Economy

Uber set to cease operations in Quebec, reports say

Uber set to cease operations in Quebec, reports say”

The Uber executive accused the Quebec government of "trying to impose old (taxi) rules on a completely new technological model", saying "major changes" in the regulations would force Uber to effectively operate like a taxi company with full-time drivers.

"We are going to have to cease our operations in Quebec on October 14", Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, director general of Uber Quebec, told a press conference, but calling for negotiations to find a solution that would allow the company to stay.

It appears Uber is neither on board with the 35-hour training requirement for drivers nor the tightening of criminal record checks, now carried out by the police rather than by a private firm.

"In particular, we're talking about mandatory training of 35 hours, which has never been seen in this sharing economy", said Guillemette.

Uber employs more than 50 office workers in the province, where more than 10,000 drivers have worked for the company, he said.

Guillemette said the number of hours worked by an estimated 10,000 Uber drivers in Quebec past year were equivalent to 3,000 full-time jobs in the province.

Guillemette also emphasized - in his prepared remarks, as well as in his answers to French and English media - that Uber did not "want to negotiate in public", and that the company is prepared to sit down with the Quebec government to discuss new terms.

Guillemette says the province didn't consult with the company before introducing the new rules, which he says make it impossible for the service to continue in Quebec.

The original one-year test program, which is slated to end mid-October, required Uber to collect and pay taxes on each trip made by its drivers.

The company is opposed to the new rules that would see the number of training hours for drivers increased to 35 from 20 hours now in place and subjecting drivers to background checks by police instead of private security firms.

Representatives of Quebec's transport ministry were not immediately available to comment.



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