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Quebec government ordered to pay $219 million to former taxi permit holders

by HR Law Canada

The Superior Court of Quebec has ordered the Quebec government to pay more than $219 million in compensation to former taxi permit holders, acknowledging the illegal expropriation of their permits to accommodate ride-sharing giant Uber.

Justice Silvana Conte’s decision highlights the financial impact on taxi permit holders, for whom these permits often represented their most valuable asset. The court concluded that the government’s actions constituted illegal expropriation, depriving permit holders of fair compensation, according to a press release issued by the law firm Trudel Johnston & Lespérance. It represented the plaintiffs in this action.

The judgment accounts for the loss in value of the permits from Sept. 9, 2016, the date when the government initiated a pilot project with Uber. This move, according to the court, marked the beginning of the expropriation process, culminating in the complete abolition of the permit system in October 2019.

“The decision validates the sense of profound injustice experienced by permit owners,” said Me Mathieu Charest-Beaudry, one of the lawyers for the class. “It awards significant compensation as a result.”

Dama Metellus, who has represented class members since 2016, expressed his belief that the injustice needed to be addressed.

“Compensating permit holders on the basis of the acquisition price rather than the market value meant that those who bought their permits long ago received less for exactly the same property. It didn’t make any sense,” he said.

Despite the substantial compensation awarded, the court did not grant the full amount claimed. Lawyers for the class are considering an appeal to address the decrease in value of the permits between 2014 and 2016, they said.

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