Quebec’s ministry of transport has plans in the works to rid the streets of taxi drivers with criminal records.
Provincial law restricts drivers from obtaining a taxi permit if they have been convicted (and not pardoned) of a criminal offence related to taxi service in the last five years.
But that rule has not been enforced.
Montreal taxi drivers are rarely asked to submit to a criminal record check and the government says it's time to make sure the law is being applied.
The proposal would require drivers applying for a taxi permit to submit a certificate proving they don’t have a criminal history.
The police background check would cost drivers a $70 fee.
The ministry is still in the process of deciding which crimes would warrant a taxi driver's license being rejected.
“It's more a preventive thing, because the taxi drivers are in contact with vulnerable persons, like seniors or young children,“ said Alexandra Reny, spokeswoman for Transports Québec.
Owner of Hochelaga-Beaubien Taxi, Dory Saliba, says the measures might help the industry improve its image.
But he said some drivers are concerned about the cost.
“The taxi drivers feel [they] always pay more than other industries.”
Transports Québec could not say when the new rules would be implemented.