If you rely on taxis at all in your day to day life take note, because it’s going to be impossible to get a taxi in one Canadian city tomorrow. In Gatineau, Quebec tomorrow, taxi drivers will be participating in a one-day strike. This move is in order to protest some major taxi changes that Quebec is making to the taxi industry.
The proposed changes from the Quebec Ministry of Transportation would likely deregulate most of the taxi industry. For example, they would get rid of taxi permits and territorial restrictions. The drivers and taxi companies in Gatineau aren’t happy with this, so they’re planning to send a message to the government tomorrow with their strike.
Taxi drivers told CBC that their plan right now is to strike from 7 AM to 7 PM on Monday, March 25. Taxi companies Aylmer Taxi, Bob Taxi, Crown/Régal, and Taxi Loyal all told Radio-Canada, CBC’s Quebec branch, that they will be taking part. This is four out of Gatineau’s major taxi companies.
If this isn’t already a big enough impact, keep in mind that Gatineau is only minutes from Ottawa, Canada’s capital city. On top of that, a lot of government buildings and services are actually run out of Gatineau meaning this strike has the potential to impact federal government work.
A lot of the changes that the taxi companies in Gatineau are protesting are a result of Uber moving into the market in Quebec.
Unfortunately, when Uber entered the market it also had a detrimental impact on the taxi companies. In Quebec, drivers and companies paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for their permits but when Uber came in, not requiring permits, the value of them dropped.
To compensate for that the Quebec government is offering a settlement for taxi companies. As part of the latest changes being made, this total compensation will now equal around $500 million.
Ironically though, when Uber first came into the Quebec market, affecting permit values, taxi drivers then said that Ubers should have the same requirements as they do when it comes to permits.
Now the government is changing the requirements so that they are actually the same for Ubers and taxis, but not in the way the taxi companies had hoped. That’s why the protest begins tomorrow, at 7 AM.