With rideshare services now available across all major Canadian cities, we take a look at what kind of opportunities exist for drivers. How much can drivers earn? What are the vehicle requirements? We answer all of your questions and more...
Some Canadians, especially among those in metropolitan areas, prefer not to own a car. The reasons vary – parking is too expensive, they live close to work and family, and the cost of car ownership is too much. For others, it’s about choices that are more in line with anticipated climate change and other social issues. These reasons have driven up the popularity of ridesharing services.
And if you’re flexible, hardworking, and own a car, you can capitalize on the rising ridesharing market. The most recognizable names, Uber and Lyft, can be great ways to make a living or supplement your existing income.
But getting on board with either Uber or Lyft needs more than a driver’s license, a car, and a full tank of gas. Every province has adopted different criteria for rideshare operators, and there are still a few holdouts against ride-sharing.
Here’s a province-by-province breakdown of what’s required to be an Uber or Lyft driver plus some other considerations:
In Alberta, Uber is available in both Calgary and Edmonton, the two major hubs in the province. Lyft has not yet established in Alberta.
Driving for Uber in Alberta requires that you are at least 21 years old and have a valid Alberta Class 1,2, or 4 driver’s license. You must also provide proof that you’re eligible to work in the province, and you’ll have to complete a background screening at an Uber Greenlight Hub nearby.
Insurance requirements are escalated also with enhanced third-party coverage and more, and drivers must provide proof of Class 1-55 Vehicle Registration. Your vehicle must be under 10 years of age, have four doors, at least 5 seatbelts, no commercial branding, and must pass a vehicle inspection. It can’t have a salvage or rebuilt title.
Uber drivers in Alberta can expect to drive around 30 hours per week, on average, and make around $33,000 per year.
Lyft and Uber are now both operational on the BC mainland as of January 2020. Both require an online application process to get started, along with driver and vehicle requirements.
For Lyft drivers, you must be 21 or older with a Class 1,2, or 4 commercial driver’s license and have at least 3 years of driving history in BC. There’s an annual driver screening process too including background and criminal record checks.
Lyft vehicles must be 2011 or newer, plated in BC, and display a Lyft decal. There must be 4 doors, 5 to 8 seats, and can’t be a taxi or one of the listed ineligible subcompact vehicles.
For Uber drivers, the licensing criteria are the same as Lyft. Drivers must also prove their eligibility to work in BC and provide a BC Commercial Driving Record, along with a certificate of insurance.
Uber ride-sharing vehicles in BC must also be under 9 years old and can’t have commercial branding. They need to pass a commercial vehicle inspection before carrying fares.
The average pay in Canada for Uber drivers while carrying a fare is over $29 per hour, but it’s yet to be seen how much BC Lyft drivers can make.
Ridesharing is relatively new to Manitoba’s capital city - Winnipeg. Lyft has yet to make inroads but Uber got their foot in the door first and should be operating soon.
Getting started with Uber in Manitoba requires the online application, minimum driver’s license requirements, and strict vehicle standards. Plus, you’ll need to insure your vehicle with ‘Vehicle for Hire’ coverage based on when you expect you’ll be taking fares.
Drivers must be a minimum of 21 years of age and hold a valid Class 1 to 5 full-stage Manitoba driver’s license or equivalent and provide proof of work eligibility. Safety screenings are mandatory, including a Driver’s Abstract, Police Information Check with Vulnerable Sector Check and a Child Abuse Registry application.
Your vehicle must have four doors that open independently, be 10 years of age or newer, be in good operating condition with no visible damage, cannot have branding, and must pass a vehicle inspection by a licensed mechanic. Salvage vehicles are not permitted.
There’s no data surrounding potential earnings for ridesharing drivers in Winnipeg yet.
Currently, neither Uber nor Lyft services are available in New Brunswick. There have been discussions with Moncton, Saint John, and Fredericton to explore the opportunity to enter their markets but to date, it has not been established.
Newfoundland and Labrador might not be the most populous parts of Canada, but ridesharing is a current discussion for this area. Despite problems hailing a cab in St. John’s due to a shortage, Uber and Lyft are not yet able to operate here. Insurance coverage for ridesharing services is not available, but it’s safe to assume that when it is, the ridesharing market will find a home.
City council in Halifax and other Nova Scotia communities have been looking into allowing ridesharing services in the maritime province. The hitch? Whether the industry should be regulated like taxis or not. But to this point, there aren’t any ridesharing services permitted in Nova Scotia.
Lyft is available in nine Ontario cities and Uber is established in eight. It’s by far the province with the most ridesharing coverage, but almost completely in the GTA area.
To qualify as an Uber driver in Ontario, you need to be 21 years of age or older an have a valid Ontario G driver’s license. You’ll need proof of work eligibility as well as insurance and vehicle registration. Some cities require additional background screening too. A Safety Standards Certificate is issued once you provide this information along with a vehicle inspection.
In general, you must have a vehicle that’s 10 years of age or newer. The exception is in the City of Toronto where only vehicles seven years old or newer can operate. Only four-door vehicles in good condition are permitted.
Uber drivers typically earn $15 to $20 per hour while they’re carrying fares. Lyft drivers seem to have a slightly higher potential, earning between $18 and $25 per hour.
