Toronto: City Considers Yanking Cabbie Licences on Criminal Convictions or Serious Criminal Charges


Presently the Taxicab Industry is Under Review by the City of Toronto's The Municipal Licensing and Standards Division.
Taxicabs lined up at a taxicab stand.  Presently the Taxicab Industry is Under Review by the City of Toronto’s The Municipal Licensing and Standards Division. The Review will be completed in 2013.

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The City of Toronto will look at pulling the licence of criminal cabbies or even those just accused of a serious crime.

The licensing committee voted Thursday to look at the crack down.

Licensing staff should have the authority to immediately suspend taxi licenses if they believe the suspension is “in the public interest” with no right of appeal to the Toronto Licensing Tribunal, Councillor Glenn said.

“Staff should have the right to pull your licence if they think that it is in the public interest,” De Baeremaeker said. “If they think you pose a threat to the public, for the health and safety of people getting into a cab, our people should be able to pull your licence immediately.”

He also wants drivers to be unable to appeal a suspension if they’ve been charged with any serious crimes including sexual offences, terrorism and murder.

Drivers who aren’t convicted would get their licence back, De Baeremaeker said.

A convicted terrorist could get a taxi license in the city after a five-year delay, the Scarborough councillor said.

“(Presently) there is only one offence you can commit, that’s a sexual assault against a minor, that means you can never drive a cab again,” he said. De Baeremaeker argued the city should be able to suspend cab licenses even without a conviction.

“I don’t think it is hard-line, I think it is a reasonable line,” he said. “Staff said today there are people out there today who have been convicted of sexual assault who are driving a cab — that’s not who you want driving a cab.”

The Taxicab Passenger Bill of Rights and the Tariff Notice will be updated upon completion of the review.
The Taxicab Passenger Bill of Rights and the Tariff Notice will be updated upon completion of the review.

A staff report on the issue is due back in September.

The same committee also voted to have staff look at mandatory taxi shields as a way to protect drivers and to have staff look at mandating a standard taxi vehicle that would ensure driver safety, passenger comfort and accessibility.

Councillor Janet Davis urged the committee to poll taxi drivers about mandatory shields.

Davis argued driving a taxi was “one of the riskiest jobs anywhere” and dismissed arguments against shields.

“You cannot convince me for one moment that a taxi shield is going to dissuade tourists from coming to Toronto,” she said.

Councillor Anthony Perruzza balked at the idea of shields in the city’s taxis.

“I’ve been in cabs where you have that shield and I have to tell you, it’s an awful experience,” he said.

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