_ (Via City Solicitor Rick O’Connor) _ Mayor Watson and Members of Council,
Earlier this afternoon, the City was served with a Statement of Claim filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on behalf of members of the taxi industry.
In summary, the claim alleges that the City had a “direct and close relationship” with taxi plate owners and brokers and, as such, had a duty to more vigorously enforce the taxi regulatory scheme against Uber. The claim further alleges that the amendments to that regulatory scheme adopted in April 2016 were ultra vires of City Council, in that the City refused to consider the market value of existing taxi plates and the reliance that taxi plate owners and brokers had on maintaining the existing regulatory scheme. In effect, the claim appears to be founded on the view that the City had a legal obligation to maintain the status quo on behalf of taxi plate owners and brokers. In failing to do so, or to give those owners and brokers a “reasonable adjustment period” following the changes to the regulatory scheme, the City is alleged to have breached its legal obligations to the taxi industry. Among the various orders sought, the claim seeks damages of $215,000,000 on behalf of taxi plate owners and brokers.
As was noted both within the Report accompanying the proposed changes to the Taxi By-law, as well as the KPMG Policy Options Paper, the prospect of a novel legal claim, like the one attached, was contemplated at the time City Council considered the amendments to the Taxi By-law. Based on the rationale outlined in the comprehensive legal opinion prepared in support of Council’s consideration of those proposed changes, Legal Services remains confident in both the validity of the new taxi regulatory scheme, as well as in its position that the City was not, and is not, under a legal obligation to provide financial compensation for any loss in the notional or street value of a taxi licence as a result of the changes in the taxi regulatory scheme.
Accordingly, the claim will be vigorously defended and no public comments will be issued as this matter is now before the courts.
M. Rick O’Connor, CMO _ Certified Specialist (Municipal Law: Local Government) | Spécialiste agréé (Loi sur les municipalités: gouvernement local) _ _ City Clerk and Solicitor | Greffier de la Ville et chef du contentieux _ _ City of Ottawa | ville d’Ottawa _ http://www.slideshare.net/DevynBarrie/160812-statement-of-claim