Late in 2019, the province of P.E.I. cleared the way for ride-sharing services to enter the market. Drivers will be required to have a Class 4 taxicab license to operate and abide by vehicle and background standards. While you should expect to see Uber and Lyft in place soon, neither is established in P.E.I yet.
Lyft is in discussions to operate in several Quebec cities including Gatineau, Montreal, and Quebec City, but it isn’t in place yet. Uber, however, is officially operating in those three hubs.
To drive for Uber in Quebec markets, you must be 21 years of age or older and have a Class 4C Quebec Driver’s License. A background check has to be completed at an Uber Centre and you must have a clean driving record as well as no criminal or judicial record. It’s also the only place with expressed language requirements – you must understand and speak basic French. There are Uber training requirements here also.
In Quebec, you’re required to have GST-QST tax numbers to be an Uber Partner, and that requires a business license.
Vehicles must be 9 years old or newer, four-door, a solid roof (not convertible), and no more than 350,000km. It must pass a vehicle inspection and be registered in the Province of Quebec. Specific insurance for rideshare partners is mandatory along with a personal insurance policy.
It’s possible to make $19 to $22 per hour driving in busy areas like downtown Montreal. Full-time Uber drivers can make around $55,000 per year.
Ridesharing is still quite new in Saskatchewan. Lyft has not entered the market here yet, but Uber is available in Regina and Saskatoon.
To drive for Uber, you must be at least 21 years old and hold a Class 4 license. You must also prove you’re eligible to work in Saskatchewan and have vehicle registration and insurance. Uber has negotiated blanket coverage with SGI for ridesharing drivers.
Your vehicle must be a four-door model less than 10 years old and have at least 5 seatbelts. Plus, it must pass a vehicle inspection by a licensed mechanic and cannot have a salvage or rebuilt title.
In Saskatchewan, Uber drivers can earn between $15 and $20 per hour.
None of the Canadian territories - Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories – have ridesharing services to date. Will they be established in the future? With the limited market, it’s tough to say if it will be feasible in these northern communities.
Since we’ve already established that you will need a car at least 10 years or newer and one with at least 4 doors, the next key feature to consider is fuel economy. Since gas will be one of your biggest expenditures, this is an ideal time to consider purchasing a roomy hybrid vehicle. Our writers picked some of their favourite cars & SUVs for ridesharing.
Read more: 7 of the Cheapest Electric Cars in Canada
The rideshare giants don’t want a small detail like an owning vehicle to prevent you from signing up as a driver. Uber created Xchange Leasing to help find car leasing solutions for its drivers, but that arm of the business was sold to Fair.com, which is only available in California.
The sooner you can get approved for your rideshare car loan the sooner you can start earning. Here are a few tips to ensure you get approved for the amount you need:
If you want to find vehicle options that fit your budget, you should have an idea of how much you can afford every month. If you want to trade-in your current vehicle and upgrade to something newer, your trade-in will lower your monthly payment, so make sure you factor that in. You can find out more about your vehicle’s trade-in value here.
It’s hard to know where to look when you have a low credit score. Some dealerships and lenders are not equipped to help bad credit customers. Fortunately, Canada Drives can preapprove you for the amount you need and connect you with local dealerships that know how to help.
Your vehicle does not need to be brand new to qualify for rideshare driving. To keep vehicle costs lower, think about buying a nearly new or a certified pre-owned vehicle. You’ll get almost all the benefits of a new car but at a lower purchase price. More of your earnings can go in your pocket, not to car expenses. Be sure to check first if the used car fits Uber and Lyft vehicle requirements!
Decide whether or not you want to make a down payment and how much your down payment should be. The down payment is a percentage of the purchase price paid upfront. With a down payment, your chances of approval are even higher because you're applying for a smaller loan amount. But a down payment isn’t possible for everyone, and there are also no money down options you can explore. Canada Drives can help you find the option that’s right for you.
Do you have a cosigner ready or will you be the only name on your car loan application? A cosigner is a trusted friend or family member who agrees to share responsibility for your loan. A cosigner can boost your chances of approval because he/she decreases the level of risk for the lender. However, like a down payment, a cosigner isn’t a viable option for everyone and you can still get approved without one.
Once you’ve been approved for a Lyft or Uber car loan, it isn’t all dreamy driving from there. To make rideshare driving financially viable, you need to be focused on paying off your car loan on time in monthly installments. Here are a few tips.
Lyft’s Express Drive rental solution allows drivers to rent vehicles, with insurance included, but that program is only available in the United States Enterprise Car Rental has a program for Uber drivers, but it’s not available in Canada. In fact, there are very few options for a Lyft or Uber car rental in Canada.
If you plan to drive in Toronto there are some Uber-focused options, including Splend, which rents out Kia Sportages for about $250 per week to rideshare drivers. There’s also the ride-hail startup Autzu, also in Toronto, which charges from $4 per hour to rent.
Since these rental options are very limited, and Uber and Lyft don’t offer financing in Canada, the best way to accelerate your rideshare career is by letting Canada Drives help you find the ideal vehicle with the right financing.
If you're looking for a fuel-efficient vehicle or a sedan that meets ridesharing vehicle requirements, we can help! Canada Drives helps Uber drivers get car loans whether they have good credit, bad credit, or no credit at all! Click to apply today!
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