Businesses such as Uber and Lyft can now set up in communities in Saskatchewan to help ensure there's always a safe ride home. 

“We have been advocates of this since it first became a discussion here in Saskatchewan,” said MADD Canada Regional Manager, Michelle Okere. “Obviously we have it in many other jurisdictions that we work in across the country.”

Okere said the option does improve the impaired driving numbers.

“We have seen as much as a five percent drop in impaired driving in jurisdictions that do have rideshare options,” she said.

“It’s really exciting, we do want to see more options on the road,” said Okere. “It’s not about ridesharing or cabs or public transportation, it’s about having a variety of options for people, especially in peak times.”

Okere explained the measures MADD has taken to advocate for the legislation.

“We actually took an OpEd last year, encouraging them to ensure that they had regulations that would work for ridesharing companies, to ensure that they are able to work in the cities across our province,” she explained.

The regulations will take effect on December 14, 2018.

“Saskatchewan has some of the strongest impaired driving legislation in the country, but in addition to having effective legislation and strong penalties, it is crucial to ensure the availability of safe, convenient and reliable transportation options,” Okere said. “By establishing provincial rules to enable ridesharing, the Government of Saskatchewan is providing a framework for an industry that will provide more safe rides and be an effective partner in the effort to end impaired driving.”

The Minister Responsible for SGI, Joe Hargrave, said the decision has been made after much due diligence.

“After extensive consultation with numerous stakeholders – including rideshare and taxi companies, municipalities and law enforcement – SGI has developed a provincial framework that strikes a good balance between public demand and safety,” Hargrave said. “Ridesharing will provide Saskatchewan residents more ways to get around in the province, and another option for planning a safe ride home.”

According to SGI, rideshare drivers transporting passengers will have the option to use a commercial class license (Class 1-4), or a Class 5 license if they meet certain conditions.

All drivers transporting passengers for hire will be required to pass annual criminal record checks and have their vehicles inspected annually. If opting for a Class 5 license, only drivers who meet certain additional conditions, including having a safe driving record, will be allowed to work as a rideshare driver.

Rideshare drivers using a Class 5 license must be an experienced driver, not in the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. They must have at least two years post-GDL driving experience in Canada or a reciprocal jurisdiction and have a satisfactory driver history (meaning less than 12 points under the Driver Improvement Program in the last two years, and no impaired driving-related suspensions in the last 10 years).

Taxi and limousine drivers will have the same driver’s license options as rideshare drivers. They can continue to transport passengers for hire using a Class 4 license, or they can use a Class 5 license if they meet the above requirements.

Rideshare companies will be required to hold at least $1 million liability coverage for all affiliated drivers and vehicles.

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