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Quebec to re-open talks with Uber ahead of Saturday deadline

13 Octobre 2017

MONTREAL-The ride-sharing company Uber has backed off a threat to cease operations in Quebec due to more stringent training requirements and criminal background checks for drivers.

But the time it will take to phase in those rules will allow both sides to negotiate, the company said.

"We recognize there is an opportunity to establish a constructive dialogue aimed at finding a lasting solution for riders and drivers in Quebec", Uber Quebec general manager Jean-Nicolas Guillemette said in a statement.

Transport Minister Andre Fortin indicated the province is standing by those changes, adding in a separate statement Friday the new requirements are a matter of fairness and safety.

In addition to the 35 hours of training - up from the 20 hours required under an Uber pilot project that began one year ago - the company will be required to have municipal police forces conduct criminal background checks on drivers and subject vehicles to a mechanical inspection each year.

Any drivers who join Uber after October 15 will have eight months to submit to a background check.

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For the previous year, Uber has been operating legally under a pilot-project, the terms of which were under review when the company announced it would pull out of the province.

Premier Philippe Couillard said early Thursday that while the province will keep talking with the company, it would not "submit to a multinational".

If the new rules come into effect, Quebec will be the only Canadian jurisdiction where Uber operates that requires drivers to do training. Quebec said the goal is to level the playing field and make Uber drivers and taxi drivers work under the same basic conditions.

"If there is some modification made with Uber, the same should apply to the cab drivers too", he said.

Fortin, 35, has been transport minister for three days.

Uber had said those regulations were too restrictive and threatened to pull out of Quebec on Saturday, but after a meeting with the new Transportation Minister André Fortin, the company has chose to stay.

Quebec to re-open talks with Uber ahead of Saturday deadline