JODIE SINNEMA | Edmonton Journal

Uber is hoping a grassroots uprising will push the provincial government to move faster to approve insurance for the ride-sharing company.

The California-based company is urging its fans to tweet their support and write to their MLAs and cabinet ministers to make sure the government meets a March 1 deadline to approve broader insurance and licensing needs for Uber.

Even though Edmonton became the first Canadian city to pass an Uber-friendly bylaw in January, the company can’t get a licence under the new bylaw without provincially approved insurance to better cover consumers. An Uber driver caught without proper insurance could face a $5,000 fine.

“Without approval by the NDP government before March 1, thousands of Albertans will lose their ability to earn by providing rides, and tens of thousands will lose access to a much needed transportation option,” says a statement from Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, in senior communications for Uber Canada. “We are eager for continued collaboration with the province and are hopeful they will act soon.”

As of mid-afternoon Tuesday, Premier Rachel Notley’s office had received at least 300 letters through the Uber campaign.

“Government is currently looking at options,” a statement from the office of Transportation Minister Brian Mason said.

Alberta is committed to finding an appropriate solution allowing ride share companies to operate in a fair manner, while also protecting drivers, passengers, and other road users.”

Mason was unavailable for further comment.

De Le Rue, based in Montreal, said if “the provincial government doesn’t act on driver’s licensing and insurance before this bylaw comes into effect on March 1, Uber will be forced to cease operating in Alberta.”

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