Sept. 26 (UPI) — If Quebec officials don’t back down on new requirements for Uber drivers, the ride-sharing giant said it will leave the province next month.
A departure from Canada’s second-most populated province would be the latest blow to the California-based company. Officials in London, England, announced last week they would not renew Uber’s operating license for the city when it expires Saturday.
New rules requiring Uber drivers to complete 35 training hours and mandating that local police conduct background checks of Uber drivers sparked the ultimatum in Quebec.
Uber’s current agreement with Quebec, which Uber Quebec general manager Jean-Nicolas Guillemette called “the most severe [rules] in North America,” expires Oct. 14, the Toronto Star reported. If Quebec officials don’t retract their demands, Guillemette said, the company will leave the province when the agreement expires next month.
Drivers currently need to complete 20 hours of training as part of the existing agreement. Requiring more hours would be a burden for Uber drivers, many of whom work on a part-time basis, Guillemette said.
But Quebec Transport Minister Laurent Lessard said last week that officials need to ensure safe drivers are behind the wheel.
“They see it as a barrier to entry into the industry whereas we think they are the basic conditions to ensure that there is security for someone who wants to transport people who are not members of their family,” he said.
Lessard told reporters his government is not going to negotiate the new terms, the Montreal Gazette reported.
“We are not in a negotiation process,” Lessard said. “We tabled a project and we indicated the elements. So only they can decide what will happen on the 14th. I am open to hearing how they propose to attain the objective, but we are firm on the targets.”