Taxicab and Limousine Regulation and Service Review

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Project status


In May of 2015, City Council approved the scope of a comprehensive review of the City’s taxicab and limousine regulations. This includes potential regulations to recognize the emergence of new hailing technologies and transportation-for-a-fee service models. In July, Council approved funding for the review as part of the City’s Strategic Initiatives. A Request for Proposals was issued and KPMG LLP was the successful proponent.

Having worked with the City of Ottawa and its predecessors for many years on a variety of complex projects and program reviews, KPMG has extensive knowledge, experience and skills in conducting this type of review, as well as modernizing service delivery models. KPMG has engaged three groups to assist in this review:

  • Mowat Centre: an independent public policy think tank and Ontario’s non-partisan, evidence-based voice on public policy. They have particular expertise in intergovernmental economic and social policy, which undertakes research, proposes innovative research-driven recommendations, and engages in public dialogue on issues of national importance; and,
  • Hara Associates: a firm of economists serving policy makers and regulators in North America, advising on policy and regulatory options, evaluating programs, and assessing economic impacts.
  • Core Strategies Inc: specializes in the analysis, development, and implementation of corporate and communications strategies and issues of public policy. It leads customer measurement programs and numerous other internal and external consultation processes.

Review mandate

To complete a comprehensive review of the City’s taxicab and limousine industries in respect of service delivery to residents and visitors, together with the City’s current regulatory framework for these sectors while recognizing the emergence of new hailing technologies and transportation-for-a-fee service models.

Three guiding principles:

  1. Public Safety – vehicle condition, insurance coverage, driver and other screening processes
  2. Accessibility – service delivery model that considers the aging population and meets the needs of the accessible community
  3. Consumer Protection – measures to protect both the passenger and the driver; means by which to establish reasonable fares for service; and thorough complaint resolution processes

Review timeline

Phase 1 – Research Phase - early September to mid-October

KPMG and its partners on the Ottawa Taxi and Limousine Regulations and Service Review are developing six discussion papers that will facilitate informed consideration and input on the potential changes to taxi and limousine regulation and service that will give you useful information in preparing your comments and suggestions.

In November, after some discussion of the Background Papers has occurred, a further document will be posted here providing:

Comments on the proposed options will be accepted until November 30, 2015.

Phase 2 – Consultation Phase – mid-September to early November

The consultation phase of the consultant’s review ended on November 30, 2015. Thank you to all those who provided comments or participated in a workshop or webinar. Your input will be considered as part of the development of the consultant’s final report.

Phase 3 –Analysis and Reporting Phase – November and December

Analysis of the research and the input from the consultations on the Policy Options paper will inform the development of the consultant’s final report. 

Phase 4 – Staff Analysis and Reporting – January to late March

The staff report related to the consultant’s final report is available on the Community and Protective Services Committee agenda (click on item 1). 

The Community and Protective Services Committee will consider staff recommendations at its meeting of April 7, 2016 at 10 a.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West.

Phase 5 – Council Consideration and Decisions

At its meeting of April 13, 2016, City Council considered the Community and Protective Services Committee recommendations resulting from its consideration of the staff report (noted in Phase 4 above).  City Council’s decisions are available in the Council minutes (reference item 3 – click on the title for more details).

In summary, Council approved the following:

  • A proposed framework to regulate Private Transportation Companies, such as Uber
  • Reducing regulatory barriers on taxis to allow them to be more competitive and innovative
  • Refining and updating limousine regulations.
  • Petitioning the Province:
  • to increase enforcement powers for municipalities and penalties for those who do not comply with regulations
  • for a mandatory accessibility levy on PTCs to support accessible transportation services

Council-approved by-law requirements to take effect September 30th, 2016:

Requirements common to all Vehicles-for-Hire

  1. Driver Screening: Police Records Check for Service with the Vulnerable Sector and a Statement of Driving Record
  2. new Vehicle Age Limit: 10 year-maximum age limit (except classic, vintage and specialty limousines)
  3. Safety Certification:  Annual MTO Safety Standards Certificate. Biannual inspection certificate for all vehicles over five years of age
  4. new Insurance: Minimum of $5 million commercial general liability insurance and $2 million motor vehicle insurance

Taxis specifically

  • The taxi industry plays an integral role in the public transportation network, providing a safe, professional, reliable and accessible 24/7 service in a regulated environment.
  • Taxi users will continue to have the ability to use cash, the ability to street hail and use taxi stands, and benefit from the knowing that the maximum fare for a trip is prescribed by the City Council
  • new Council-approved changes to the current taxi regulations, which allow for more competitive, innovative and modern taxi service, include:
  • Reducing the standard taxi driver license fee from $170 to $96
  • Waiving the accessible taxi driver license fee
  • Allowing taxi brokers to use variable pricing when the ride is prearranged using an app, up to a maximum amount prescribed in the by-law, and providing for nominal surcharges
  • Eliminating taxicab vehicle standards with respect to interior and trunk size, and window tinting
  • Eliminating the requirement for the Taxi Driver Education Program and the refresher training course (retaining the Accessible Taxicab Training Course)
  • Increasing the allowable vehicle age from 8 to 10 years, with authority delegated to the Chief License Inspector to disqualify a vehicle in the interest of public safety
  • Changing the requirement for in-vehicle cameras so that only minimum standards are specified, as determined by the Chief License Inspector
  • Eliminating the $1.50 credit card processing fee currently charged to passengers
  • Eliminating the uniform and street guide requirements

Limousines specifically

  • Council approved recommendations to modernize regulations for limousines
  • new Changes include:
  • Establishing an auxiliary service category that addresses other service models not in the current framework, such as special senior assistance services and “responsible choice”-type services
  • Refining the definition of limousine and realigning vehicle features to ensure vehicles are “luxury” and are distinguished from other vehicles for hire
  • Increasing the minimum fares

Private Transportation Companies specifically new category

  • Council approved new regulations for Private Transportation Companies (PTCs) that will ensure public safety and consumer protection
  • The new regulations are in line with both KPMG’s and the Competition Bureau’s recommendations pertaining to PTCs, which were to retain only those regulations that are necessary to meet Council’s public policy goals – this approach also provides greater consumer choice
  • With the PTC business model, there is a buyer beware approach for residents who use an app to book a ride from an individual driver using his or her private vehicle by means of the PTC app, although Council has established baseline consumer protection and public safety standards
  • The requirements for PTCs include:
  • A license fee that includes a per-trip charge of 11 cents, and an annual license fee that reflects the size of the company – up to $7253 a year
  • The requirement that rides can only be procured through an app and must be pre-arranged – drivers will not be able to use taxi stands or accept street hails, nor will they be able to accept cash payments
  • Common requirements to those of the taxi industry (as noted above) such as:
    • maximum vehicle age of 10 years
    • mandatory police records checks and statements of driving records for drivers
    • mandatory vehicle safety inspections
    • minimum $5 million in Commercial General Liability and $2 million motor vehicle insurance, together with a requirement that all PTC drivers obtain the appropriate automobile insurance for part-time drivers providing transportation services for compensation
  • Authority has also been delegated to the General Manager of Emergency and Protective Services to negotiate a voluntary per-ride accessibility surcharge