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Taxis drivers protest Uber outside the Montreal courthouse on Feb. 2.Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Quebec's taxi industry went to court Tuesday to seek a permanent injunction against Uber that is also aimed at deactivating the company's app throughout the province.

Uber's drivers are breaking the law and the company's services are illegal, lawyer Marc-Antoine Cloutier told a news conference outside the Montreal courthouse.

The drivers don't need a permit, as required by the law, he argued.

Benoit Jugand, a taxi-industry spokesman, urged the Quebec government to start cracking down on Uber.

"It's not normal that the industry must take care of what's supposed to be done by the government," he said. "It's simple: taxi is legal and Uber is illegal. The law says it. The law is clear. We simply want the law to be applied."

Jugand and Cloutier both said Uber's service has nothing in common with the practice of people giving their neighbours a lift into work free of charge.

"Ride-sharing is well-defined with the transportation law," Jugand said. "It says you need to share transport but you just share your gas. But giving calls to somebody who's taking you from point A to point B is clearly taxi business."

The controversy surrounding Uber has raged across the country, with Edmonton city council approving a bylaw last week that would allow it and similar companies to operate legally.

The bylaw takes effect March 1 and includes two licences: one for firms called private transportation providers and the other for taxis.

Uber trips are not eligible under the insurance plans that cover licensed taxi rides, and opponents describe this as only one among many safety risks associated with the practice.

Uber, in turn, argues that developing a mobile app that lets customers hail nearby cars makes it a technology company rather than a transportation firm.