North Grenville council passed a resolution at their last meeting to amend the bylaw governing taxi drivers and cars for hire in the municipality. Previously, the bylaw dictated that any taxi company operating in the municipality had to have $5 million in commercial general liability insurance. Upon review, the municipality’s new senior by-law officer, Luc Ouellette, recommended that this insurance requirement be lowered to $2 million to reflect industry standard. Officer Ouellette noted that no insurance companies in Ontario would provide $5 million in insurance to a taxi company or driver, and that the bylaw might act as a barrier to people wanting to offer this service in the municipality. He also said that the $2 million minimum for insurance is standard across many other municipalities in the surrounding area.
Councillor John Barclay said that, having worked on the issue during his early days on council, the $5 million in insurance was detrimental to the taxi company that was operating at the time. “That it’s a barrier to having taxi companies who run in North Grenville is an understatement, because it was an onerous requirement for the existing taxi company at the time,” he said. “So, it’s great that we are reviewing bylaws and making them more compatible to what the reality is here in North Grenville.”
Director of Emergency and Protective Services, John Okum, said the amendment to the bylaw will allow potential taxi companies to operate within the parameters of the insurance industry, and the Municipality of North Grenville. He noted that the bylaw is still quite extensive and provides adequate protection to the community by requiring them to review specific documents like safety checks, insurance, and vulnerability checks on the person driving. “It ensures that a potential business person is providing safe and reliable service in our community,” he said.
Director Okum confirmed that there are no current licensed taxi companies in North Grenville. However, Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman noted that, before the pandemic hit, he had a conversation with one of the executives of Lyft who was interested in expanding their services into North Grenville. “They are interested and, hopefully, we can resume that, really just to give people more options,” he said. “Especially in a rural town community, it’s difficult to get around if you don’t have a vehicle.”
Mayor Peckford echoed the Deputy Mayor’s comments, saying that she believes there should be more transportation options in a municipality that is both urban and rural. “I think it would be very welcome to see some other activity on that front,” she said.
Hilary Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times