Transportation Network Company regulation and insurance driven by safety and fairness
The Government of Alberta has developed a framework to allow Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) to operate in a fair manner, while maintaining safe roads.
The ministries of Transportation and Treasury Board and Finance have worked with the ride-for-hire industry, the insurance sector, municipalities and other stakeholders to develop appropriate insurance coverage, licensing and police information checks that will allow TNCs to operate in Alberta.
One of the amendments in Bill 16, the Transportation Safety Amendment Act that received legislative approval during the spring 2016 legislative session, allows the Government of Alberta to regulate the responsibilities of TNC companies and their drivers.
The regulation defines five key aspects regarding TNCs by:
- clarifying the scope and obligations TNCs must undertake to operate in Alberta;
- specifying that all TNC drivers must have a Class 1, 2 or 4 driver’s licence;
- establishing minimum standards for an acceptable police check, including a vulnerable sector check;
- defining insurance requirements; and
- providing legal definitions of TNCs, TNC driver and other related terms.
“Our primary goal is to ensure all of Alberta’s road users – drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists – are safe. This regulation provides clear rules and guidelines for Transportation Network Companies who want to operate in our province.”
This regulation will be in effect province wide starting July 1, 2016* and will work in conjunction with, not in place of, local municipal bylaws governing TNCs.
Alberta’s Superintendent of Insurance has also approved a new insurance solution designed for TNCs and their drivers.
A new policy, Alberta Standard Automobile Form – Transportation Network S.P.F. No. 9 (SPF9), is now available for TNCs. The product will be available to insurance companies licensed in Alberta on July 1, 2016. TNCs may purchase the policy through a participating insurance agent or broker.
The policy will cover all TNC drivers from the moment they log into their TNC’s mobile app to provide rides for hire.
Although not part of the Alberta government’s primary insurance solution – the SPF9 – two insurance companies are also expected to begin offering TNC driver endorsements this summer.
Nine amendments to the Traffic Safety Act clarified regulations for some transportation operations and enforcement regulations. These amendments established regulations for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), modified rules related to impaired driving (e.g. exemptions from the Ignition Interlock Program) and addressed minor inconsistencies in the current legislation.
Most sections of the Traffic Safety Act came into effect in 2003. A review of the Traffic Safety Act began in 2012. Due to the complexity of the review, it was divided into multiple phases. The Bill 16 amendments represented Phase 2.
Alberta Transportation consulted extensively with stakeholders and traffic safety partners to develop these amendments.
Alberta is the first Canadian province to develop a new policy form designed specifically for TNCs.
The new insurance policy provides adequate access to insurance protection and benefits in the event of an accident.
The insurance will cover statutory Accident Benefits for all three periods:
- Period 1 begins when the TNC driver activates the TNC app with no passengers, providing $1 million in contingent third-party liability, with no collision or comprehensive coverage.
- Periods 2 and 3 are activated when fare is accepted and when the TNC driver has picked up a passenger. These periods provide $2 million in third-party liability coverage, with optional collision or comprehensive coverage.
Anyone driving for a TNC is encouraged to speak to their insurance broker, agent or company to fully understand how their own policy interacts with the SPF9 coverage.
- One product, an endorsement form for TNC drivers, provides additional insurance coverage for the TNC driver who works less than 20 hours a week.
- A second endorsement from a different insurance company provides insurance coverage for the period when the driver has logged into the app but has not yet confirmed a fare.
- These products are different from the new Standard Policy Form (SPF9) because they are to be purchased by the driver and not the TNC.
- Additionally, these products are specific to the individual insurance companies, whereas any insurance company may use the new Standard Policy Form.
Correction: Regulation will be in effect July 1, 2016, not June 28, 2016, as previously stated.