Ridesharing legislation approved in Sask.; companies like Uber, Lyft could operate this year

Ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft will soon be able to operate in Saskatchewan, after the government announced the approval of regulations in the province.

Months after unveiling the Vehicles for Hire Act and touting it as another tool to combat the high impaired driving numbers in Saskatchewan, the province announced Thursday that ridesharing regulations will take effect Dec. 14.

“Saskatchewan has some of the strongest impaired driving legislation in the country, but in addition to having effective legislation and strong penalties, it is crucial to ensure the availability of safe, convenient and reliable transportation options,” MADD Canada regional manager Michelle Okere said in a statement.

The Vehicles for Hire Act allows ridesharing companies to operate in Saskatchewan, but gives municipalities responsibility for issuing licences, deciding how licences are allocated, who can drive a rideshare vehicle, setting standards for the vehicles themselves, and setting fees, rates or fares.

“After extensive consultation with numerous stakeholders — including rideshare and taxi companies, municipalities and law enforcement — SGI has developed a provincial framework that strikes a good balance between public demand and safety,” Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave said in a statement.

According to the province, rideshare drivers transporting passengers will have the option to use a commercial class licence or a Class 5 licence if they meet conditions, among them a safe driving record (including less than 12 points in the previous two years under the province’s driver improvement program), no impaired driving-related suspensions in the previous decade, and being at least two years removed from the graduated driver licensing program.

Taxi and limousine drivers will have the same driver’s licence options as rideshare drivers.

Companies must hold at least $1 million liability coverage for all affiliated drivers and vehicles, the province said.

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