Ontario Approves Insurance for Uber Drivers; Bill to Fully Legalize Service May Follow

A lack of insurance for Uber drivers – one of the few, and certainly the strongest, cases the taxi industry has against everyone’s favourite way to get around – is about to be remedied.

Yesterday, Ontario’s insurance regulator approved coverage for drivers using ride-hailing services such as Uber. The province’s legislature, meanwhile, hasn’t decided yet if Uber should be legal.

Permission has been granted for Aviva Canada to offer coverage for drivers carrying paying passengers in their own vehicles by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.

This is encouraging news for Uber in Canada – Edmonton became the first city in the country to fully legalize the service last week.

“The longer we delay on an overall ride-sharing legislative framework the less help it is for cabbies, for Uber drivers, for customers and I’m worried that situation, that tension, is going to escalate if the province does not act,” said Progressive Conservative Tim Hudak.

In addition to approving insurance for drivers, Ontario is also considering a bill that would making other services – like Airbnb – of the sharing economy legal province-wide.

Taxi companies, of course, are upset by the latest developments.

A joint-letter by Toronto Taxi Alliance president Gail Souter and Canadian Taxicab Association president Marc Andre Way to Aviva read: “We are very concerned that an Aviva announcement that ‘an approved product exists and is available for purchase’ will be misconstrued by politicians to mean ‘20,000 illegal UberX drivers are now insured’.”

Ontario taxi drivers ramped up protests yesterday at Parliament Hill while Quebec taxi industry, as well as that of Hamilton, are seeking injunctions against Uber.