Edmonton Just Became the First City in Canada to Fully Legalize Uber

Uber’s status across Canadian cities is one of variety.

In Toronto, it could be subject of a major protest during the NBA All-Star weekend. In Montreal, it’ll probably be victim to a class-action lawsuit in the near future. In Vancouver, it does not exist.

All of these scenarios, of course, are the result of the beloved ride-hailing service being kind of illegal.

Not so in Edmonton.

Starting March 1, Uber will be allowed to operate legally in the Albertan capital. It will be the first Canadian municipality to legalize the service, pending the company’s drivers are able to get legal commercial insurance approved by the province. That process is currently underway, and Uber has promised it will cease operating if drivers don’t have the proper insurance by March 1. It’s very unlikely that their insurance application will be denied.

“This is a great day for Edmonton,” said Ramit Kar, Uber’s general manager for Alberta. “This is a win for both riders and drivers in Edmonton. Although we have made some concessions in the bylaw, this is a workable framework.”

A few of those concessions include paying $70,000 a year to operate in Edmonton and accepting a minimum price of $3.25 per trip. Uber rides also aren’t allowed to be hailed from the street, which is impossible anyway. Surge pricing will be limited to four times the regulated rate.

“We’ll monitor this very closely and in six months’ time, if there’s predatory behaviour or gouging occurring, then council certainly reserves the right to strengthen the minimums and maximums,” said Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson.