Monday, July 15, 2024
NewsRide Hailing newsTaxi industry news

Taxi class-action suit against Ottawa heads to court today; information updated

Blue Line is one of the Taxi brands operated by Coventry Connections. Photo: Taxi News

Update at 2:15pm: There will not be a video link today. The soonest there will be a Zoom link is January 4th at 9am.

Update at 10:20am January 3rd: Start time January 3rd was moved to 2pm for preliminary motions and housekeeping matters. Opening statements and witness testimony will begin January 4th. Link for the livestream is not yet available but will be shared as soon as it is. The courtroom will be either 33 or 35.

Tuesday, January 3rd has been set as the first court day of the Taxi industry class action suit against the City of Ottawa.

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.

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.

Marc Andre Way of Coventry Connections.

According to the taxi industry, the lawsuit alleges:

  •  The city of Ottawa was negligent in its enforcement of the former Taxi Bylaw
  •  By failing to enforce its own bylaw and changing the Taxi Bylaw, 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
  •  The city is using a system which penalizes taxi cab plate holders when a plate is sold by charging a transfer fee when the asset (plate) is worthless.

The lawsuit was launched just months before ride-sharing services like Uber were legally allowed to operate in the city of Ottawa. Uber first arrived in Ottawa in October 2014, and the city of Ottawa changed the taxi bylaws to allow “private transportation company” licenses in 2016.