Ottawa’s largest taxi company has decided to suspend its fleet insurance policy, which could further reduce the limited number of taxi drivers who are still operating in the region.
In a letter to drivers, taxi company Coventry Connections said that it had cancelled the taxi fleet insurance policy with Travelers Canada.
“As of May 31, 2020, you will no longer have insurance on your taxi. You will be responsible for sourcing your own insurance and providing proof of insurance to the city and to the company,” the letter said.
CTV News reported that the number of taxis operating in Ottawa has been reduced from 1,192 to 114 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that number could reduce even more now that Coventry Connections has dropped coverage, which is a requirement for taxi drivers to operate.
Coventry Connections operates three taxi services: Blue Line, Capital, and Westway Taxi.
In a statement to CTV News, Coventry Connections said that the decision to cancel was “due to non-payment of monthly insurance premiums.”
A union representing Ottawa taxi drivers said that there are only a couple of companies that offer the type of insurance required by taxis.
“It’s totally different regulations. If we can have similar regulations as ride-sharing, then it would be easy for us to shop around [for insurance],” said Unifor Local 1688 president Ali Enad.
Ride-hailing drivers only need to purchase insurance to cover for hours they will be working; by comparison, taxi drivers are mandated to purchase 24-hour commercial insurance.
Enad said that the union was “shocked” at Coventry Connections’ letter. The union president added that Unifor Local 1688 is calling for Ottawa to provide an interim plan, and that the group will continue to advocate for more lenient taxi regulations.
Emergency and Protective Services General Manager Anthony Di Monte said in a memo to the city council that the Director of Bylaw and Regulatory Services is working to ensure that taxi drivers that continue to offer their services remain fully insured.