February 7, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Montreal, Canada – Taxi drivers in Montreal and Quebec City can file a class-action lawsuit against Uber for lost revenues, a Quebec Superior Court judge ruled Jan. 23.
“This is the first big victory for the taxi industry against Uber,” Marc-Antoine Cloutier, a lawyer representing the taxi companies and drivers, told Radio-Canada. “We’re talking about 15,000 to 20,000 taxi drivers and fairly important numbers—a loss of value for their taxi permits, loss of revenue.” The suit alleges that since the app-based taxi service began operating in the province in 2014, drivers and taxi companies working under government regulations have lost C$300 million, about US$230 million. “Our theory is that the money they are making would have been the taxi’s money and that they are taking the revenue of people who comply with the law and that cannot go on anymore,” lawyer Carl-Olivier Rouleau told CTV News Montreal. The lead plaintiff is Wilson Jean-Paul, a taxi owner who is one of the about 4,000 drivers in Quebec represented by the United Steelworkers. Last fall, taxi drivers tried to stop the Quebec government from letting Uber operate in the province as a one-year pilot project, but a judge refused to grant their request for an injunction.