We have finally had a decision by Justice H. A. Rady of the Ontario Superior court.
Unfortunately we did not win our application to have the new bylaw crushed. The decision has been uploaded to http://londontaxiassociation.ca/documents/ for your viewing.
Our lawyer, Paul Morrissey, sums it up best:
“Unfortunately, we did not win our application. We had a very strong presentation and positive feedback from the judge and had the city worried, but in the end, the judge was not convinced that the legal test, that the by-law had been passed in “bad faith”, was met. She found instead that the process had been “open and transparent” and had been preceded by two years of consultation and public input. She did not place weight on counselor Hubert’s misrepresentations, or the fact that the tariff does not accomplish its stated objective of a 15% differential. We think this was a mistake on the judge’s part.
Although we did not win, there are some positive things to take away from this:
1. For the first time, London taxi drivers, as a unified group, demonstrated that they were prepared to stand up for their rights and take legal action.
2. We have demonstrated that we can be and ARE a unified force and that we can speak with one voice
3. We have demonstrated that if we are threatened, we will bite back.
4. We have served notice on the city that we are alarmed. The city was very worried about this application and this was not a slam dunk for them- they were lucky to have survived this challenge.
5. While we did not prevail, we are not worse off than we were before in terms of fare differentials. They did not enforce the 15% differential before and they still do not. Meanwhile they are now aware that we are organizing to counteract this.
Now, we must maintain this momentum. We must not only remain organized, but continue to organize and bring in more members. This is important because only in a large group, speaking with a single unified voice, will we get their attention. This organization is essential for our survival as an industry. Right now we have 200 active members. We need to have 600 active members by the end of April . We need to sign up 100 members a week. The city needs to understand that this is a large, well funded and growing organization. Then we need to conduct a public information campaign. This might involve no taxis on the street one day. It might involve the London Free Press. And it will need to involve convincing counsel that immediate action must be taken to save an industry which is fundamental to London’s transportation infrastructure. We can only do this by continuing the momentum we now have.”