Uber backs off threatened weekend shutdown in Quebec

Montreal taxis hold emergency meeting

Montreal taxis hold emergency meeting

Ride-hailing service Uber is backing down on a threat to shutter its Quebec operations, at least for now.

The ride-hailing company wants the government to ease up on proposed regulations that would require drivers to undergo 35 hours of training and have criminal background checks done by a police force.

But in a statement Friday, Uber said it received information that it would take a few months to enforce the training requirement after the rules come into effect. In the meantime, the company said, it is willing to continue negotiating with the government.

"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. "Whether a specific private company decides to operate within it, it's not for me to be for or against that", Fortin told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

Guillemette warned last month that Uber's business model is built on part-time drivers who would be put off by such an intensive training course as a prerequisite to taking customers.

"The point is not for us to submit to a multi-national", Couillard said.

Fortin did make a small edit to Quebec's framework on Uber: new drivers have eight weeks (after Sunday) to get a criminal background check done.

Couillard insisted that re-opening negotiations with the company did not mean the province would give in to Uber's demands.

For the a year ago, 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. He replaced Laurent Lessard in Wednesday's cabinet shuffle.

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.

Clarification: A previous version of this story stated that under last year's pilot project, Uber drivers had to undergo 20 hours of training.

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