Quebec proposes new offer to help taxi drivers under Bill 17 — including extra fees for clients

Quebec taxi drivers protest against new legislation to deregulate the industry, Friday, April 5, 2019 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Quebec Transport Minister Francois Bonnardel announced Monday the Coalition Avenir Québec government will provide an additional $270 million to compensate taxi drivers.

The change to Bill 17 comes in addition to the $500 million already offered by the province — and those who use taxis will help pay for it.

Bonnardel proposed a $0.90 royalty fee to every ride taken in taxi or ride-sharing service. The province says this temporary measure — which was initially $0.20 per ride — will provide the funds to compensate taxi drivers.

READ MORE: Quebec transport minister open to boosting compensation for taxi drivers

The government estimates that it will take between five to six years to make up the extra $270 million.

This latest offer brings the government’s offer to $770 million to taxi drivers. This comes in addition to the $44 million modernization fund from Uber, for a total of $814 million, to help cover the original price of taxi permit licenses.

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READ MORE: Hundreds of taxi drivers protest Bill 17 in Quebec City

The province’s latest offer is unacceptable and does little to benefit drivers and clients, according to a taxi driver representative.

“What I think, actually, is that it is totally ridiculous,” said Edgar El Kalani, treasurer for the Regroupement de Proprietaires de Taxi.

Taxi drivers are demanding that their permits be reimbursed at their pre-Uber value, which in some cases exceeds $200,000.

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Despite the mounting tension with taxi drivers, Bonnardel insists that Bill 17 can only help the industry and its drivers.

“When we tabled this law, we put multiple measures that would be good for them,” he said.

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Bonnardel said he is open to discussions with taxi drivers.

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