BRAMPTON City Council on July 8 unanimously passed a motion moved by Regional Councillor Gurpreet Singh Dhillon to support the Airport Taxi Association’s (ATA) decision to reject the Greater Toronto Airport Authority’s (GTAA) latest offer of waiving airport limo and taxi fees during the COVID-19 pandemic from April to June 2020, followed by a reduction of 50% in fees for July to December 2020. The motion was seconded by all other members of Council as a showing of solidarity, and a letter will be sent by Mayor Patrick Brown to the GTAA conveying Council’s position.
The GTAA is the governing body of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and oversees the airport’s taxi and limo industry, while the industry has also been classified as essential by the provincial government. Currently all 5 registered taxi companies and 2 limo companies at Pearson are operating despite COVID-19 health risks and plummeting revenue.
In March 2020, the federal government announced that it would be waiving rent for the GTAA, totalling millions of dollars effective immediately until December 2020 due to COVID-19, and is now currently requesting the waiving of fees be extended to the end of the pandemic. The ATA has stated that they are also entitled to share in the relief that was provided by the federal government and are asking for a waiving of fees for the same time period.
The current monthly permit fees are $731.33 for taxis and $748.32 for limos, and permit holders have been given until July 17 to accept the latest offer which also includes installation of protective barriers by the GTAA in all vehicles. According to the permit holders, the GTAA has attached conditions to the offer that could have serious financial and technical impacts on their permits.
This is the second resolution passed by the City of Brampton showing their support for the ATA, with the first one being on May 13, 2020.
Dhillon, Regional Councillor Wards 9 and 10, said: “This Council has stood shoulder to shoulder with our taxi and limo brothers from day one, and we will continue to stand by them as they fight for fairness. A great deal of these drivers are Brampton resident, therefore this is a significant economic impact to our city as well.”
Rajinder Singh Aujla, President of Airport Taxi Association, said: “We thank Brampton Council for their support for us as we continue to request the GTAA to offer a fair deal. The ATA and its drivers have suffered through 10 deaths due to COVID-19, and have been already heavily impacted with recent decisions to allow Uber to operate at Pearson. All we are asking for is fair treatment.”