Canada: After Uber Suspends Its Operations, What's Next For Ride-Sharing In Alberta?

Last Updated: April 28 2016
Article by Alexis N. Moulton and David A. Nicol

On February 29, 2016, Uber suspended its operations in Edmonton after the city's ride-sharing bylaw came into effect. The bylaw requires Uber drivers to carry either commercial insurance or insurance specifically tailored to ride-sharing companies. On the same day, Alberta's transportation minister, Brian Mason, announced that while the basic framework for ride-sharing insurance has been approved, it will not be ready until the summer. In the meantime, another ridesharing company, TappCar, has stepped in to fill the void in Edmonton.

Uber Technologies Inc. is an American multinational online transportation network company headquartered in San Francisco, California. It develops, markets and operates the Uber mobile app, which allows consumers with smartphones to submit a trip request which is then routed to Uber drivers who use their own cars. Consumers pay the drivers through their smartphone app, with Uber taking a percentage of the fare.

Uber's fares can often be much lower than comparable fares for taxis. The app conveniently displays a map that gives an estimated pickup and travel time, as well as an estimated fare before booking. Uber is now available in over 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide.

Uber launched in Edmonton in December, 2014 and in Calgary in October, 2015 and quickly became popular for its convenience and price. Concerns were raised, however, over Uber's driver screening process and insurance coverage. Uber drivers used their personal vehicles under their personal automobile insurance policies while they were operating in these cities. As commercial vehicle insurance is generally more expensive than personal vehicle insurance, most Uber drivers did not inform their insurers they were driving for Uber, and did not adjust their coverage. Insurers will not generally extend coverage to people who are operating their vehicles for hire.

Uber was quickly shut down in Calgary by city council, which later set strict bylaws for ride-sharing in the city. Calgary's bylaw requires ride-sharing drivers to have a Class 4 driver's license — a commercial license. It also requires an annual $220 operating license from the city, regular inspections, proof of eligibility to work in Canada and a police background check. Uber officials have complained that these rules are far too onerous, and claim they will not be able to operate in Calgary as a result.

Uber has been the subject of ongoing protests and legal action from taxi drivers, taxi companies, and governments around the world who are trying to stop Uber from operating in their areas. These groups say that Uber presents unfair competition to taxis because the company does not pay taxes or licensing fees; it endangers passengers; and drivers are untrained, unlicensed and uninsured.

There has also been some controversy around Uber's fare policies. As all Uber drivers are independent contractors, the supply of Uber drivers at any given time is dictated by how many drivers choose to make themselves available to accept fares. Uber uses a model called "surge pricing" to encourage more of its drivers to work during busy periods. Surge pricing will multiply the standard fare paid by users in periods of high demand. Unfortunately, the use of surge pricing hasn't always been clear, resulting in some surprises when customers view their final bills. On New Year's Eve last year, surge pricing resulted in some Uber customers being charged fares in excess of $1,000 for what would normally have been a $90 trip.

Uber currently maintains a $5 million Commercial General Liability ("CGL") policy with AIG Insurance Company of Canada. This is a contingent insurance policy, and will only kick in if there is no other policy responding.

Aviva was the first company in Canada to introduce insurance policies specifically tailored to the ride-sharing industry. They launched their ride-sharing insurance policy in Ontario in February. The policy fills the gap between personal and commercial vehicle insurance, allowing policy holders to use their personal vehicles to drive for Uber. There are some restrictions in Aviva's policy, such as: the maximum number of passengers, the driver must be licensed for a minimum of six years, and the vehicle is not to be used for any other commercial purpose. For an additional premium of approximately $500 (depending on risk factors) drivers may use their personal vehicles for Uber for up to 20 hours per week, with additional coverage possible.

Similar policies are expected to launch in Alberta in the near future, but it remains to be seen whether Uber will lift its suspension at that time. Uber officials have complained that the new bylaws passed by Edmonton and Calgary will add too many expenses to Uber drivers, making it economically unviable.

As mentioned earlier, a new ridesharing company, TappCar, stepped into the Edmonton market following Uber's suspension of services in February. Like Uber, TappCar uses an app allowing customers to reserve and pay for rides on their smartphones. Unlike Uber, TappCar drivers have full commercial insurance and are in compliance with Edmonton's ridesharing bylaws. Uber's suspension of services has given TappCar the opportunity to grab market share from Uber before the new ride-sharing insurance regulations are put in place in the summer, making Uber's return to Edmonton unsure.

Similarly, Calgary is now in the midst of a price war between its taxi companies. Calgary's new vehicle for hire bylaws have removed minimum and maximum rates, allowing local taxi companies to start undercutting one another. A collapse in fare prices may eliminate some of the demand for Uber, and combined with the strictness of Calgary's new bylaws, makes Uber's return to Calgary far from certain.

In any event, particularly in Alberta's current economic climate, the introduction of ride-sharing insurance regulations this summer will still likely have a strong effect on the insurance and taxi markets. The recent uptick in unemployment has left many Albertans looking for ways to earn a living outside of traditional employment. Ride-sharing allows anyone with a vehicle the opportunity to take advantage of an expensive asset that normally spends 95% of its time parked in parking lots or driveways. Ride-sharing drivers will potentially be using their vehicles three to four times more than they normally would, and insurers must be alive to the risks. Additionally, more monitoring of these drivers may be needed to ensure they operate within the limits of their policies.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Alexis N. Moulton
David A. Nicol
Events from this Firm
27 Oct 2016, Seminar, Edmonton, Canada

Alberta is going through a difficult economic period. These times can be challenging and while owners struggle to get their business through the rough patch, they want to preserve the assets and capital they have built up.

2 Nov 2016, Webinar, Calgary, Canada

“Problem Employees” come in a variety of forms but seem to take up the majority of an employer’s time. Each form brings its own challenges and each must be addressed in a different way.

30 Nov 2016, Webinar, Calgary, Canada

Legal issues surrounding contaminated sites affects landowners, developers, realtors, as well as consultants and contractors working on the front lines. This webinar will provide a practical review of how the legislation is actually being used, recent court decisions, challenges with brownfield developments, and future changes.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.