TORONTO, ONT. – An Ontario court has granted striking
airport limousine drivers the right to continue their
protest against the Greater Toronto Airports Authority
(GTAA), but said they will be barred from blocking access
to the airport.
Vicky Dhillon, a representative for the drivers, said they
would follow the rules and not block traffic when their
protests resume. "We are happy with the court's decision,"
The protesters will be allowed to hand out flyers, post
banners and interact with the public in designated places
at Pearson Airport, including the arrival floors of all
three terminals, the limousine parking lot and outside the
GTAA administrative building. But they will not be able to
use megaphones or impede travellers heading for their
"We're going to make sure the public is safe," Dhillon
said. He added that a recent blockade – which saw
limousines and cabs stop traffic on major roads leading to
the airport, forcing hundreds of travellers to carry their
luggage and walk to the terminals – got the message across
to the public, government and the media. But now the battle
will be fought among the lawyers, he said. "That was a
great job our members did.”
The GTAA recently won a 24-hour injunction to limit
limousine drivers to picking up passengers and not block
roads. The drivers didn't have time to arrange for legal
representation and so were back in court to plead their
side of the story.
The drivers are in a battle with the airport authority,
which wants to grant 40 new airport limousine licenses to
companies. The licenses, which are worth as much as
$300,000 each, give drivers the right to pick up passengers
at the airport.
The drivers said that the new licenses, which were proposed
because of the increased number of travellers coming
through the airport, are unnecessary and would hurt
business. They also said that airport limousine companies
are middlemen that force drivers to pay disproportionately
high fees in order to use the licenses. The GTAA should,
therefore, hand out licenses to the drivers individually
based on seniority, they said.
Airport spokeswoman Connie Turner said that the authority
was also pleased with the court's decision, adding that the
protesting guidelines decided upon by the court were the
same proposed to the drivers last week.
"We know that the drivers have issues with their
companies," she said, adding that the GTAA will look at the
fees that companies charge drivers when considering bids.
But the airport authority isn't equipped to hand out
licenses to individuals, she said.