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Uber files legal challenge against Toronto driver cap in escalating battle

Ridesharing giant Uber is asking an Ontario court to throw out a bylaw that capped the number of its drivers allowed to operate in Toronto.

A notice of application filed by Uber Canada against the City of Toronto with an Ontario Superior Court of Justice alleges the city failed to properly consult over the bylaw and engaged in bad faith.

It also calls the cap discriminatory.

Responding to the news Uber had taken legal action, Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow said the cap helps with congestion and emissions.

The lawsuit comes in response to an October council decision in which the city froze and capped how many drivers Uber and other ridesharing companies could have in the city.

It meant the number of people registered to drive people around the city with the app could not exceed its October total.

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The city said the freeze was part of its push to curb transportation emissions in the city and would be in place while it pursued a wider strategy.

The cap was welcomed as an “encouraging” first step by one local taxi operator, who said the same policies have been applied to them for years.

Uber has repeatedly linked the cap to Mayor Chow, calling it both “arbitrary” and “illegal.”

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The legal documents filed by the company claim the city failed to provide notice it would be implementing a driver cap, ignoring its own procedures in the process. The rideshare giant called the move an “ambush.”

The document alleges the city failed to use either the committee process or list the plan on council agenda in advance.

They argue Chow had planned to introduce the cap months before the motion was introduced. Relying on documents obtained through freedom of information laws, Uber alleged the mayor’s office had planned to introduce the cap “as early as August.”

Chow said she couldn’t comment on something before the courts and said it would be for city lawyers to address.

In a short statement, the city said it was in the process of reviewing the application and “cannot provide any further comment as the matter is before the courts.”

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The documents also allege the cap is a bad faith move and “a targeted policy aimed at halting Uber’s growth in Toronto.”

The allegations in Uber’s notice of application have not been tested in court.

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