News / Edmonton

Uber threatens to leave if Alberta government doesn’t move on insurance

Uber launched in Decemner 2014 in Edmonton and last month city council passed a bylaw that would allow them to operate legally.

Metro File

Uber launched in Decemner 2014 in Edmonton and last month city council passed a bylaw that would allow them to operate legally.

Uber is yet again threatening to leave Edmonton — this time if the Alberta government doesn’t move swiftly on new insurance regulations for the rideshare industry.

The company did not return calls Tuesday, but in an email sent to its members it said it needs approval of a new insurance product and proposed licensing requirements to continue operating in Edmonton.

“Without approval by the NDP government before March 1, thousands of Albertans will lose their ability to earn by providing rides, and tens of thousands will lose access to a much needed transportation option,” said Ramit Kar, the company’s general manager, in the email.

“If the provincial government doesn't act on driver's licensing and insurance before March 1st, Uber will be unable to operate in Alberta.”

Last month, city councillors approved a new bylaw for ridesharing that would allow Uber and other similar companies to operate legally as of March 1, but requires provincially regulated insurance for rideshare drivers.

In the protracted debate that led to the recent bylaws passing, the company also threatened to leave Edmonton if city council did not approve the bylaw.

Intact Insurance is working with the compnay on a proposed insurance product, but Alberta’s superintendent of insurance has not made a decision on that insurance product.

In an email, Aileen Machell, press secretary to Transportation Minister Brian Mason, could not provide any details or a timeline for the government’s decision. 

“Alberta is committed to finding an appropriate solution allowing rideshare companies to operate in a fair manner, while also protecting drivers, passengers, and other road users,” she said, in the email.

Mayor Don Iveson said the issue is now in the province’s hands.

“Ontario has shown us it can be done and it’s ultimately in the consumer’s interest and the public safety interest to see this resolved.”