February 27, 2016 6:56 pm
Updated: February 28, 2016 1:41 pm

Uber supporters rally at Alberta Legislature days before insurance deadline

WATCH ABOVE: A crowd of Uber supporters gathered at the legislature on Saturday to push the NDP government to approve insurance for the ride-sharing company. Julia Wong reports.


EDMONTON – Approximately 60 people marched to the Alberta Legislature on Saturday, calling on the province to approve insurance for the ride-sharing company Uber.

A City of Edmonton bylaw will allow Uber to operate legally starting March 1, but the company must have provincially-approved insurance by then. If not, it cannot operate in Edmonton.

READ MORE: Edmonton paves the way for Uber in Canada

Uber says it has a commercial policy that works for ride-sharing that does not put additional costs onto drivers but the province has not signed off on it.

A statement from Leah Holoiday, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, reads:

“The Superintendent of Insurance has been involved in constructive discussions with Intact Insurance. The issue remains under review and no agreement has been reached.”

No further explanation was given as to why the province had not yet approved the insurance policy.

Uber supporters marched to the legislature chanting “Don’t be a guber, let’s keep Uber”, “Keep Uber in YEG, let’s act NDP” and “Let’s act now”.

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Many people clutched signs reading “Help my family”, “We love Uber, don’t take it away” and “Sharing is caring”.

RELATED: $1,100 Uber bill has Edmonton man calling for change

Derryn Donaghey was an Uber driver for nine months after he was laid off from his operations job with a professional soccer team.

He said he drives a variety of hours every week to support his three children and said that he’s dreading the March 1 deadline if the province does not approve the company’s insurance.

“As a driver, this is a source of income. For me, having to look elsewhere, it’s scary,” he said.

READ MORE: Edmonton ride-sharing upstart revved up to challenge Uber for street supremacy

Ramit Kar, general manager for Uber Alberta, said the province has not provided any indication as to why it has not approved the insurance policy it put forward with Intact Insurance.

“As far as we know…we’ve met all of the technical requirements that are required of an insurance policy. It’s now sitting at the political level. We’re just urging the politicians to act,” Kar said.

Kar said Uber will cease operations on March 1 if there is no change from the provincial government. If approval is given after the deadline, Kar said the framework is in place for Uber to start operating again.

READ MORE: ‘Uber can’t operate in Calgary’ under approved bylaw, says company spokesperson

“We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure we’re abiding by the bylaw,” Kar said.

Intact Insurance said in a statement it is ready to provide Canadians with ride-sharing insurance products that cover all Uber drivers and passengers as soon as it receives regulatory approval.

“We’ve been working proactively with insurance regulators in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec since August to develop simple and affordable products that fit the needs of Canadians. We are optimistic that products will be approved in these jurisdictions soon.

“The proposed commercial policy, which will be purchased by Uber, will cover all Uber drivers and passengers under one policy, from the time a ride is accepted to the time passengers exit the vehicle. We are also proposing to make adjustments to Intact Insurance and belairdirect personal auto policies to allow ride-sharing.”

© 2016 Shaw Media

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