Saskatoon reviewing proposal to require criminal record checks for taxi, ride-hailing drivers

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WATCH: Saskatoon is reviewing the idea behind proposed criminal record checks and other rules for taxi and ride-hailing drivers at city council on Monday – Dec 16, 2018

Taxis will soon be sharing the road with the likes of Uber and Lyft after Saskatchewan gave its approval to ride-hailing services just over a week ago.

However, municipalities get to determine how and when these ride-hailing services begin.

Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa have both taxis and ride-hailing services that bring passengers where they need to go, and each city sets its own rules for drivers.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan rideshare rules take effect Dec. 14, pending municipal bylaws

Saskatoon city council will be reviewing bylaws on Monday that could dictate who will be allowed on the roads.

Mayor Charlie Clark posted on Facebook that council will be looking at fees, minimum fares and vehicle inspections for the ride-hailing services.

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But it’s the proposal of a criminal record check for drivers that has the Canadian Civil Liberties Association raising its voice.

READ MORE: Insurance pit stops still exist on road to Sask. ride sharing

Abby Deshman, director of the criminal justice program with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said a vulnerable sector check shouldn’t be applied to drivers.

“The truth is predicting what someone will do in the future is almost impossible. You can’t tell based on a criminal record if someone is going to go out and commit a violent offence,” Deshman said.

“You can’t tell based on what they have done in the past what they will do in the future.”

READ MORE: Saskatoon city committee debates ride-sharing regulations

She added there need to be more jobs available to those with previous criminal convictions.

“When businesses do use them and exclude people from employment, we’re really undermining community safety,” Deshman said.

“We need people to have stable jobs when they’ve had prior justice involvement. We need people to have an income to be able to find a place to live.”

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READ MORE: “We just want it to be fair and safe” – taxis, municipalities prepare for ride sharing in Saskatchewan

Provincial rules for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft went into effect on Dec. 14.

Companies will need to hold at least $1 million in liability coverage for all drivers and vehicles.

However, it will be up to municipalities to determine their own local ride-hailing bylaws.

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