Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Toronto taxi drivers hold signs at city hall during a protest against Uber in Toronto, Wednesday December 9, 2015.

Mark Blinch/The Globe and Mail

A key city hall committee voted against legalizing Uber in Toronto late Friday, a symbolic move that lays the groundwork for what is expected to be a heated debate at council next month.

The vote came after the city's new taxi and Uber rules got a rough ride over two days of emotional and at times aggressive debate, as all sides voiced displeasure with the proposed regulations. Members of the taxi industry lined up to criticize the proposal. And so did Uber, which, partway through the proceedings, issued a submission that questioned several aspects of the new rules for ride-hailing service.

The licensing and standards committee eventually voted 5-1 Friday evening to approve a comprehensive package of reforms for the ground transportation industry, but also to delete dozens of them that would bring Uber under the law.

Story continues below advertisement

The issue now heads to council, which is expected to debate it in early May. At that time, councillors can, if Mayor John Tory can cobble together a majority, vote to reinsert any or all of the deleted clauses.

"We listened to people, and we're sending to council," said Councillor Jim Karygiannis. "Now if council decides, in its own wisdom … [to] overlook the work of the committee, well, so be it."

Fellow councillor and committee member, Giorgio Mammoliti, predicted a "tight" vote at full council.

"It's going to be a very close vote and the alliances on all ends of the spectrum have to be justified," he said. "And the best way to do that is politically and in council."

The arrival of Uber has roiled the city's taxi industry. Cabbies say they make far less money now, and the once-coveted taxi plates have plummeted in value, with the highest price paid for one in 2015 not quite half what it was in 2013.

As written, the complicated new rules drafted by city staff would allow Uber to operate and reduce the regulations for taxis, which would keep a monopoly on being hailed on the street.

Nearly 100 people came to city hall Thursday and Friday to register their opinion on the new rules. The majority were supporters of the taxi industry and tensions occasionally boiled over. Several people were ejected, city staff and politicians were repeatedly insulted and some in the audience hissed and jeered when people took the podium to make positive noises about Uber.

Story continues below advertisement

Uber did not send company executives. On Friday, though, it issued a formal response to the proposed rules, raising concerns with several of them. In its submission, Uber said there was no reason to restrict the age of its drivers' vehicles to no more than seven years. It also questioned the proposed fees for drivers and raised doubts about its willingness to share data with the city.

"They're going to try and make the city capitulate even to the lowest standard, and that is not acceptable," said Councillor Janet Davis. "You know, this is so typical of Uber. They want it their way, no other way. They've plowed into this market, they have ignored the rules and they're trying to make up their own rules."

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies