Uber backs down on threat to leave Quebec – Montreal

Citing a willingness to engage in a “constructive dialogue” with Quebec’s new transport minister, Uber has announced it will back down on its threat to cease operations in the province on Saturday.

The government wants Uber drivers undergo 35 hours of training and have criminal background checks done by a police force, requirements the ride-hailing company bristled at.

Uber wants the government to ease up on its proposed regulations, but early Friday morning, Transport Minister André Fortin made it clear that the government would be standing firm.

“My job is to put a regulatory framework in place. Whether a specific private company decides to operate within it, it’s not for me to be for or against that,” he told CBC Montreal’s Daybreak.

In a statement, Uber said it received information that the training requirement will not be enforced for a few months after the rules come into effect. The company said it is willing to continue negotiating with the government in the meantime.

Government agrees to minor concession

Fortin said the government is willing to give Uber drivers time to get their background checks done. New Uber drivers, who start on or after Oct. 15, will have eight weeks, while those already working as Uber drivers will have two years.

Fortin says the role of the Transport Ministry is to create regulations that work for everyone and ensure the safety of users.

Premier Philippe Couillard said early Thursday that while the province will keep talking with the company, it would not “submit to a multinational.”

Uber has said it wasn’t consulted about the changes, which they consider to be major, and that the training requirement is too much for drivers who only work part time.

The old pilot project began last year and expires Saturday. Under those rules, drivers were required to do 20 hours of training and could have their background checks done by private companies.

Quebec is the only Canadian jurisdiction where Uber…

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