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Unifor backs taxi drivers in case against City of Ottawa

“Taxi drivers must be made whole for the huge losses they suffered as a direct result of callous government indifference,” said Amrik Dhami, president of Local 1688. Image: Unifor

FEBRUARY 10, 2023 – OTTAWA – Regulators at the City of Ottawa acted irresponsibly when they rushed through ride-sharing approvals without a plan to mitigate the impacts on the city’s taxi fleet, says Unifor.

“By capitulating to the demands of multinational tech giants, the local government set up a race to the bottom in the taxi industry and, in many cases, stripped workers of their retirement security,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President. “The resulting two-tiered system was devastating for hundreds of families relying on incomes from taxi services.”

The class action case led by Capital Taxi seeks $215 million in damages for up to 768 plate licensees who collectively own 1,188 plates. The city facilitated a taxi plate market and regulated an established industry, and therefore it had an obligation to ensure that the entry of new ride services in the municipality was fair to established taxicab operators, says Unifor.

“The City of Ottawa failed to exercise good governance at the time and now drivers expect the courts to force city council to do the right thing,” said Amrik Dhami, president of Local 1688 representing Blue Line, Capital, and Westway taxi drivers. “Taxi drivers must be made whole for the huge losses they suffered as a direct result of callous government indifference.”

Without fair-minded regulations, ride-sharing apps have placed tremendous downward pressure on wages and working conditions for taxi drivers, says Unifor.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.