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Taxi protest planned for NBA All-Star weekend in Toronto

Last Updated Feb 8, 2016 at 5:31 am EDT

Hundreds of taxi drivers joined together on Sunday evening at the Woodbine Banquet Hall to announce, with screaming approval, that they will be protesting during NBA All-Star weekend.

“We are going for a heavy duty strike much bigger than December 9th,” said Paul Sekhon, head of the newly formed United Taxi Workers Association of the GTA.

Sekhon told CityNews that the strike will start on Friday.

Representatives from all of the region’s taxi associations sat down together for the first time on to plan the strike. The Workers Association, formed at Sunday night’s meeting, is an umbrella group, designed to protect all members of the taxi industry, from drivers all the way up to brokerages.

Organizers say that since city council voted to delay a possible injunction against UberX last week, cabbies are being forced to take matters into their own hands. The City of Toronto has also granted a taxi brokerage license to Uber, putting it on the same footing as regulated taxi companies Beck and Royal.

Taxi industry leaders are planning to release more details about their upcoming protest on Wednesday.

Mayor John Tory is expected to outline the city’s response on Monday morning, ahead of an NBA All-Star announcement.

Toronto, like many cities around the world, has been struggling to monitor ridesharing services like Uber since it first set up shop in 2012.

Earlier this month, insurance company Aviva Canada announced that it had plans to provide ride-sharing drivers with special coverage.