Taxis, Licensing and Appeals motion for March 7

I will be making the following motion, hopefully at tomorrow’s Council, if not at the following.

Reason:

What citizens in HRM value is a taxi system that is safe for all. It is important that the public both know and feel the taxi system in HRM is safe. People should only be licensed to drive a cab if they contribute to the fact and perception of the public that the taxi system is safe for all, and not if the driver’s actions detract from that perception.

Taxi drivers have a duty of care, and must conduct themselves at all times in a manner which will maintain the good reputation of the taxi system and its ability to serve the public interest. The taxi system is a publicly regulated system, and no one has a right to a license. The grant of license is a privilege that can be revoked at any time. HRM must take every step to ensure that what citizens value is protected and the highest standards maintained.

The administration and oversight of licensing appeals, including taxi licenses, is technically difficult and beyond the training and experience of most Councillors. The process of license appeals should be reviewed and amended to reflect that.

Motion for Council to Consider:

That Regional Council request a staff report that contains options, recommendations and best practices regarding:

  1. amending the means by which Council manages appeals of licensing decisions, including but not limited to considering:
    1. changing in scope of responsibility of the Appeals Committee, to be clarified and possibly reduced to a strict reviews of process,
    2. transferring license review responsibility to a new tribunal for license appeals composed of lawyers and those with licensing experience,
    3. transferring license review responsibility to the UARB.
  2. strengthening standards of conduct in the Taxi By Law and clarifying the requirement for interim and permanent suspensions of licenses if these standards are not met.
  3. Request the Mayor write a letter to the Minister of Justice requesting clarity regarding whether the UARB could be responsible for license review.
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