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Press Release

Press Release: Asafo Addai's Challenge Of Toronto Ambassador Taxi Permit Set To Go Again Before The Human Rights Tribunal.

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Toronto ON(February 3, 2011) The racial discrimination case against the City of Toronto is about to kick off again. The City of Toronto has been accused of allegedly being motivated by racial discrimination in inventing the Ambassador taxi licence policy. The allegation was initiated by Asafo Addai in 2006. The new hearing dates are June 6,7,8,9,10,13,14,and 15 starting at 10 655 Bay Street, 14th floor, Toronto. The delays in the hearing have been caused by a myriad of reasons. The latest delay was to allow experts time to compile statistical data relevant to the case.

The Ambassador taxi licence was established in 1999. This was prompted by a report from an industry wide review. The report recommended additional taxi licences be issued to stave off the scarcity problems. The response of the City of Toronto was to introduce the Ambassador taxi licence; thereby producing a two tier licence system. Prior to the enactment of the Ambassador taxi policy, Toronto had one type of taxi licence, now referred to as the Standard licence. It was first issued in 1951 and the last issue was in 1993.

The main difference between the Standard and Ambassador licences are, a Standard licence owner can have multiple drivers operate his taxicab, whereas the Ambassador operator cannot. Whereas a Standard licence owner can rent his licence out, the Ambassador operator cannot. Whereas a Standard licence owner can sell his licence, the Ambassador operator cannot.

Additionally, over ninety percent of the operators of the Ambassador taxi licences are racialised. There are 1400 Ambassador permits and 3480 Standard licenes in circulation. Since 1999 there has not been a comprehensive review of the industry to evaluate the policy. As many as 200 Ambassador operators have given up their licences. The program has been acknowledged industry wide as a failure, yet there is no relief in sight for the Ambassador taxi driver.

Itaxiworkers Association, which represent Toronto taxi drivers' interest is standing by Asafo Addai. They have provided him a lawyer and are responsible for his legal fees. The Itaxiworkers have been in the forefront of promoting awareness of the problems of taxi drivers for several years in Toronto. They will be holding meetings to advise the members about the status of this case and other related matters for the advancement of the taxi operators in the City of Toronto. They have put together a team to work on the Human Rights Tribunal case. They have lobbied many of the City Councillors regarding the ills of the Ambassador licence policy and seem to be gaining ground.

Peter Rosenthal,of Roach Schartz and Associates

is the lawyer representing Asafo Addai. For more information and other related taxi news go to


Abdi Dirshe, Program Director,
Itaxiworkers Assocition


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