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
19 Dec 2017, Webinar, Calgary, Canada

McLennan Ross previously conducted a webinar on June 6, 2017 about the passage of Bill 17, during which we reviewed the changes to the Employment Standards Code and the Labour Relations Code. During that webinar, we identified a number of issues which would depend upon the language of the Regulations, which had not yet been developed.

21 Nov 2018, Webinar, Calgary, Canada

Changes to the Employment Standards Code this year increased the number of unpaid leaves to which employees are entitled for the purpose of allowing them to deal with family related issues.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Howie, Sacks & Henry
McCague Borlack LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Howie, Sacks & Henry
McCague Borlack LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
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
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions