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'It's not enough': Ride-share drivers hold protest for fairer wages across Canada


Some ride-share drivers in Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver logged off for the day in protest of what they call unfair labour and business practices by Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash.

At Nathan Phillips Square on Wednesday morning, more than a dozen drivers were seen holding signs calling for fairer wages in the face of huge profits by the companies they work for.

In a statement to CTV News Toronto Wednesday evening, Uber Canada said about 20 drivers rallied outside its Toronto office today – representing about 0.038 per cent of all licensees in the city.

The protest followed the release of a recent report by advocacy group RideFair, which suggested that ride-share drivers in Toronto made a median of $6.37 per hour last year.

“Most drivers are making less than half of [Ontario] minimum wage,” Earla Phillips, a ride-share driver and vice-president of the Rideshare Drivers Association of Ontario, told CP24 at the protest.

In a statement, Uber Canada said on average, drivers in Toronto made $33.35 an hour during “engaged time” per hour before tips last quarter. 

Therein lies the problem, Phillips said, as drivers are not paid for the time it takes to travel to the passenger or the time they spend on the app waiting for customers.

“[That $33.35 is] for an engaged hour and that’s only the time that we have a passenger in our vehicle,” she said.

“It’s not good enough because it’s only for an engaged hour.”

Phillips said drivers are, among other things, looking for a per kilometre wage increase comparable to the rates in Niagara, Kingston, and Windsor where she says drivers make 50 per cent more per kilometre.

Ride-share drivers in Toronto protest what they call unfair wages on Feb. 14, 2024.

Wednesday’s protest in Toronto was one of three in Canada, as demonstrations also took place in Winnipeg and Vancouver.

In the U.S, ride-share drivers in at least 44 cities are expected to keep the app closed today, according to RideFair.

Ride-share drivers in Ontario are also calling for stronger measures from their government to protect them from the alleged exploitation. Currently, drivers in the province are classified as contractors, and don’t have the same protections as employees.

'A really raw deal'

Speaking to CP24, NDP MPP Chris Glover called the agreement between ride-share companies and their workers “a really raw deal” and called on the Progressive Conservative government to rescind Bill 88, the Working for Workers Act, which he says is making things worse.

“There was a tribunal decision that said that Uber and Lyft gig workers are misclassified as contractors. They're actually employees, entitled to protections under the Employment Standards Act,” Glover explained.

“So the [Progressive] Conservative government, what they did is they passed Bill 88, which created a new subclass of workers called gig workers and these gig workers are not entitled to the protections under the Employment Standards Act.”

In a statement issued to CTV News Toronto earlier this week, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Labour said it recognizes that the “way we work is changing” and has made changes to reflect the evolution of ride-share work in the province.

“That is why our government is leading the way, with Ontario being the very first province in Canada to introduce core rights to gig workers who offer rides or deliver food for companies such as Uber and DoorDash,” the statement read.

Late last year, the City of Toronto introduced a ride-share licence cap in an effort to limit the number of drivers in the downtown core at any given time, a move that was supported by RideFair TO, which said the move would allow current licence holders to earn more.

The cap was eventually rescinded after Uber Canada threatened legal action. The issue will be brought before council again in March.

Pearson airport warns of ride-share shortage due to protest

Outside of the downtown core, officials at Toronto Pearson International Airport warned the stock of ride-share drivers may be limited due to the protests and encouraged travellers to plan ahead.

“Just a friendly reminder that other travel options to and from the airport include Taxi and Limo services, the Union Pearson Express, and public transit routes that connect the airport to Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton and beyond,” the airport said in a tweet.

For its part, Uber says that protests like the one on Wednesday “rarely” impact trips, prices or driver availability.

In an updated statement Wednesday evening, Uber confirmed it saw “no impact” to its operations or reliability for Toronto riders.

“Our data found that the number of drivers that completed a trip today so far is the same number if drivers from last Wednesday,” the spokesperson said. Top Stories

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