Council and staff at the City of Burlington owe Burlington Taxi an apology.

By Staff

December 1st, 2021



Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte said on her Facebook page that she” chose to take a lead role in this issue as Burlington Taxi has been a well-respected, long time member of the Ward 4 Business community.

The fleet that is no more.

“I have been aware, as we all were, of the challenges facing the taxi industry such as exorbitant insurance rates, competition with Uber and Lyft as well as economic impacts of the pandemic.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

“I had met with management of Burlington Taxi in mid-October and learned of their decision to cease operations as of November 30, as well as their desire to transition their vehicles and drivers to another taxi company in order to maintain services to the Burlington community. During this meeting I encouraged management at Burlington Taxi to put their concerns and issues in writing to all of Council so that we could work towards a potential solution, which resulted in the Burlington Taxi letter to Council of November 8, 2021.

“During subsequent internal communications and meetings with staff and Council, the conversation was presented that these were “new issues” being brought forward and due to significant legislative and legal challenges it would not be possible to accommodate Burlington Taxi’s plan to transition their vehicles in time for their November 30 closure.

Former Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster in conversation with Scott Wallace, proprietor of Burlington Taxi.

“What unfortunately was not shared, in all of these internal discussions, was the knowledge of a very similar letter from Burlington Taxi that had been sent to the previous Council in April of 2018 that resulted in a May 2018 Staff Direction to “Initiate a comprehensive review of the Taxi By-law that will make recommendations to address the current needs of the industry”.

“Reading the letter that Burlington Taxi sent to Council in April of 2018, knowing now that the owner delegated to Council in May of 2018 to be sure his needs were clear, and understanding the subsequent support from the previous Council in the form of a Staff Direction in May of 2018, clearly demonstrates that Burlington Taxi did everything they should have to seek assistance from their elected representatives and the staff at the City of Burlington.

Papers got lost in the shuffle.

“In October of 2018, a new Council was inaugurated. This Staff Direction was “lost” in the transition to the new term of Council and was never spoken of again until a concerned resident sent me a copy of the 2018 Staff Direction on November 24, 2021.

“Had this Review of the Taxi Bylaw been followed through on in 2018, it is quite possible that Burlington Taxi may have been operating under a very different business model over the past few years that may (or may not) have resulted in a different outcome for them as a business and for the residents of Burlington. We will never know.

“What I do know now is that former Council and staff at the City of Burlington “dropped the ball” in 2018 and for that we owe Burlington Taxi and the residents of the City an apology.

“I cannot accept responsibility for a mistake that was made before my time on Council, but I will take responsibility to apologize to Burlington Taxi for the historic mishandling of this situation and I will take responsibility to continue to advocate for improved transparency and accountability in our practices and processes at City Hall.”

There is more to this story – the Stolte comments are part of it – what city council isn’t doing is the other part and the distress the lack of a taxi service is creating in the lives of people is something they can only be ashamed of.

The political will needed to fix this problem just isn’t there which is indeed unfortunate


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2 comments to Council and staff at the City of Burlington owe Burlington Taxi an apology.

  • Hilary Durrant

    Burlington Taxis attempted to get things changed, whether it would have happened, nobody knows. However, they tried to move things forward in 2018 which was eventually ignored by Council. How many companies have suffered the same fate. Does the Burlington Gazette have any idea? I cannot believe that this is a one off.

    What is more distressing is that Stolte stated that she would ‘advocate improved transparency and accountability’. By using ‘advocate’, all Stolte is stating is that the Burlington Taxi fiasco would have come to light a bit earlier and they would have apologised earlier. That is not solving the problem. That’s not being proactive.

    What Stolte should be saying is that this mishandling will not happened again to any business, as she will promise to do her upmost, to get Council on board, policies made, so that previous matters are carried forward when a new Council is inaugurated and these matters are not put in the garbage like Burlington Taxis!

  • Mary Hill

    As usual a cry here for something to be done, without any suggestions as to what are the possible options, if any. It’s always easy to critize. More difficult to be constructive.

    So just what does the Gazette and its readers think City Hall should have done, or now should do to make any taxi company’s life easier. I trust that nobody proposes financial support either in the way of actual subsidies or reduced business taxes, because that would create a line up of other financially challenged businesses seeking support. The City’s tax payers should not be asked or expected to subsidize any business. Simplify regulations, reduce red tape – sure. Provided of course passenger safety is not compromised.