi Ltd., co-owner Marc Andre Way and Iskhak Mail, with the lawsuit seeking damages on behalf of taxi plate owners and brokers.