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A look at Uber’s controversial history in Quebec

Click to play video: 'Uber threatens to leave Quebec again' Uber threatens to leave Quebec again
WATCH: Uber is planning to cease operations in Quebec starting Oct. 14, saying it is not happy with the imposed regulations on drivers. Global's Tim Sargeant reports – Sep 26, 2017

Uber has announced it plans to cease operations in Quebec, saying it has been unable to come to an agreement with the provincial government about regulations.

This isn’t the first time Uber has threatened to leave the province.

READ MORE: Uber threatens to leave Quebec if government regulates services

After hearing that the province was planning to impose stricter laws last year, the company argued it would need to close its bureau.

When asked how it felt about Uber’s threat to leave, the Quebec government seemed indifferent.

READ MORE: Uber announces it is planning to leave Quebec

“If an international company is saying ‘you go my way or I’m leaving,’ I would just say ‘well, it’s too bad,’” said Jacques Daoust, then minister of transport, in May 2016.

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READ MORE: Taxi drivers take matters into their own hands, egg Uber cars

Uber launched its services in Montreal in 2014, and it’s been a tumultuous few years for both the ride-hailing company and the taxi industry as a whole.

WATCH BELOW: Undercover Uber driver

Click to play video: 'Undercover Uber driver' Undercover Uber driver
Undercover Uber driver – Feb 10, 2016

Montreal’s taxi bureau started cracking down on the company in March 2015.

READ MORE: Montreal taxi authorities crack down on ride-sharing service Uber

At the same time, the city of Montreal and province of Quebec announced the service was illegal because drivers don’t have permits and therefore don’t have to adhere to the same rules.

By summer, war had been declared between taxi and Uber drivers — including protests, fights and even eggs.

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WATCH BELOW: Montreal taxis egg Uber driver

Click to play video: 'RAW: Montreal taxis egg Uber driver' RAW: Montreal taxis egg Uber driver
RAW: Montreal taxis egg Uber driver – Feb 17, 2016

Taxi drivers argued that they were losing clients and it was difficult for them to compete with online companies.

In July 2015, Quebec taxi drivers met with then-Quebec transport minister Robert Poeti to request that he regulate business standards so all companies will have the same opportunities.

READ MORE: Taxi drivers asks Transport Minister to regulate industry

By the winter, Uber had started striking back, creating a petition of its followers and sharing stories of Quebecers who rely on its services.

WATCH BELOW: Montreal taxi drivers protest Uber

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After several in Quebec City hearings, the Quebec government and Uber announced in September 2016 they had reached an agreement in principle on a pilot project to allow the ride-hailing service to continue operating.

READ MORE: Montreal taxi drivers protest ‘lack of progress’ on regulating Uber

Uber had said it was ready to pay provincial and federal taxes but insisted its drivers needed more flexibility to create their own schedules and argued they shouldn’t have to pay for expensive taxi permits.

Even so, a coalition representing taxi drivers filed several injunctions to have the deal suspended, as well as deem the service illegal.

WATCH BELOW: Injunctions against Uber denied

Each time, the request was denied.

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READ MORE: Uber presents details of one-year pilot project in Quebec

By October 2016, Quebec’s pilot project with Uber was given the green light, despite the company saying it was scared to lose drivers because of “restrictive and complex” regulations.

READ MORE: Taxi industry fails to block Uber pilot project in Quebec

Now, with the renewal of the pilot project on the line, Uber insists it cannot adhere to the Quebec’s rules, saying they are the strictest in the country.

Uber says if the government doesn’t “change its mind,” it will cease operations Oct. 14.

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

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