A New Legal Risk for Tech-Forward Calgary Drivers

Uber, the driving app that's been taking the world by storm one shared ride at a time, has made it to Calgary. Many drivers in Calgary, especially younger and tech-forward drivers, are excited by the money-making potential the app gives them, but things might not be as simple, or as lucrative, as they seem.

According to a recent statement issued by Calgary's mayor, Naheed Nenshi, which was backed by other analyses, drivers in Calgary who accept payment for rides without having the appropriate insurance in place could face fines of up to $1,500.

"I strongly suggest that you don't drive for Uber and that you don't use Uber until the insurance and regulatory issues are sorted out," said Nenshi's statement, in part. If you drive for Uber, you should be aware that you are breaking the law."

The standard driver's insurance required for drivers in Calgary may not cover accidents or other incidents that occur while the driver is being paid, despite the fact that Uber considers its drivers independent operators rather than employees. This creates an issue that needs to be sorted out before the service should be used in Calgary, according to the mayor.

In response to Mayor Nenshi's statement, Uber spokesman Xavier Van Chau has said that the company will pay for any tickets Uber drivers receive, and that it will even provide legal assistance to drivers who run into trouble with Calgary law enforcement for participating in the app.

An offer to provide insurance to Uber drivers and their passengers does not appear to be forthcoming.