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    Today, Justice Silvana Conte of the Superior Court of Quebec rendered a landmark class action judgment ordering the Quebec government to pay over $219 million in compensation to thousands of former taxi permit holders.

    The Court recognized that the Quebec government illegally expropriated taxi permit holders without fair compensation to make way for Uber, a multinational corporation that refused to respect Quebec laws.

    The ruling recognizes that taxi permits were often a person’s most important financial asset — one for which they had worked their whole lives — and that the government must pay for its decision to abolish them.

    The amount awarded represents the loss in value of the permits from September 9, 2016 — the date the government entered into a formal pilot project with Uber, and which the Court concluded was the first step in the expropriation process that crystallized with the complete abolition of the permit system in October 2019.

    Between this judgment and the compensation already awarded to taxi permit holders, the government’s decision to abolish the permit system in favour of deregulation will have cost Quebec taxpayers more than a billion dollars.

    According to Me Mathieu Charest-Beaudry, one of the lawyers for the class, “the decision validates the sense of profound injustice experienced by permit owners, who trusted Quebec’s justice system despite everything they experienced, and awards significant compensation as a result.”

    Mr. Dama Metellus, who has courageously represented class members since 2016, said he had always believed that such an injustice could not go unchallenged: “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.”

    Despite the historic victory, the judgment did not award the full amount claimed, and lawyers for the class are not ruling out an appeal to obtain the decrease in value of the permits between 2014 and 2016.

    The plaintiff and class members are represented by Trudel Johnston & Lespérance, Me Myriam Moussignac, Me Wilerne Bernard and Groupe Trivium.

    This victory also belongs to the entirety of the taxi industry, which has mobilized to defend the rights of class members since Uber’s arrival in Quebec.

    A copy of the judgment is available on the Trudel Johnston & Lespérance website here.