Last year, the Quebec government passed Bill 17, which deregulates the taxi industry across the province. Coming into effect this October, the measure enables ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to enter and expand across the entire region. As part of an ongoing pilot program started in 2016, the company’s services are currently available in Montreal, Quebec, and Gatineau.
The company’s presence in Quebec has been controversial, as taxi drivers have held numerous protests over the past several years, saying the app poses a threat to their industry. Quebec, which makes up 24% of the Canada’s population, was hit hard by the coronavirus crisis in the country and began to reopen its economy in May. As of last fall, the province had committed $40 million in aid for taxi permit owners as it made way for Uber to set up shop.
Jonathan Hamel, Quebec public affairs manager at Uber, says he has “felt the pulse of Quebec” in recent months and has found that high demand justifies expanding its service across the province. “We are excited about the opportunity to provide more Quebecers with access to safe, affordable and reliable rides,” Hamel said in a statement Wednesday.