December 1, 2017
City of Winnipeg Recommends Streamlined and Modernized Framework for Vehicle for Hire Industry in Winnipeg
Released: 1:03 p.m.
Winnipeg, MB – Today, the City of Winnipeg Public Service released a report outlining a recommended regulatory framework for the vehicle for hire industry within Winnipeg, which would take effect on February 28, 2018 when the responsibility formally transfers to the municipal government from the Province of Manitoba. The framework focuses on four key pillars:
- Passenger Safety
- Driver Safety
- Consumer Protection
- Accessibility for all Citizens
The proposed Vehicles for Hire By-law is a made-in-Winnipeg solution based on examination of models that exist across the country. The proposed City of Winnipeg By-law would streamline and modernize vehicle for hire regulations, and is designed to be as non-intrusive as possible so that competition can influence how the industry evolves and innovates. The proposed By-law would also allow Personal Transportation Providers (PTPs) such as Uber and Lyft to operate legally within the City of Winnipeg. The By-law proposes requirements that would support passenger and driver safety and increase accessible options for passengers.
Some of the key highlights of the Vehicles for Hire By-law include:
- Increasing the taxi license supply and creating a formula that will adapt to population growth.
- Enabling PTPs such as Uber and Lyft to operate within Winnipeg.
- 24/7 on-street enforcement.
- Requiring licensing of dispatchers, who have not previously been licensed, and imposing reporting and other requirements on them.
- Setting a maximum taxi fare rather than a mandatory fare, which would allow taxi service providers to compete on price with PTPs by allowing them to negotiate lower fares with their passengers.
- Allowing existing taxi licenses (standard and accessible) and existing taxi driver’s licenses to be transitioned into the new By-law structure to minimize disruption to the taxi industry.
- Imposing the same tough new criminal and driving record background checks on taxi and PTP drivers.
- Creating a five-member Vehicle for Hire Appeal Board appointed by Council.
The Report also recommends that the administration of the Vehicles for Hire By-law and associated industry licensing and enforcement be placed with the Winnipeg Parking Authority. License fees are being set to achieve full cost recovery and no budgetary impact to the City, with the appropriate budget and staff being added to the Winnipeg Parking Authority’s 2018 operating budget.
The City of Winnipeg has conducted extensive stakeholder engagement over the past few months, receiving feedback from approximately 280 stakeholders including the taxi industry, potential PTP dispatchers, and organizations which have a direct stake in the industry. While not all feedback was incorporated, it was invaluable to shaping the Vehicles for Hire By-law. It is envisioned that future changes to the By-law will be necessary and stakeholder engagement will continue as we move forward.
The Administrative report will be considered by Executive Policy Committee on Wednesday, December 6, 2017.
Financial position shows improvement as City anticipates $1.7 million year-end surplus, up from $0.4 million in September projections
Released: 3:58 p.m.
Winnipeg, MB – The City of Winnipeg’s latest Financial Status Report cites a year-end projected surplus in the tax-supported operating budget (General Revenue Fund) of $1.7 million as at October 31, 2017, and represents a $1.3 million improvement over the September projections. Based on the projected surplus, no additional transfer from the Financial Stabilization Reserve Fund is anticipated at this time.
To address a shortfall in the tax-supported operating budget, a cost mitigation strategy was proposed and implemented that includes a hiring freeze, restrictions on discretionary departmental spending including the use of external consultants and conference related travel, as well as limiting other discretionary spending. These cost mitigation measures are projected to total $9.5 million in 2017.
In June 2017, a new collective agreement approved by Council with the Winnipeg Police Association, contributed nearly $4 million in savings from the Winnipeg Police Service budget in 2017, but these savings are reduced to $1.8 million, in part due to lower provincial funding for the cadet program and police helicopter.
In September 2017, Council approved Winnipeg Transit’s requested over-expenditure of $10.7 million along with the approval of additional deficit elimination measures to help fund its deficit over and above those identified as part of the City’s cost mitigation strategy. That included approximately $6.1 million in changes to capital project budgets and a $1 million draw from retained earnings. Including the previously identified cost mitigation measures and slight improvements to Winnipeg Transit’s most recent financial projection, the anticipated additional contribution from the tax-supported operating budget has been reduced to $0.9 million.
The City is still in discussions with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority regarding funding for ambulance services for 2017 and future years. However, it is the City’s understanding that if funding is held at 2016 levels, it could impact future forecasts.
“The City entered 2017 facing a shortfall in the budget. As we approach the end of the fiscal year, I wish to commend the departments on their continued efforts to control expenses and find operational efficiencies in an effort to end the year in a balanced position,” said Councillor Scott Gillingham, Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Finance. “We will continue to keep a tight watch on our expenditures, as changes in provincial funding related to ambulance service could impact future forecasts.”
The Public Service will continue to closely monitor its expenses over the remainder of the year. The City’s financial update is publicly available through the Decision Making Information System (DMIS).