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Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow
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Proposed rideshare cap item may be pushed to November

Chow wants report to consider wages, working conditions as well as emissions

The February deadline for Toronto to decide how many rideshare vehicles is appropriate for a city trying cap emissions may be pushed back to November, 2024.

In a letter to her Executive Committee dated February 14th, Mayor Olivia Chow suggests,

“To allow City staff the necessary time to conduct their own analysis of the data related to the findings in the independent report, I am recommending the City Manager be granted additional time to prepare his report.

RECOMMENDATION: That the City Manager include analysis and consideration of driver wages in the forthcoming report on options regarding vehicle-for-hire licensing, and that the City Manager report to the Executive Committee no later than Q4 2024.”

Gig workers, Uber and Lyft drivers protest in front of Uber’s Canadian head office on Bloor Street on February 14th. Photo: Earla Philips, Twitter

Chow notes in her letter that recent protests by Uber and Lyft drivers and other gig workers demonstrate that wages and working conditions are their top concerns:

“These drivers are often newcomers hoping to earn enough to pay their rent and put food on the table.

“Recently, an independent report validated their concerns by showing that ride-hailing company drivers earned a median wage of $6.37 per hour, far lower than Ontario’s minimum wage of $16.55 per hour. Ride-hailing companies disagree, citing a higher hourly wage, though there is concern that their accounting does not include ‘idle time’ between rides. City Council would benefit from an analysis from City staff of the wages of these workers.”

The 55,000 of rideshare vehicles cruising Toronto’s streets first became an item of interest at Economic Development Committee and then Toronto Council in the context of reducing emissions. However, since those meetings, the working conditions of Uber and Lyft drivers have been protested on several occasions, globally and in Toronto.

Mayor Chow’s letter will be considered by Executive Committee on February 29th, 2024.

Read Mayor Chow’s letter to Executive Committee here